Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Driving Value for Sales: The Art in the Science

With Woods out of office last week, somewhere in the Caribbean, with limited WiFi (editorial) access, I thought this would be the perfect time to write my first post.

Let me start by saying I love salespeople. It takes a certain type of person, to get up every day and get hit in the face by a hammer over and over again, and come back for more.

As marketers, one of the best things we can do for sales is provide quality leads on an ongoing basis, and then get their feedback regularly to improve the quality we are providing. There are many strategies and tactics in demand generation to deliver on that promise, but what I have found in working with customers is that sometimes there is "art in the science" in ensuring sales gets the full value of everything that marketing is doing.

Let's talk about a few principles that will help you drive more value for sales.

1. It's all About the Deltas

There is nothing better than change in a stalled sales process. In the life insurance business, sales people talk about tracking "life events" - getting married, having a baby, etc. as critical times to engage a client to sell them more insurance. Well in B2B the concept is the same, but sales people track "business events" instead of life events.

  • Make sure when setting up lead scoring dashboards, or campaign reports that you focus on the changes that have occurred instead of an overview
  • It is better to error on the side of showing less, but everything is new, than showing more and only 10% have changed
2. Help Make Them Look Good

With all of the conversion analysis, website tracking , and Co-dynamic lead scoring algorithms out there, you sometimes forget that one of the best things you can do for sales, is help them deliver messaging in a professional and relevant way to their prospects. One of the best tactics to do this is to use Agent Personalized email campaigns - that brand the campaign as if the sales person sent it themselves. Sure, statistics show that you will get a 30% increase in opens and up to a 300% increase in click-throughs, but here are two other benefits that will really help you with sales:

  • They stay top of mind with their prospects with value-add content, which will lead to more phone connections or call-backs
  • And get this - they will get inbound calls. Forget web visits, forget form submissions, they will actually get inbound calls which lead to qualified opportunities. Now that is something that sales will get excited about

3. Match the Salesperson's Routine

If you are planning on sending real-time alerts, or lead reports to a salesperson, it is important to allow reps to receive this information based on their own daily or weekly routines. Matching a salesperson routine will drive rapid adoption of valuable information. Reports sent to them too frequently or infrequently, quickly are ignored - so spend the extra time to find out what will work best for each rep.

Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar


mkamrk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mkamrk said...

That is so true. I think the feedback loop from sales to marketing is broken in current systems and oral communication get lost quickly. There needs to be a way for sales to quickly rate a lead that was passed to them by marketing and marketing to use that feedback to refine what gets sent to sales from then on. Easier said than done but it needs to start something if we are to bridge the gap!

Vaibhav Domkundwar
ReadyContacts http://www.readycontacts.com

Perry said...

Hey, great tips. But I would also recommend the adaptation of a sales management system to ensure that your leads don’t really go to waste. You can start by purchasing simple but suitable sales lead software for your business. A lot of them are already web-based and may even include functions such as lead tracking, scoring, and distributing.

Paul Teshima said...

Thanks for the comments.

Sales should definitely be rating leads. In fact we advocate not allowing them to change the marketing "lead score" but rerate the lead with a "sales lead score".

That way you can compare and improve your marketing scoring system to better meet the needs of sales.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome first post! Right on the money. You eloquently put into words what marketing does for sales. I was a salesman for a company that had virtually NO marketing engine budgeted. Meetings were a round table of empty faces and finger pointing as to whose fault it was that sales sucked. We were lone soldiers with no air support. Sales professionals that work for companies with marketing support enjoy a cloud of leads that can act as a hard deck for sales ops.

Even among professional marketers who speak regularly about selling the benefits they don’t live by it. This post is a benefit-selling argument for Marketing.