• Four Priceless Lessons for Successful IT Marketers

    How can IT marketers make marketing matter to sales? Four lessons require reaching out to sales, making them happy, and becoming a credible owner of critical company revenue information. Here are key recommendations:

    1. Make friends with Sales

    How often have you heard this? “Go out on sales calls.” Make this a regular habit for you and your marketing team. Never mind that you don’t have the time. Spending time each month with salespeople on sales calls, whether on the phone or in the field, gives you more and better customer insight than you’ll ever get doing surveys. Plus, salespeople will see that you value them and are listening to them.

    2. Make friends with your CFO

    CFOs deal in numbers and have the ear of the CEO. So it’s no surprise how often people will blindly accept a CFO’s pronouncements, information and conclusions. That so many of our larger companies are headed by ex-CFOs is not surprising. (Many of the rest are headed by ex-salespeople.) Turn this to your advantage by working with your CFO to validate and present marketing information. You can show marketing’s charts and graphs all week, but when your CFO presents the same information, everyone will accept it as gospel. Plus, the data is more likely to be correct. And you might even learn something.

    3. Build a pipeline for sales

    Your primary mission is to drive sales through a continuous, predictable flow of high quality sales leads. This takes time, so get started now.

    Your first task is to provide the information your buyers need as each of them moves through his or her own buying process. A  key step is to clearly understand what your buyers go through to make purchases (see “Make friends with sales,” above). Break it down into a few steps and ask for your salespeople’s help. Talk to customers. Just remember we’re focused on the buyer’s process, not the salesguy’s.

    Then, you have to figure out what buyers want as they wander through their Buying Process. Give it to them – when they need it. Automation can help here, especially to detect behaviors that indicate where buyers are in their journeys. But with or without automation, if buyers see your company as a credible resource throughout their purchasing process, your sales people will be far more likely to get a call, and perhaps, the sale.

    4. Own the entire selling process

    You manage the company website. You create and develop the  pre-sales pipeline. You provide tools for sales to use during their engagements. Why not report on the entire revenue pipeline from new lead to marketing-qualified lead, to sales-accepted lead, to win/loss? The CFO wants this long-term view. The CEO needs it. Sales may bridle a bit, but if your numbers match sales’ own numbers and forecasts, then your whole-pipeline point of view becomes the company’s view.

    Thor Johnson is the former CMO for Eloqua, a leader in B2B automation software, and former head of Agency.com’s New York and Boston business.  He hearned an MBA from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Brown University.  He currently leads Team Thor Marketing, a U.S.-based marketing consulting agency providing strategic planning and implementation guidance to automate demand generation and drive sales force performance.

    See the complete article in the Oceanos List IntelligenceTM Report.

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