4 Things That Prove Your Sales & Marketing Processes are Disconnected:
As a business owner, you're probably tired of hearing the excuses from your sales teams as to why they can't hit and exceed their quotas. After all, why did you hire them if not to deliver revenue streams regardless of the outside forces that everybody has to deal with? Your competitors seem to deal with the highs and lows, so why is it so hard for you?
Before starting my agency I was in sales for about a decade. I started working in retail, then moved into professional services.
When things were good, they were great. We'd have celebrations just about every day, team happy hours on Thursdays and/or Fridays with all of our colleagues, and we were laser focused on achieving our sales quotas, knowing that our process was tight, and it really was more or less a numbers game.
And we were successful. Marketing was in tune with our needs as salespeople, and we were all rowing in the same direction.
When things were NOT good, they were awful, and I blame 99% of it on the disconnect between sales & marketing.
It's NOT the $#*@ economy!
First of all, I know that the economy plays a HUGE role in how we do business, so I'm not trying to minimize the impact it has when things like the Great Recession run over us.
That said, unless everybody ends up without a job or goes out of business, there is clearly still a way to make money, and it's not the economy's fault if your business can't navigate through the bigger challenges.
Nope... I'd wager that the real problem is that your marketing is out of tune with your sales process. Maybe it was never in tune, but it didn't matter because the gettin' was good, or maybe it was right on the money, but economic conditions (or Google's algorithms) changed the rules.
Either way, there is a way out.
So, let's get into it, but before we do, let's set the stage talking a little about your business.
Now, I may not know you personally or know the plight of your business. But there are some generally accepted concepts out there that I'll outline.
Your business is here to solve problems.
If you strive to be best in class or "premium," then you're always thinking about how to create remarkable experiences for your customers, so they keep buying from you and referring more business your way.
So, you invest in creating remarkable experiences along the way, enough to retain and attract, but not so much that you're wiping out your profits.
The point is that you want your customers to think about your products or services fondly. But there's a very good chance that if you don't pass these tests, that you're actually failing right out of the gate.
(MORE LIKE THIS: 5 B2B Marketing Strategies that will Ignite Your Sales Process)
Where do you get your leads? Are they from purchased lists? ... or from running Hoovers or D&B reports? Are your salespeople prospecting for them on their own? Do you get call-ins?
Okay, I'm sure it's a little bit of everything, but what about the majority of your leads that turn into deals. Where are you getting those?
I'm going to go out on a limb here... They're NOT coming from your website, are they? Your salespeople are probably actually calling most of their prospects out of the blue... aren't they?
But this is a problem... A big one, actually, because cold calling is really hard, and getting harder every single day. It's also really expensive because of the turnover you no doubt experience with "non-performers," not to mention that you have to keep buying them, since they go out of date.
But there's a LOT more to it than all of that. What about the costs associated with lost sales? Your future customers DO exist on those lists, buried beneath the rubble, of course, but they exist nonetheless. The problem is that they're not interested in your sales teams' disruptive sales calls and rude attempts and shoving 30-second elevator pitches down their throats.
Your salespeople know this, which is why your best ones are on LinkedIn and other online forums, doing whatever they can to warm up the ice blocks you dropped in their laps.
"Your services/products are supposed to solve problems, but already, just based on the source of your LEADS, you're actually causing them."Tweet
And yes, this is a problem with your marketing, because people should reach out to your business directly. People should be able to learn about your company and mission through your marketing without having to dig for it. And they absolutely should be able to become a lead on their own accord.
In ten years of sales experience that never happened for me. Not once. Actually, no, I take that back... We would get a few tire-kickers or competitors calling in from time to time that they would send my way, but nothing serious. And I worked for some decent sized companies! It wasn't until I started by marketing agency, Orange Pegs Media, that I realized how much more marketing can do for their sales teams by generating inbound leads.
(Inbound leads are the best, and if you want to see, just click HERE)
What does your website say about your business? How does it help your sales teams? Be honest... does it help your sales teams at all?
And how do you measure its overall impact?
This is a tough one, isn't it? Because it was probably pretty darn expensive... and may do very little beyond the bare minimum of having a website, so you have somewhere to direct your prospects to.
But if your top sales rep sends a prospect to your website, where are they sending them, specifically? The home page? A piece of content that can be downloaded? Blog? News stories? A favorable article? A built-in asset that brings visitors back over and over and over and over again? (Learn about GDD, a new concept in web design HERE)
Does it fit anywhere into your sales process whatsoever?
Or is it just a doorstop? Is it a pretty looking advertisement with all sorts of SEO that generates great lookin' results on your Google report, but doesn't seem to translate into actual increased revenue?
Just so you know, it can be your most important marketing asset. Period. It can do all of those things I just mentioned...
(schedule a website assessment today!)
3: First contact
Who's making first contact with your prospects? Is it your sales people? Or is that a stupid question, because of course it's your sales people?
Well, it doesn't have to be... In fact, you can warm your prospects up quite a bit with the right marketing strategy.
With inbound (see the methodology by Orange Pegs Media), your website engages in your first point of contact. - or it's your social media posts... or your blog... or an email that gets forwarded... Or any number of digital marketing assets you include.
The benefits? Well, try...:
- Visitors can educate themselves as to why they need services like yours
- Sales can position your company as the go-to experts, which puts you in a favorable position with their prospects when they make that first outbound call
- Sometimes you can get them to make the first move
- By the time you start the process, they're already 60% of the way sold
- When they engage in your company's content, you learn about why they're really there before making contact
(Enough talk, let's see the facts about inbound)
The big deal here is that for your salespeople, your rainmakers who help you keep the lights on and the business growing, you save a lot of wasted time and (your) money.
Once that contact has been made, how does your marketing collateral take effect?
Most of the companies I worked for armed us with flyers that talked about our services and how great our companies were.
We were told to be consultants and to leverage our content in a manner that positioned us as SMEs. But how does that work, exactly, with your marketing material? Are you actually providing analytical tools and processes to uncover value, or is it all just the next breath in your string of elevator pitches?
How do we actually call ourselves "consultants" if we don't provide consulting services? And how is your marketing missing in this equation?
With inbound, we have all sorts of tools for this, including blog posts, white papers, Excel calculators, e-books, or website assets, such as Hubspot's Marketing Grader.
Whether you're looking to make adjustments to your existing marketing strategy or thinking about implementing something entirely new, please think about your sales process first. What would they like to see?
Now, don't let them take control completely, because if you do, you may end up way off course. However, they should be very involved in the development of your marketing assets, since they're the ones using it and getting direct feedback from prospective customers.
With inbound, we talk about sales alignment all the time, because we know our job isn't done just because a lead has been generated. There's a nurturing process, a continuous quality evaluation, then a hand-off to your rainmakers.