The following is a guest post by Jared M. Wells from TSL Marketing:
“The fourth Quarter is an interesting time for B2B Sales and Marketing professionals, you’re focused on closing the year with strong numbers. Being in sales, I’m guilty of thinking low hanging fruit is the most appetizing, at times. However, I have to ask myself if I’m cutting myself short.
Sales and Marketing teams work diligently throughout the year filling sales pipeline and often times lead generation efforts go to waste when the sales team is focused primarily on short sales. Buying intent is often underestimated with longer-term opportunities and leads are overlooked.
This is why it is important to enable your sales team with tele-prospecting support and lead nurturing tactics. This helps assure that you will get you more mileage out of your pipeline and leads will not slip through the cracks.
The Importance of Content Marketing
B2B marketers have gotten more sophisticated with technology and taken steps towards better alignment with sales in recent years; because of this many coin 2010 as “The Year of Content Marketing” Sirius Decisions released some excellent research in this area. Content generated will have the most impact if it’s targeted to the prospect’s position along the Buyer’s Journey:
“Content is Key” but be warned – it’s not just about content… A recent study by IDG Market Fusion determined that in only 42% of cases, prospects received relevant content; that means 58% of the time the WRONG content is being shared. Marketing Sherpa also discovered that irrelevant or off-target information reduces your chance to win the business by as much as 45%. Keep it relevant!
Leveraging your Inside Sales Team for Lead Progression
Longer-term deals require time and attention in order to realize their full potential. Automated Lead Nurturing is great, however nothing beats an actual conversation! Leveraging inside sales for lead qualification will help ensure proper lead nurturing, and most importantly, pipeline acceleration are taking place.
Inside Sales is best suited to enable the Sales Team by qualifying and helping to ensure proper content is being provided. This will enable the field sales team to do what they do best, focus on closing deals. If history has shown us anything: That’s what they’ll do, regardless.
To learn more on the importance of lead progression, TSL Marketing recently released a free whitepaper, “The Payoffs of Lead Progression”. In this whitepaper you will learn how you can increase lead conversion rates by upwards of 44%.”
Craig Klein (@craigklein) wrote ’8 Metrics You Must Know about Marketing, Leads and Sales’, on March 9, 2010:
#1 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Total number of leads coming in.
Simple right? Well, it is but, it means you need to know about all of them. All the referrals your sales people get that they never mention to you. All the call-ins that come in but, never get called back by a sales rep, etc.
#2 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Where does each lead comes from?
How did they hear about you? What ad did they respond to? Where did you meet them? Who referred them to you?
Again, simple stuff but, the key is to be sure you get this information for each and every lead you talk to. If you get 100 leads a month and fail to collect this information for 5 of them, it could really throw off any analysis you do.
#3 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
How qualified is each lead?
This one is tougher. The reason is that you have to decide on objective criteria that makes a lead qualified. Do they have a need for what you sell? Do they have the money for it? The answers don’t necessarily need to mean that are absolutely going to buy from you. Just that there is a basic fit between their needs and situation and your company. They’re worth your time. Choose the 4 or 5 questions you have to ask every new lead and start capturing the answers for each and every lead. I know, you won’t be able to get all that information for all of them. That’s OK. If you don’t get it all, they’re not qualified.
#4 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
What’s the value of the sales opportunity?
Best case scenario, what can you sell them in the near term? What is this opportunity worth to your company? Pretty simple.
#5 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
What market segment do they fit in?
In every business, you have a few segments you have developed unique solutions for. It might be business vs. residential or small vs. large. You’ve got to know where they all fit.
#6 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Product you propose to them.
This could be a direct one to one relationship with the segment they fit in but, it’s usually not that simple. Some customers will request certain solutions even though it’s not what you’d recommend for them given the segment they’re in, etc. Again, you’ve got to track this for each lead.
#7 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Won or Lost
Did they buy or not? Simple right? What about if they just say “call me later”? (that’s a No if they don’t buy within a reasonable amount of time BTW)
#8 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Did they give you a referral?
Why do you need to know this? Well, you need to know if they were asked for one thing. Also, this is a great measure of the satisfaction of that client. Let’s face it… You can value customers by how much they spend but, a customer that gives you referrals is much more valuable than one that spends the same and doesn’t give you any referrals.
Please see the full post and leave your comments here.
On January 11, 2010 sellingpower.com posted ‘Sales 1.0 vs Sales 2.0: Tools That Help Align Sales and Marketing’:
“The seemingly endless turf battle between sales and marketing is among the more useless behaviors in corporate America. Fortunately, Sales 2.0 helps eliminate the conflicts by bringing the activities of the two groups into closer alignment. Here’s how:
Sales 1.0: Sales and marketing argue about the quality of the leads that marketing passes to sales. Marketing might, for example, attend a trade show and hold some sort of drawing, allowing the company to “harvest” a set of business cards. Unfortunately, such practices require the sales team to weed through numerous contacts in order to find one or two who might actually purchase.
Sales 2.0: Tools such as InsideView, Genius.com, Salesgenie, and Engage B2B help companies capture more and better leads. Leads gathered through lists and trade shows can be enhanced with additional information, including listings of trigger events that might make a company more likely to buy. Current leads can be compared to previous leads to statistically determine which current leads are more likely to close. And leads can be put into a nurture pipeline for additional contacts, emails, and telemarketing. As a result, leads are fully qualified before they’re passed to sales and, when passed, include enough information to help determine which leads are likely to close.
Sales 1.0: Sales and marketing argue about the sales team’s ability to close leads. Marketing believes that it’s provided sales with opportunities that should be easy to close, but sales has not followed through. What results is an endless round of finger-pointing, with sales blaming marketing for providing bad leads, even though sales never found out whether the leads were good or not.
Sales 2.0: Such sales-engagement tools as InsideSales and ConnectAndSell make it easier for sales to contact prospects and move opportunities forward. Web-conferencing tools such as Citrix, GoToMeeting, and WebEx, and social-networking tools such as Jigsaw, LinkedIn, and Plaxo provide sales with additional ways to reach prospects.
Similarly, mobile CRM applications and devices, such as the iPhone and RIM Blackberry, help ensure that sales remains in contact with customers as the sale moves forward. Most importantly, because all of these engagement activities are measurable, sales and marketing management can use analytic tools such as Cloud9 and Birst to measure the effectiveness of sales efforts, thereby ending the arguments before they start.
Sales 1.0: Sales and marketing argue over which messages should be communicated to prospects and customers. Marketing spends money on materials and advertising, trying to create a consistent brand that will grow in value over time. Meanwhile, sales rewrites and reworks those messages in order to make them more practical as sales tools. Unfortunately, those field messages never make it into the marketing materials, leaving the company with two conflicting messages.
Sales 2.0: Such sales-process tools as Kadient and Brainshark [also see 'work in progress list of sales enablement vendors'] create a repository of effective messages and materials while encouraging content creators to communicate with each other about what’s working in the field and what’s falling flat. As a result, sales and marketing begin to collaborate on messaging in a real-time environment, rather than simply argue about which messages make more sense.
Sales 1.0: Sales and marketing argue about which opportunities and customers should be pursued and what offerings should be sold. Marketing may wish to build a presence in a new market by developing strategic customers and partnerships or by moving a strategic product into a high-visibility account. Unfortunately, sales may not have such goals or be compensated on accomplishing those strategic goals and therefore remain focused on tactical sales issues.
Sales 2.0: Compensation-management tools such as Xactly allow management to change compensation plans quickly in order to match strategic goals. Because the sales teams are immediately informed of the changes and can determine the impact of their day-to-day activity on their compensation packages, sales can respond far quicker to changes in strategic direction. This aligns a company’s selling behaviors with its strategic marketing goals, thereby avoiding confusion and argument. [...]“
See the full blog post and leave your comments here.