Many organizations struggle aligning their sales and marketing teams. It’s often difficult for marketing professionals to get the respect of salespeople and vice versa. While each team has its own responsibilities and functions, they both share the same objectives of keeping customers happy while growing business revenue.
The different roles of marketers vs. salespeople
Marketers focus on creating activities to capture the attention of targeted prospects with a goal of driving them into and through the sales process while shortening the sales cycle. Savvy marketers need to be experts in persuading an audience of many. They also add context to your organization’s expertise, products, and services. Their biggest challenge? Generating high-quality leads.
The role of salespeople is completely different. They need to influence one prospect at a time when a potential buyer gets closer to making the buying decision. They close the sales cycle by trying to sign as many opportunities as possible once they mature.
Generating sales-ready quality leads
This is a regular sticking point between marketing and sales. Sales is required to fill the pipeline with enough opportunities to close on a monthly basis to reach their sales objectives and even better, surpass them and get a bonus.
Since salespeople are busy with one-on-one conversations, their time is limited to generate one-to-many conversations. One way to address this challenge is for marketing to add a layer in their marketing tactics. By engaging with interested prospects in a phone conversation and qualify them before handing only those that fit the criteria agreed to with sales.
An important step in this process is to develop a list of requirements agreed to with sales to ensure the lead is properly qualified and reaches the status of what is commonly called a « Sales Qualified Lead » or SQL. If a potential buyer is not mature enough but still qualifies as a potential lead, then the contact can remain in the marketing database for further nurturing. This lead is called a « Marketing Qualified Lead » that will be included in future marketing activities until it either matures or gets tossed out once interest is lost.
This is a proven way to increase the lead quality generated by Marketing and strong enough for Sales to be able to expect to close some of them. Sales people do not have time to waste with "tire-kickers"; those people with an interest in your product or service but not mature enough to be in the buying cycle today. In order for marketing to earn the trust from salespeople, they must at all cost keep marketing qualified leads in the nurture process and not pass them to sales. Otherwise when trust is broken, salespeople will likely treat any lead you give them as unacceptable and a waste of their time and squandering of the marketing budget.
Why Teleprospecting vs. Telemarketing?
A successful pre-sales strategy is to engage in a phone conversation with a potential prospect generated by marketing tactics such as website inquiries, white paper content download, email responsiveness to a marketing campaign, and to qualify it.
First let’s define the difference between telemarketing and teleprospecting:
What is Telemarketing
What is Teleprospecting
This is usually carried out by a business development professional (in-house or agency like VSM) that makes every conversation count for the company. This person has typically acquired several years of experience in both telemarketing and sales. The experience comes into play during telephone prospecting by presenting a higher level of business acumen.
Did you know how many calls it takes to initiate a conversation?
The general opinion about telemarketing (shared by Marketing Sherpa) is that if you fail to connect with a prospect following three or four attempts means it’s time to move on. But the experience at VSM Marketing confirms that if you give up after three calls, you are missing out on prime opportunities.
Analyzing our B2B campaign results over several years, we have found that:
To sell a B2B Solution to SMBs
To sell a mid-to-complex Solution to bigger organizations
Therefore, if your telemarketing efforts limit the number of attempts per contact to only two or three calls, imagine the missed opportunities and the lower return-on-investment your campaign gets! It’s best to start with a smaller list and invest to get the maximum value out of it. You need to think long term as well. Get those nurture prospects that you can market to in addition to sales qualified leads.
Business-to-business telemarketing and teleprospecting have survived the gamut of technology-based tactics marketing has come up with in recent years. Why? Because at the end of the day, you need to have a verbal one-on-one conversation with a prospect.
No matter how they found out about your company, product or service, a customer deals with a sales individual and the telephone remains a crucial piece of a B2B lead generation strategy.
Pre-sales business development professionals also fill the gap that exists between Sales and Marketing as they execute teleprospecting programs. They don’t have the time constraints that sales have and are freer to make over 4 attempts to have a conversation. They will promote your products and services (marketing effort) while they start building business relationships (sales effort) before handing off the lead to sales when the time is right.
Isn't it time for you to bridge the gap between your Sales and Marketing teams with a strategic teleprospecting campaign?
Contact us to discuss your business objectives and we’ll evaluate together if this can help you accelerate your sales cycle.
We’re getting close to half-way through the calendar year and chances are your marketing activities are not going according to plan. No matter what size business you are, making sure you’ve planned monthly marketing activities that will generate sales.
You may have defined your goals that you want to grow by X percent (maybe 10, 20, 30, 50 or 100 percent). Here are other ways to measure success and growth:
1. Define your annual marketing and sales goals
Next, you need to map out marketing activities on a consistent monthly basis to reach your objectives by December 31st! The beginning of the year is so busy, why not take the time now to map a plan until the end of Q1 next year. You can always revisit the plan and tweak it later based on results.
So, you want a plan that will generate revenue. To accomplish that, you need to increase the probability that a customer or prospect will buy. If you want to be more effective over time and increase the number of people that will buy more frequently, then marketing is the way to go.
If we look at sales activities, they are basically a one-to-one activity (which makes it hard to scale fast), however marketing is a one-to-many activity (which can be scaled faster and more efficiently). Consider marketing your ally. If you take the time to plan and execute on a consistent basis, you will reach or surpass those objectives you set.
Here are some tips to quickly develop a marketing plan that will give direction to your business over the next 12 months.
I’m assuming that you’ve already done the strategic part of your plan. You should have defined your target market and audience. Also important is your competitive positioning.
2. Define your go-to-market strategy
Products / Services
This will help you determine your high-level positioning strategy, the key factor driving your entire business growth strategy. Next, keep it simple. When a plan is too complicated, very little gets done. You’ll want to have a few pages that you can glance quickly and get the essence of the activities that will run monthly.
3. Get all your big items in the plan first
To make sure you have all those vendor conferences and trade shows you attend, seasonal business activities that are recurrent, put them on the calendar first. Do you have an annual sales meeting? How about your product launches, quarterly promotions?
4. Keep marketing activities that were successful
You might have had success generating product sales with email promotions in the past, or found new prospects through seminars or webcasts, whatever those activities may be, if effective, keep them in your plan. The following marketing strategies can also be very successful:
These may not all be relevant to your business or your customers, therefore pick the ones that work best and then schedule them in your calendar.
For example, you may run a three-month promotion using a direct mail followed by a seminar, and phone calls to further qualify your prospects. Or you may design a content marketing strategy for the year and drive your prospects on a monthly basis to your assets using email, social media and your website.
5. Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up
Your campaigns and programs may be generating all kinds of leads, but if no one follows-up on them, you’re throwing money out the windows. For all those inquiries, leads, business cards from conferences and trade shows you’ve attended, seminar registrations whether they’ve showed up or not, you need to contact them after the tactic has taken place. There are several ways to do it, send them a thank you email, or best, call them.
If you feel they need to be qualified further, don’t give them to your salespeople just yet. Have your inside sales or your telemarketing agency that knows your business to qualify the prospects by getting more information and get the lead sales-ready to hand over to your sales team when the time is right. Nurture your leads to reap the maximum value of your marketing dollars.
There are many details to be added to the plan including the steps to develop the activities, collaborators, deadlines, etc. Most important are the metrics to analyse your ROI and of course, your budget.
How to plan an annual budget for Marketing
Many B2B companies without a marketing department or an executive level marketing leader determine a marketing and sales budget by determining how much the company can comfortably afford.
Another popular method of setting a budget is to base it on a percentage of historical or projected revenue. Companies must set a % as a base (often seen between 5 and 10% of annual sales revenue). The next step is to calculate the budget by multiplying your company’s historical or forecasted revenue by the selected percentage.
The issue with the many approaches companies use to determine their marketing budget is that they do not weigh in the importance of marketing and sales as a revenue generating activity and do not consider marketing as an investment. Revenue is a direct result of marketing and sales activities, therefore if you’re not spending enough on them will negatively impact your company’s revenue generating potential.
The importance of presenting results to Management
Make sure to present the results of your marketing programs on a quarterly basis to senior management to help them understand the value of marketing and show concrete results generating growth. Marketing needs to stop being associated to a Cost Centre but rather considered as a Revenue Generating Centre.
Some metrics may not end up in immediate dollar signs, but you can show increased awareness of your brand by website visits, interest in specific products or services. Share data about recurring revenue from customers generated by marketing tactics and quantify new qualified prospects that have projected sales potential in 6-9-12 months.
I also recommend using a CRM and marketing platform, if you don’t already have one, to help you track all these results more easily. There are many affordable Cloud solutions in the market now that are easy to use and will be an amazing way for your sales and marketing team to be far more agile and successful in their sales and marketing efforts.
I hope these tips will help you make your marketing efforts become more successful!
Andrée Des Lauriers
Sr. Program Manager, Strategist & Architect
50 de Lauzon Street
Suite 200, Boucherville
Tel: 450-655-5300 x 0