“One of the most important things you can do for your sales team is to generate qualified sales,” Kelly Harman, Vice President, Marketing, Carousel Industries, said at B2B Summit 2012.
Her presentation, “Make Marketing Indispensable: Strategies for turning the sales team into your biggest fans,” featured steps marketers can take to achieve a productive, cooperative relationship with Sales. To achieve Sales-Marketing alignment beneficial to both teams, Harman and her team of marketers developed a four-step process to provide the tools Sales needed to capture leads and improve transparency between Marketing, Sales and the entire operation at Carousel.
In this video excerpt from Harman’s presentation, learn how her team began their efforts by walking in Sales’ shoes.
“We talked earlier about looking at your website through the eyes of the customer, which is critical, I would ask you to do the same thing and look at the sales tools that you’re creating for the sales people. Look at them through the eyes of the sales person,” Harman explained.
The marketing team at Carousel attended Sales’ meetings, met with Sales afterwards, and discovered they were only using 5% of the tools Marketing put together for lead generation.
In this excerpt, you will learn about the Sales Advisory Group, which was created by Marketing to receive feedback from Sales on industry trends, customer pains and new campaign ideas.
In the full video replay, Harman discussed how after getting a clearer picture of what Sales needed, she and her team provided more useful tools, made it easier for sales reps to find valuable information by creating the “Carousel Insider,” and finally, how the team made the entire department transparent.
It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves trying to promote products and services before we’ve given the prospect a reason why they should learn more, and trade events can exacerbate the issue. After all, this is the place where you can see a lot of demos; we expect to collect product information.
However, trade shows can do so much more by creating opportunities for more meaningful engagement for everyone.
We provided this opportunity at the recent MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas two weeks ago (and our B2B Summit before that). We gave sponsors the opportunity to engage prospects during an hour-long set of roundtable sessions on the exhibit floor the second day of the four-day event.
Here’s how it worked:
Sponsors brought in thought leaders to guide 15-minute small-group discussions (no more than 10 people) on topics such as:
Utilizing Automated Messages to Improve Your Email Program
Maximizing Mobile Email ROI
Optimize Data for Your Prospect Outreach
Event attendees could select the three topics they thought most relevant to their issues and visit three different round tables.
The marketers and sponsors loved these sessions.
Network with a small group of people with similar challenges and speak with them later in the event
Get a glimpse into a vendor within the safe confines of a group
Demonstrate thought leadership
Build rapport and relationships with individual marketers
Use these roundtables as a stepping stone for the next step in the journey, like meeting one-on-one in a coaching clinic or stopping by the booth for a related offer. (I did note that the most effective roundtable leaders were those who led a discussion and not those who asked one or two qualifying question followed by a 14-minute PowerPoint presentation.)
It’s no wonder the roundtable events were jam-packed and most of the discussion was constant and lively.
“It was better than speed dating,” one marketer admitted to me!
Other ways to creatively engage prospects include:
Games to encourage networking
Event-specific business cards with QR codes everyone can scan
Great conferences are rich with case studies, trends and advanced practices. This environment motivates participants to collaborate with the sponsors who are making innovation possible and each other. Where else throughout the year can this fruitful exchange happen so readily?
Seen in this light, trade shows have the potential to be a super-intensive engagement opportunity for everyone involved. Facilitating audience participation and collaboration should be a high priority for hosts and sponsors. It certainly is for us, and we would love to hear your ideas for increasing connection, collaboration and interaction at these events.
At the B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content at MECLABS, asked me and a few other attendees to reveal our most important “aha” moments in 2011. Our responses are compiled in the video below; hearing what my colleagues had to say produced even more “aha” moments for me, and I’m sure they will for you, too.
In fact, this will be well worth investing nine minutes to watch if you want a serious dose of inspiration and insight. You can also review the timestamps for a quick summary.
:31 – Jason Striker, Digital Marketing Director of ICM Document Solutions, insists that even if an organization says they don’t have the money to make a purchase, they’ll still manage to find a way to buy something if they really want it. “It’s not the economy that’s stopping you from getting sales, it’s your message.”
1:01 – Jay Baer, President of Convince and Convert and Author of The Now Revolution, believes that the path to an organization’s social media success can never be paved by a single expert, “It’s about distributing social media responsibilities across the whole enterprise.”
1:23 – Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO of MECLABS, says marketers are finally realizing that optimization is not about “seizing opportunity” it’s about recovering the millions of dollars lost through leaking sales and marketing funnels. “Marketers need to think like plumbers and find the leaks and plug them.”
2:40 – Karen Hayward, CMO and EVP of CenterBeam, believes it’s time for marketers to be accountable for results and has been working diligently with her team throughout 2011 to demonstrate that. “2011 was about … owning our accountability.”
3:19 – Michelle Mogelson Levy, Associate VP of Marketing Programs, ECI Telecom, says 2011 was a watershed for her. “Everything I thought was true wasn’t.” She went on to explain that written processes are meaningless without real relationships with your sales team. “I learned what alignment really was, and how to align the sales and marketing organization to really create a cohesive group.”
3:57 – Milap Shah, CEO of Nexsales, warns marketers that when it comes to data that drives the lead-generation campaigns, you get what you pay for. “Working with a so-called ’inexpensive’ list could cost firms 2 ½ to 3 times more; it pays to pay more and stay targeted.”
4:37 – I explain how marketing is about building relationships, and how marketing must play a leadership role in transforming companies from the inside so they can transform outside relationships.
5:37 – Kristin Zhivago, President, Zhivago Management Partners and author of Roadmap to Revenue, reveals that over the past few months, buyers are changing the way they purchase. “In the intense scrutiny of the B2B environment, they’re talking to peers first…they don’t want to read websites.” Zhivago explains why: sellers aren’t even close to aligning their websites to how buyers want to buy.
6:37 – Ge Moua, Senior Demand Generation Manager, Unify, says her “aha” moment came when she defined her job as being the liaison between sales and marketing. “For a long time sales and marketing were very siloed … today we’re working together to achieve the same goal.”
7:30 – Tracey DeMay, Marketing Manager, CenterBeam, advises making sure you’re always talking “with” not “at” your customers and meeting them where they’re at. “By the time they reach out to us, they’ve made a decision or they narrowed it down. They’re much farther along in the buying process than before.”
8:12 – Tony Doty, Senior Manager, Research & Strategy, MECLABS, was surprised by how marketing teams in big companies are facing the very same challenges as those in small ones, whether that’s terrible data, poorly tracked metrics, or lack of measurement. “There are huge companies that are just as green as the startups,” he confesses.
What were your biggest “aha” moments this year? I’d love to hear about them, share them in the comments below.
Warning: If you watch only the first few minutes of this webinar, you might get discouraged about the state of marketing today. However, if you watch the webinar through the end, you’re going to be excited about marketing’s potential for driving more revenue than ever before.
At the beginning of the webinar, Jen Doyle, MarketingSherpa Senior Research Manager and Lead Author of the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, revealed that 1,745 marketing organizations are reporting remarkable declines in marketing effectiveness in 2011. But their other responses point to what’s causing this.
While almost all respondents said they’re expert at lead generation:
• 68 percent have not identified their sales and marketing funnels, no less optimized them.
• 61 percent send leads directly to sales.
• 79 percent don’t score leads.
• 65 percent don’t nurture leads.
What does this mean? In essence, they’re not making the most of the leads they’ve become expert in generating. Watch this webinar to learn the strategy that will transform leads into revenue as efficiently and effectively as possible.
8:20 – Jen compares B2B Benchmark Report responses between 2009, 2010 and 2011. Key findings: It’s increasingly challenging to achieve success. Challenges are growing in pertinence year after year. Marketers are torn between prioritizing more leads vs. better leads.
9:30 – Perceived effectiveness of tactics are declining severely. It’s getting more difficult to get results from the same marketing activities.
10:21 – The 2012 B2B Benchmark Report reveals that regardless of challenges, marketers are still not optimizing their funnels. Jen reviews the percentages: 68 percent haven’t identified sales and marketing funnel. 61 percent send leads directly to sales. 79 percent haven’t established lead scoring. 65 percent don’t nurture leads. Read more…
The temptation to buy data at pennies per contact – especially when you have limited resources – can be overwhelming.
But whatever you do, you must resist.
In the short video below, taken at MarketingSherpa’s B2B Summit in Boston, Brian Carroll explains why.
Did you find this valuable? If so, remember, this is merely one of 60,000 minutes of revenue-driving information that is unveiled at MarketingSherpa’s B2B Summit. There’s obviously a lot more where this came from and, even better, there’s still time to discover it all. Just register for the San Francisco summit, October 24 and 25.
Funnels are like the central nervous system of the best sales organizations. Few marketing departments depend on funnels to run their business the way sales leaders do. Yes, messaging, segmentation, branding, and numerous other considerations are extremely important. But no tool can impact financial performance for marketing as much as a funnel. It’s a topic I’ll be speaking about this coming Wednesday, May 25, at an American Marketing Association webinar.
There are four reasons marketing funnels should be the central nervous system of B2B companies:
1. Simplifying complexity. The great challenge in B2B is complexity. There are lots of moving parts that are growing and changing everyday. Social media, lead nurturing, lead scoring, webinars, data-as-a-service, web-crawling technologies, and many other advancements can be overwhelming. With all of these ever-expanding moving parts, finding revenue leakage is extremely challenging and often very subjective. The beauty of the marketing funnel is that you can break down complexity into very discrete components. In fact, the more discrete the funnel and sub-funnel stages, the easier it is to deal with complexity. The key is tying all the funnels and subfunnels together into a unifying framework.
2. Isolating the leakage. Once you have a comprehensive funnel framework, you can measure the conversion of prospects from one stage to the next. You can gather benchmark data from companies like MarketingSherpa and see how you compare to other organizations. Over time, you can aggregate data from your own corporate-wide efforts and develop internal baseline conversion ratios; that way, every variance from the benchmark or the baseline should prompt you to examine why.
3. Improving financial performance. Instead of having endless debates, marketing can simply set up tests and discover what really works by measuring conversions and looking at the impact on downsteam efforts. Having conducted thousands of experiments, we’ve seen that quite often the best answer is often counter-intuitive and defies “best practices.”
4. Forecasting results. With benchmarks and especially your own baseline data, you can start to make increasingly accurate predictions on the results you will have from a given marketing initiative. And, as a general rule, the more granular your funnel stages, the more accurate the projection. Of course, accurate projections are key to getting and keeping funding.
There’s a reason sales executives absolutely run sales organizations based upon the funnel while their best sales people use it to manage their pipeline. If marketers want to drive the highest ROI possible, it’s time for them to do the same.
What are your thoughts? I welcome your feedback and if you want to learn more, be sure to attend the AMA webinar on May 25 that I’m presenting with Steve Woods, Chief Technology Officer of Eloqua, and Mike McKinnon, Senior Demand Manager of ReadyTalk.
In it, they describe what the companies that out-perform and out-compete their peers have in common: Revenue Performance Management, and Brian Kardon, Eloqua’s Chief Marketing Officer, perfectly articulates the goals of today’s smartest marketers.
What a synchronicity. After all, Dave’s presentation certainly spoke to Revenue Performance Management – RPM for short – without saying it by name, when he challenged marketers to send better leads to sales, even if it meant significantly less leads. With an accountant’s precision, he calculated the profits that could result.
In essence, RPM is all about optimizing the sales and marketing funnel, and in today’s business environment, that should be everyone’s highest priority.
But how are organizations accomplishing this real time in the real world? After all, it’s much easier to theorize than to actually execute that theory in an unpredictable business environment.
We’ve invited Paul Teshima, Eloqua’s Senior Vice President of Customer Strategy and Success, and Hope Frank, Chief Marketing Officer for Webtrends, to answer this question at our next B2B Lead Generation Roundtable Webinar, From Demand Generation to Revenue Performance Management, on February 1.
Paul will share case studies and anecdotes on how companies are leveraging RPM right now to drive more opportunity, more sales and, ultimately, the highest returns on their marketing and sales investments. Hope will go into explain how her company is executing RPM for themselves and reveal their outcomes so far.
If you’re ready to learn, in detail, how the powerful business theory of RPM is being put into practice by some of the world’s most successful organizations, and get the knowledge you need to do the same for yourself, be sure to attend.
If it’s almost unheard of for your sales team to make a cold call thanks to a sales pipeline bursting with steaming-hot leads generated by your marketing department, skip this post.
If it isn’t, I strongly encourage you to read the following article, which initially appeared on the MarketingExperiments Blog. It’s written by Dave Green, the Director of Best Practices, Applied Research at MECLABS, the parent company of MarketingExperiments and InTouch.
I’d like to hear your thoughts about what Dave has to say, and what your organization is (or isn’t) doing to ensure marketing does its job so sales professionals can do theirs.
For most of us, the phrase “demand generation” conjures up things like campaigns, social media, trade shows, and the corporate website.
But what about sales prospecting? Despite all the newfangled marketing automation tools, most CEOs increase the funding for demand generation by authorizing the expansion of the sales organization.
You shouldn’t be. Books like SNAP Selling, SPIN Selling and Solution Selling for years have been teaching sales people to generate demand, one conversation at a time. Most companies don’t call what sales people do “demand creation” or “demand generation.” No, we’ve given it more pedestrian names, like “sales prospecting” or “cold calling.” But, really, what’s the difference?
The percent of the sales budget spent on demand generation.
Efficient sales teams spend 10 percent of their time prospecting. They network. They get referrals. They leverage LinkedIn and InsideView. You know. All those really cool things Anneke Seley and Brent Holloway have written about in Sales 2.0.
But sales teams for many companies spend 20 to 30 percent of their time prospecting. And even 40 or 50 percent of time spent prospecting is not unheard of. As the percent of time spent prospecting increases, the return on investment generally decreases.
Forecasting Clouds ranked the top 20 CRM blogs based on their content, readability and frequency of posting. As I read over the list of blogs, I discovered some new ones worth reading along with a number of others I already follow like John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing Blog; Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba who write the Church of the Customer; and David Raab, Customer Experience Matrix. I was honored to be included on their list too and be included in such great company.
Here’s a partial list of the 20 CRM blogs on their list: