The biggest challenge in Marketing, isn't really in Marketing
17 Mar 2016
I've spent pretty much equal chunks of my career in Marketing, Sales and Customer Service. I've also unusually been in junior roles and risen to senior roles in each, and as a result, I've seen quite a lot of things from different perspectives.
And something has been bothering me.
I don't like things bothering me, so I decided to go and dig into the problem and see if I could find some answers.
Here's the problem:
'Half the money I spend on Advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half" is still accepted as wisdom. That quote is 143 years old. Update to today, and you've got a typical final conversion rate on any online campaign of around 1%. It should now read '99% of all the money I spend on marketing is wasted, I just don't know which 99%'. See how stupid this is?
9 out of 10 times, Sales don't follow up on the leads generated by Marketing. So you've got a 1% conversion rate, sliced down to 0.1% in a single step.
4 out of 10 Sales people NEVER hit their quota.
Who's problem is this? Marketing? Sales? Both? The person who hired you all?
This traditional animosity and blame game between Marketing and Sales is hurting your business, and p*ssing off your buyers. It's hiding this massive problem of lead's not getting picked up, and neither side is taking responsibility for it. A recent study suggested that 87% of the terms that Marketing and Sales use to describe each other are negative. It's time for a change.
Here's how to solve it:
Introduce 'accountability'. This is a phrase that many traditional marketers really dislike. Nobody is attracted to marketing because they like being accountable for things. If they liked accountability they could cross the room to the Sales team, pick up a target and get paid more.
Accountability has to be shared though. And not just with Sales. The board have their share of accountability too.
To take the brakes off, and grow as fast as your customers will let you, you've got to get the board, marketing and sales together and agree who is responsible for what.
The board is responsible for investing in the growth in the right places. If Marketing is underinvested, it doesnt fall short, it falls flat. Marketers need the best tools, the best training and the best methods available to them. If the Marketing department aren't funded properly, the accountability is with the board.
Sales need to be intrinsically motivated more than showered with cash. They also need to be accountable for making the right number of attempts to connect with the leads, and only disqualify them with good reason. Disqualifying feedback has to be given to the marketing team to act upon. Sales need to drop their own outdated processes, and realign to the buyer's process. That includes building a new bit of the process, where the buyer moves from digital to human contact, otherwise known as moving from marketing to sales.
Fix the process, systemise it, then automate it.
It's possible once you've dug into the details in your own business, to find the gap and fix it. We've built that process for ourselves, and for our clients, that fixes this problem. It's now become a consistently repeatable system that we deploy, and much of it is now also automated. We've had to turn down the activity in some marketing campaigns to slow down the lead flow so that Sales had time to reach them all quickly enough, we've shortened the sales cycle, and increased revenue both from volume and value.
The process will vary in every business, but here's the bones of it: Leads get passed to Sales with a 'play'.
I think this is the first crucial step in a true integration of Marketing and Sales into a single discipline of 'Revenue Generation'. All we need now is a nice short snappy name for it.
The Ultimate objective.
Nobody increases their investment in Marketing and Sales at the same time unless they are trying to drive growth. Keeping customers, Upselling, and getting positive word of mouth are crucial to this. This is where my rant draws to a close. Ultimately, Marketing and Sales and your Service delivery have to become part of the same process, all accountable to the growth target.
Operating in silos has got to end. We've all got value to add to the buyer journey, all the way from attracting strangers to creating promoters. It's time we as leaders of (and in) our businesses got everyone working towards, and sharing the accountability for our success.
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