As one of our clients said in a recent jour fixe, “We need to understand that marketing doesn’t just take colorful pictures anymore. It’s shaping the way we do business in the future.” Of course, we couldn’t agree more. And also explain how this statement comes about.
The rule of three in modern marketing: Better. Together. Work.
In successful organizations, marketing and sales do not work against each other, but together! No, this is not a truism, this is one of the most important moments for the learning curve of modern decision makers! A customer is not only won in sales – only the convincing entirety of the customer journey, including lead management, turns a prospect into a good discussion partner for sales.
Marketing is sales.
For those who still think marketing is “the colleagues for the great pictures and the cool gadgets,” we warmly recommend the first issues of our marketing blog to get you in the mood.
Marketing is sales. With different means, but the same goals. Marketing is the special forces that precede sales, exploring the terrain and showing where and how to achieve success most quickly in the battle for the best customers. Marketing stages the uniqueness of companies and products and lures prospects into the sales pipeline. Here, they are provided with relevant information until they realize how much added value there is in doing business with us, venture out from under cover and seek contact. However, this lead management does not happen by itself, but is part of the strategy in which marketing and sales pull together.
The customer journey is long and sales time is precious.
Precious resources are located in Sales. They are motivated to the hilt to achieve their goals and keep the company on the road to success. To do this, they should focus their full attention on the most promising leads at best, because every sales process costs a lot of time and therefore money. Here, too, modern marketing provides very targeted support by pre-qualifying the lead as much as possible and enriching it with relevant information. This is what we call “lead nurturing“. The goal, if you will, is to serve ready-to-eat sales opportunities on the famous silver platter in order to make the best possible use of the sales team’s time.
Works without, but then with without.
Of course, an organization can also take a different approach. Spare yourself all the marketing magic and simply increase the number of sellers, hand everyone a phone book and let them call away. Or stalk prospects on social media channels to bombard them with InMails. Sure, it works. But let’s be honest…this approach doesn’t really work as a design principle for a forward-thinking sales strategy. Customers are very aware of their power and decide for themselves where and how they get their information. Wouldn’t it be much better to offer the customer relevant information again and again, and thus accompany the decision-making process?
The sales process – a chain of controllable events. More or less.
Back to our topic: in marketing, we like to talk about the sales funnel as a whole. From the first contact, to the contact initiation, to the real sales engagement and the resulting sales successes. Each of these interaction moments can be relatively clearly delineated against predecessors and successors. Website visitors (e.g., in response to a LinkedIn post)? Can be captured. Number of downloads of an info brochure as in-depth reading? Can we measure. Subsequent contact inquiries? We can record.
Is that still marketing or can it be sales?
Marketing can do a lot, but not everything. At some point in our Customer Journey, there comes a moment when Sales picks up the ball directly and calls the game from then on. A popular handoff moment is reached when marketing can ensure that a prospect meets what we call the BANT criteria (Budget, Authority, Need, Time): Does the customer have budget for our solution? Does our contact have the authority to make a decision? Is there a real need and should the solution be implemented in a timely manner? If all 4 criteria are met, the lead can usually be handed over to sales.
Out of sight does not mean out of mind.
From now on, the further processing of sales opportunities is the responsibility of Sales. Nevertheless, marketing should definitely always have an eye on the results of sales activities in the sense of an end-to-end responsibility of demand generation. This, by the way, is one of the biggest, shall we call it mistakes? No, let’s call it optimization potentials of marketing organizations. Only when marketing understands whether the measures at the beginning of the sales funnel are already optimally set, can it unleash its full power and support sales in the long term. The sales opportunity clearly belongs to Sales. But what many organizations still need to learn: When colleagues in Marketing ask about lead progress, it’s not because they’re little control freaks, but specialists who want to help achieve common goals even more effectively and efficiently.
By the way, the handover doesn’t just happen along the lines of “You, there’s a prospect who downloaded something, maybe you’ll give him a call?” A handover must be prepared! Sales must know what marketing will offer to whom and when, what quantity of leads is expected, and how the customers can be further supported in the sales process. For example, are prices already being quoted or are special conditions being offered? This is one of the reasons why campaign planning should always be done together. Unpretentious, open, fact-based.
Marketing loves sales. And numbers.
Let’s move on to the most important tool of a modern marketer: his Excel spreadsheets or dashboards. Marketing is an extremely numbers-driven discipline. For (very) good reason. Only by capturing and analyzing the various parameters within a customer journey is it possible to efficiently manage budgets and achieve goals. Let’s look at a few examples of a fictitious campaign. We have set up a website that provides a temporary offer for a precisely defined target group, offer a whitepaper for download and promote both via social media posts. What can/will/should we measure in this context?
There are: The visitors to our website, the number of downloads of our information from the website, the number of leads (i.e. concrete interest), the number of prospects qualified according to BANT criteria, the number of prospects where we have already held a workshop, the number of contacts to whom an offer was submitted and finally the number of customers won. Typically, the sales funnel thins out the most at the beginning, whereas after exceeding the BANT criteria, more than 30-50% move to the next stage in each case. For our example above, such a calculation would mean that 500 visitors to a website might result in three offers. No, this is not too little, this is pure mathematics and believe us: this value is comparable and it is “normal”.
By calculating conversion rates between stages and analyzing the resulting marketing KPIs, marketing and sales can subsequently work together to further improve results and draw important insights for further campaigns. For example, can more information be offered for download? Does a short recorded demo create more appetite and increase download rates? All of this can only be done through collaboration between marketing and sales. Marketing is sales.
Next time, let’s see if you might be able to save yourself a lot of manual work by using modern marketing tools. That’s right, we’re talking about marketing automation. Until then, stay healthy and stay tuned to our blog series.
Many organizations fail not at generating leads, but afterward. Leads are acquired, but subsequent systematic development into sales opportunities is often lacking. Our new e-book “Tops & Flops in Lead Management: Sales are made from Leads. What you need to consider to turn your leads into beats” shows how you can meet this challenge with integrated lead management. Save it now! (German)