• How to Triumph in a Sales-Driven Culture (Part 2 of 3)

    For marketing to triumph, particularly in a sales-driven culture, you need to execute on a grand vision. You also need time to get there. What can you do now to make a difference, make progress, gain some credibility with sales, and give yourself the time to build a pipeline of sales-ready leads? Here are four changes you can make now to help.

    1. Build sales tools – quick hits
    When you spend quality time with the sales team and their prospects, you will quickly see the roadblocks they run into every day. You can help smooth the sales process with low cost tools developed through your new insights.

    Example: sgML/sales accelerators
    One of my favorite quick hits, which nearly every company needs, is the salesperson’s response to Sounds Good, Maybe Later (SGML). “OK, Jane, I like your product and want to buy from you. Call me back when I’m budgeting for next year.” The salesperson knows the deal is not closing this quarter, but that it’s worth picking up in three to six months, whenever the prospect’s budgeting cycle begins.

    Marketing can produce a simple 3- or 6-month nurturing or “keep warm” program that touches the prospect periodically during the 3 or 6 months. A few decent tools can make that communication automatic, personalized and customized to the prospect. Give this to your sales team and they’ll use it. They might even thank you for it.

    2. Catch fallout and re-market
    Our friends at SiriusDecisions remind us that 80% of the deals that sales rejects as unqualified will buy within two years – from someone. Your company probably wastes vast numbers of leads that get to sales, but are not pursued or are not ready to buy quickly. Nearly all companies drop those leads and forget about them, or at best, handle them manually.

    So get your fair share when they do eventually buy. Build a lead nurturing program that does nothing but market to these rejected leads, leads who have talked to salespeople, or who have already been qualified by marketing. For these prospects, it’s primarily an issue of timing and urgency, so education on ROI or payback while giving comfort will help return some of these leads to the sales pipeline.

    3. Work your lists to conclusion
    The people on the list you acquire from Oceanos, or the attendees of an event, or the prospects who have searched on a certain keyword all have something in common. Of course, it’s easier to mix everyone into your prospect database and blast emails or direct mail to them all. But if you take a segment and try to develop it as a group of prospects with a common characteristic (i.e., all with the same title in a set of target companies, or all whom you met at a particular conference), you find immediately that you know more about them than you do the rest of your marketing prospect database.

    Treat them as a separate marketing segment or group. Market to them separately, with their own segment-specific messaging. As these prospects show interest through website visits, calls, clickthroughs and tweets, promote them to more refined messaging and content designed to help them move toward a sales call.

    Track them as a group. Market to them using the knowledge you have of their group’s characteristics, and communicate this to your salespeople when the leads get passed. If you can track this group’s performance to deals closed for revenue, you have a complete picture of one segment of your audience. You’ve used the additional knowledge of this cadre of prospects to help them move forward toward a purchase, hopefully from your company.

    4. Get your analytics house in order
    Denis Pombriant of Beagle Research tells us that 2011 will be the Year of Marketing Analytics. In my work, I generally see only extremes: either way too few, or far too many metrics being tracked and communicated in most companies. Like the Three Bears in Goldilocks, you want a “just right” balance of analytics.

    Measuring results – company level
    Revenue, number of seats sold, customer retention, percent upsell, or whatever measurements describe victory for your firm, show the results of marketing and sales activity. All C-level managers follow these. Of course, you now have direct impact on them. How much?

    Measuring marketing results
    These two core metrics describe marketing results, or value added to the company. Use them as a guide for future investment.

    What portion of revenue did marketing source? I coach marketers to not get lost in such measures as “marketing influenced” leads or revenue. It’s too vague and no one outside of marketing will believe the numbers, anyway. Focus on the leads marketing actually sourced when communicating outside of your own marketing team.

    What is the revenue leverage on marketing spend? How much revenue does a marketing dollar, or 100 yen, or Euro generate in revenue? Use ‘fully-loaded’ numbers and back it up. Forget selling costs –we’re talking marketing here.

    Pipeline detail and process analytics
    The next level of pipeline analytics measure, as simply as possible, the process: costs and conversion rates, of producing leads and converting them to revenue.

    Key pipeline costs:

    Marketing & Sales combined cost per closed deal

    Marketing-only cost to produce a closed deal

    Marketing cost to produce a lead accepted (and pursued) by sales

    Cost to get a new lead into the marketing database

    Key pipeline conversion rates:

    Sales Opportunities required to close

    Sales leads required to generate an Opportunity

    Percent of marketing leads accepted as sales leads

    New contacts required to make a marketing lead

    You can add channel, regional and segment detail, database metrics, too. Get as deep into the woods as you wish, but providing credible core metrics that everybody buys into puts marketing in the center of the revenue discussion. Plus, it helps you distinguish the forest from the trees.

    Definition of Victory
    How does marketing win in a process-focused, sales-integrated, revenue-generating world?

    Show revenue impact of marketing effort and spend
    How much revenue is created when marketing spends money? Know this and next year’s budgeting process becomes extremely simple. Get the CFO to buy in and your world will change.

    Become the source of information on revenue pipeline.
    The head of sales has traditionally owned the revenue forecast, but generally only for the current quarter. Marketing can own the pipeline for the next several quarters or longer, and can relate today’s actions and spend to future revenues. This brings marketing into more strategic and forward-looking discussions, gives you a seat at the table.

    Become indispensible to your CEO and CSO (Chief sales officer)
    When marketing is seen as a revenue generator, everyone gets interested. You need the proper metrics, certified by the CFO. You need the favor of the sales people, by providing useful tools in the short term, and over the longer term, a valued pipeline of qualified leads. As always, it’s the company you keep that determines your success.

    Have fun, fellow Marketers
    This is our time. Internet marketing certainly brings its challenges. But now we have the opportunity as never before to join the revenue discussion, drive some business, and have fun doing it. You’ll need cooperation from your sales team, and support from finance. Today’s the day to upgrade your operations, drive some revenue and make hay. Have fun.

    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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    How to Triumph in a Sales-Driven Culture (Part 2 of 3), 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
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