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Unlocking Revenue With a Unified Sales and Marketing Approach

Ultimately, the success of any business depends on a consistent flow of new customers and repeat business from existing ones. The achievement of these two initiatives depends almost entirely on the effectiveness of a company’s Sales and Marketing departments. Unfortunately, Sales and Marketing departments frequently operate in siloed roles that foster an adversarial relationship and conflicting goals.

In one silo are salespeople focused on the short-term goals of monthly or quarterly revenue targets. Since only a small portion of their leads are ready to buy within these timelines, the overwhelming majority of leads are discarded without proper follow-up. In the other silo, marketers are working desperately to achieve misleading metrics such as “cost per lead” that encourage them to generate a large number of unqualified leads instead of a more targeted group of high-quality, educated prospects. 

The result of this misalignment of goals and success metrics? A large number of wasted leads, poor sales growth, lackluster marketing ROI and a firestorm of finger-pointing among the departments.  

The solution? Aligning your Sales and Marketing departments to create integrated business development engines in which:

  • Efforts are coordinated
  • Customers assume their rightful place at the center of attention
  • Cost of sales decreases
  • Return on marketing investment (ROMI) increases, and
  • The company prospers.

UNDERSTANDING THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

“80% of marketing efforts to generate leads are wasted and ignored by sales,” said Senior Analyst Harry Watkins of The Aberdeen Group. “Sales spend 25% of their time recreating (often badly) customer-relevant collateral that marketing should have created in the first place. This combination derails efforts on both sides, costing companies millions of dollars annually, while destroying the time and focus needed to collectively and effectively drive sales and revenue.”

In many companies, the lack communication and coordination between the two departments not only leads to wasted effort, but further increases the frustration with each other. For example, marketing may generate a large list of leads, often times with no process in place to qualify those leads before passing them off to Sales. Marketing believe they’re passing along good leads, and that Sales isn’t following up on the lead sufficiently. Sales, on the other hand, feels the leads that Marketing has passed to them aren’t qualified, and when they try to follow up, many of the prospects are not ready to buy or can’t be reached, causing Sales to incorrectly discard the leads.

As the above scenario is repeated, Marketing and Sales’ confidence and satisfaction with each other continues to decrease, resulting in more wasted leads, poor sales growth, lackluster marketing ROI and a firestorm of finger-pointing among the departments. 

ALIGNING SALES AND MARKETING 

Coordinating Sale and Marketing for increased company efficiency and profitability requires breaking down silos to create shared missions, performance measurements, lead qualification standards and communication strategy.

Shared Mission

Develop a company strategy that creates common goals with defined roles for Sales and Marketing. The strategy must encourage and reinforce collaboration between the two and be vital to mutual success. 

Shared Performance Measurement

Set performance measurements for both departments that reinforce the shared mission. Instead of setting one-sided goals that do not directly influence the success of the other department, choose interlocking goals that encourage Marketing and Sales to support each other. For example, Marketing could measure success based on number or percentage of qualified leads generated, resulting in a smaller quantity of higher-qualified leads. Along the same collaborative vein, Sales can be measured based on the percentage of qualified leads converted to sales, encouraging them to follow up on Marketing’s leads.

Shared Lead Qualification Standards

To be effective, Sales and Marketing must agree on what constitutes a qualified lead. Input and buy in from both departments is critical. To do so, start by identifying the ideal customer by determining the characteristics and measurements are common among your existing customer base and common pain points or problems they shared prior to implementing your organization’s product or service solutions. From this point, a consensus on lead qualification criteria should naturally follow.

CREATING A SHARED COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY

Once the shared mission, metrics, and lead qualification criteria is agreed upon, the departments should agree on a communication strategy that outlines how the departments will maintain communication with and develop their prospects.

To begin, Marketing should incorporate tactics into their campaigns to capture qualification information from leads using landing pages, surveys, registration forms and website behavior tracking. These tactics must also be integrated into the company CRM system so that all lead information is tracked and updated automatically. Only when the criteria is met, should leads be passed to Sales for follow up.

For those leads not yet qualified, Marketing should seek Sales’ input in creating lead nurturing campaigns that provide relevant information and keep the company top-of-mind with the prospect as they move along in the buying process.

ENJOYING THE BENEFITS OF SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT

With this systematic approach, lead conversion rates will improve, marketing dollars will be deployed more effectively (raising ROMI), and leads will continue to be engaged until they are ready to make a buying decision instead of falling through the cracks and eventually buying from a competitor.

Every Business Is a Sales and Marketing Business

No matter what your industry, who your market is, or what product you offer, your business is a sales and marketing business. Unfortunately a lot of entrepreneurs don’t understand this, and even if they do, they resist it. “I feel like I’m prostituting myself,” was the start of one conversation I had recently with a struggling energy worker. She truly believed that if she marketed her services she was somehow selling her soul to the devil. “No wonder you’re struggling!” I responded. When I told her that marketing was simply ensuring that potential clients knew she existed, she relaxed.

The first place marketing should happen is in your mindset. If you don’t have the right mindset, no matter what skills you learn you likely won’t do very well. Focus on how to find the right market for your product while maintaining top-of-mind awareness. You want to occupy space in your customer’s mind.

A Misconception about Marketing

Many think that sales and marketing has to be pushy. Nothing could be further from the truth. You simply need to make people aware of what you offer and create the opportunity for them to invest in what you offer based on their wants and needs. If you believe in what you do, you owe it to your market to let them know what you offer. To not do this is a disservice to your market.

Primary Reasons People Don’t Succeed at Marketing:

  • A misunderstanding of what marketing is and is not
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Not knowing what to do
  • Not knowing who their target market is
  • Trying to be all things to all people
  • Using a shotgun approach
  • Not budgeting for marketing
  • Lack of time
  • Poor planning
  • Being too scattered
  • Chasing after the next get-rich-quick scheme
  • Trying to do it all themselves

If you want to succeed, there are some “must-knows” in regard to marketing:

· Who your market is

· How to market to them

· What the market perception of you and your business is

· Market trends impacting your industry

· How these components all fit together

Learning this information involves doing a proper analysis of your market, the product you need to create and offer, and the most efficient way to do this to generate high revenue and great profit margins. I’ll show you how to accomplish all of those tasks in future chapters.

If the purpose of your business is to fulfill your life’s work while contributing to the well-being of others, isn’t it time to get serious about doing this? Haven’t you been procrastinating long enough? Isn’t now the time for you to increase your marketing knowledge and your ability to implement this knowledge? Believe it or not, marketing can be fun, fulfilling, uplifting, and impactful. It’s simply a matter of shifting your mindset, actions and focus.

Affiliate Marketing For Newbies – What’s the Difference Between Sales and Marketing?

Like all forms of online marketing, it is unfortunate that there is a stigma that comes attached to Affiliate Marketing when someone is first introduced to it. On the surface, it sounds just like every other scheme aimed at cheating the honest out of their hard-earned dollars. There is a difference between Marketing and forcing someone to look at something and the earlier that Affiliate Marketing beginners can differentiate between the two, the faster they can expect that first unexpected sale standing triumphantly in their online account.

To remove this stigma, let’s try understanding just what it means to be a Marketer. Forget that we’re doing this affiliate thing for a moment. What do think it means to be a Marketer? In all truth, if you’ve never studied the subject then there’s no shame in admitting that you might not know the first difference between sales and marketing, say. I sure don’t; my background is in Science. I pursue Affiliate Marketing as a business I run on the side. But anyway, back to the definition.

When you think of a salesperson, the first thing that comes to mind is that fake, pushy person you always want to avoid. They try to persuade you that the thing they’re trying to sell is the next best thing since sliced bread. Ultimately, they’re trying to make you buy something that you don’t want. A marketer on the other hand has a completely different job.

A marketer is given a product and their job is to analyse what kind of person would most like to purchase and use the product. They perform analysis on societal demographics most relevant to the product. For example, if the product is something physical and needs shipping, then the marketer has to take into account the costs related to it and the chance someone living further out might want to buy it compared to the relative probability that someone living close may buy it. Basically, they help solve people’s problems by matching them up with products they may want to buy.

This may come as a revelation to those of you who often associated sales and marketing as the same thing. It’s so commonly uttered within the same phrase by college students or university graduates, for example, “I just graduated from university with a Bachelor of Business, majoring in sales and marketing”. Oh you poor thing, we immediately think. You’re going to become one of the shunned and despised in society, along with the politicians and other people who put on a mask everyday because their occupation requires them to.

I’m not a salesperson, so I’m in no place to criticise what it’s like to be one. All I can say is that marketing if a noble profession and an interesting hobby. The plain fact is, anyone who likes or is good at understanding people, anyone who is able to show empathy or anyone who is able to draw people in with their positive nature have the potential to excel as marketers. That is why Affiliate Marketing is such a popular avenue to make money online; as long as you are “human”, you can do it.