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Sales And Marketing Specialists In The Publishing Field

In the United Kingdom, one of the most reliable job markets for new professionals is in publishing. This reliability comes not from a wide range of jobs, as many publishing houses are small operations with only a few vacancies available. However, there is always a need for publishing services, whether it is the promotion of novels or the creation of electronic documents for corporations. In this way, sales and marketing professionals who are looking for an interesting job can find them in the publishing field.

Sales and marketing professionals, ranging from university graduates to experienced hands, need to realise that publishing covers a broad range of needs. There are small publishing houses which focus on a specific genre of book, ranging from history texts to children’s novels. As well, there are major publishing firms which put out magazines, non-fiction texts, and publishing software. Finally, there are corporate publishing firms which contract with major companies to publish reports and books for promotional purposes.

In all of these cases, sales and marketing professionals are integral to a firm’s success. Sales professionals are needed in the publishing sector in order to sell products and services to the broadest range of consumers possible. Marketing professionals work to promote publishing efforts in a variety of ways, including author’s visits to bookstores and online marketing efforts on literary sites. For both types of professionals, there is a lot of pressure to get the job done.

Sales professionals in the three types of publishing firms face the challenge of outselling their colleagues and competitors with other firms. Specialised firms often face less competition, by virtue of their narrow focus. However, sales professionals have to contend with a fickle consumer market for their narrowly focused product. In larger firms, sales people need to be intimately aware of their books and other offerings. As well, they need to be aware of the competition in order to provide selling points that set a publishing firm apart.

Marketing professionals face similar challenges as their sales brethren. Marketing specialists with specialised firms need to create clever marketing campaigns to convince consumers that their product is invaluable. As well, marketing professionals need to deal with competing campaigns in the publishing industry. Finally, marketers also need to combine their creativity, their marketing skills, and the corporate requirements for individual publishing projects. In the end, sales and marketing professionals need to find ways to distinguish themselves and their product in order to succeed.

SAL Is the Glue That Binds Sales and Marketing in Lead Generation

A lead is a lead, right? Depends – are you in marketing or in sales?

SAL – Sales Accepted Leads is the bridge between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).

No, I am not splitting hairs nor am I indulging in semantics. Clearly defining and understanding the implications of MQL, SAL and SQL are critical to the success of B2B lead generation.

Assigning a numeric score to business sales leads based on a predefined set of rules, takes away the subjectivity out of qualitative ranking like Hot, Warm and Cold leads. Quantitative lead definitions reduce the friction between sales and marketing.

B2B marketers are being held a lot more accountable (as they should be) for their contributions to a company’s revenues. This is more so for industrial marketers because generating a steady stream of high-quality sales leads plays a far more important role than other B2B marketing objectives such as branding, thought leadership and/or community building.

These days, respect for B2B and industrial marketing is spelled as M E T R I C S.

And that goes beyond producing marketing activity reports for upper management. They want to know how much revenue was generated from all that marketing activity. Being able to prove marketing’s value with empirical data is the best defense against the C-Suite’s charge of “show me the money.”

Defining qualified leads

  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): A lead that has achieved a certain score based on a predetermined set of criteria and is ready to be handed off to sales
  • Sales Accepted Leads (SAL):Leads accepted by sales for follow up actions
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQL): Leads that convert into opportunities – either wins or losses

SAL aligns sales and marketing

At first glance it may appear as though it is just a matter of assigning numerical scores to leads and the hand off to sales should happen automatically by using marketing automation software. Dig a little deeper and it will become obvious that there’s a lot more involved than “set it and forget about it.”

SAL is what brings sales and marketing together in attaining the Holy Grail of B2B lead generation – a unified definition of a qualified lead. Sales and marketing will continue to bicker without this agreement. And a bulk of the leads generated will fall through the cracks. Oh, what a waste! (See my earlier post, B2B Lead Generation without Lead Nurturing is Doomed to Fail)

Best practices of lead scoring and management require at least the following:

  • Sales and marketing must work together in defining what constitutes a qualified lead for their particular business
  • Lead scoring must be based on both profiling of the best prospects (company size, industry classification, job function, etc.) which Sales knows best and visitor engagement (site activities) for which Marketing has access to analytics and reports
  • Sales must agree to undertake all follow up actions before rejecting a MQL (If a salesperson is too busy then the system must route the lead to someone else)
  • Marketing must be willing to adjust scoring rules based on feedback from sales to refine lead scoring for optimal results (closed loop system)

I don’t want to create a false impression that every manufacturer, distributor or industrial company needs a sophisticated marketing automation package to get the best results from their lead generation efforts.

Let’s say you are a manufacturer or distributor that sells to a niche market. Then it is likely that you deal with only a handful of leads and not hundreds of them at any given time. Your needs may very well be satisfied by a simpler manual system made up of a Visitor Identification program (Caller ID for the Internet) and outbound telemarketing to fully qualify your prospects. Results can be tabulated using Excel spreadsheets for tracking and refinements.

Of course, it would be unmanageable to scale up such a manual lead scoring and tracking system as the volume of leads increases.

A good lead scoring and management system should be flexible enough to adjust for exceptions. For example, a site visitor with a very high level of activity (several pages visited including pricing information, downloaded white papers, and viewed online demos) would score high on engagement. However, this may be an integration consultant instead of an end-user. A phone call or progressive landing pages may be needed to unearth this additional information.

Your system needs to be able to adjust for this low profile score. This may not be a lead you want to send to sales right away but instead put him/her on a nurturing track that does not require a lot of your time and resources.

Even though we B2B marketers like to think of marketing as more science and less art, lead generation is not an exact science. Human intervention and interactions are the oils that grease the wheels of B2B lead generation.

The key takeaway here is that you may be making a very costly mistake if you treat all your leads the same, put them in a common bucket and toss it over to sales to qualify and close. You are going to need some form of SAL if you want to maximize your lead generation ROI.

How To Search For A Top Sales And Marketing Job

If you’re a top sales or marketing professional working in the business to business technology, manufacturing, healthcare or business services industries, I’ve got some advice for you on how to best go about optimizing your career search. I’m also going to talk about the job market now and the new way of looking for great positions which or often times not advertised. I’ll also give you a number of other tips and tricks regarding interviewing, résumé building techniques, and other useful ideas that I hope you will put to work in order to improve your ability to find that next great position that you’re thinking and dreaming about.

It’s a full employment economy

It’s no secret that the economy is fully employed right now with unemployment running less than 5% in most areas of the U.S. Most companies are finding that they are constrained to grow by the quality of the people that they can actually hire or recruit into their businesses. As a sales or marketing candidate, you need to recognize that times have changed. It’s a lot easier to make a move now than it was one or even two years ago, and certainly a lot easier than during the dotcom bubble back in 1999-2001. It’s a great time to be looking for a job as a sales and marketing executive, midlevel manager, or front-line sales or marketing contributor. All of the top people are working and that means that companies are starved for the kind of A-level talent that they need in order to grow their businesses. This bodes well for anyone who’s thinking about making a change or is initiating a new job search.

Have A Career Plan

If you’re a sales and marketing professional, you’ve worked in and around the planning process your entire career. It’s no secret that your ability to successfully deliver the numbers for your past employers has probably been predicated on having a sound strategy and knowing your plan of attack.

As you think about starting a career search, it’s absolutely critical that you also have a personal plan related to what it is you hope to accomplish, as you look for that next great position. Lots of people enter the job market with no specific strategy other than to prepare their résumé, post it on all of the major job sites, and start doing some networking. In order to be effective at your job search, you need to be a lot more systematic than that. I see sales and marketing executives come through my office on a regular basis who really don’t even know what they’re looking for. As a result of that, it’s very difficult for me to help them achieve their objectives.

Most people that you network with want to help you, but they want to know how they can help you. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes that I see people make when they start a new career search: not spending time to think through what it is that they want in their next career move. Before you pick up the phone, or post a résumé on any career websites, or start networking with people, start by setting aside some time for yourself to do some career planning. If you need help in this area, there are plenty of career counselors and there are also recruiting companies that help candidates to figure what it is that they want to do. There are also career guidance companies and also many great books, including What Color Is Your Parachute? which will help you go through a systematic process to figure out what it is that you want to be doing.

Sales/Marketing Career Planning Elements

What are the elements of career planning that you need to be thinking about? First of all, think about the kind of industry that you want to be in, and target the industries that interest you the most. If you don’t know what they are, go out and do some research to find out which industries are booming, have the best sustainable growth, and afford the advancement opportunities that you’re looking for. Information interviewing is perfect for this.

Second, think about the size of company that you want to go to work for. This is critical. Lots of people want to go to work in startups, but the fact is that if you’ve worked in a large company all your life, the prospect of getting that first job in a startup as a vice-president of sales and marketing is probably not very good. So think about the size of the company.

Third, think about the exact position that you’re looking for. I see lots of people who have done a little bit of everything, and as a result they say, “Oh I’m open to doing anything in sales and marketing.” Well that’s just not good enough. If you want help locating that next great job opportunity, you need to be able to visualize it in great detail and specify openly to people exactly what you’re looking for. That will give them the tools to help you go find a great job and lead you down the right path. Think also about other things like culture, compensation, geographic location (would you be willing to move or not). These are all considerations that most people really don’t give enough thought to before they initiate a career search.

If I have one piece of advise for you, if you’re looking for that next great sales and marketing job, it’s to take the time to create a plan, put it on paper, create a search summary (a one page document which you can use as an accompaniment to your résumé) and then think about taking your show on the road. If you do this, you’ll find that a lot more people that you’re networking with will be able to help you with concrete suggestions, as opposed to just sitting, listening, and empathizing with you as you think about your job search.

Great Salespeople Are In Very High Demand

Right now we have a full portfolio of clients that are desperately looking to add additional salespeople and sales management to their teams. There’s no question that the companies that are trying to grow are constrained by the number of salespeople they employ right now and they’re all out there competing for limited resources. Why? The limited resource is the salesperson that can consistently produce results. Of course everyone who’s worked in sales says that they can produce results, but we know better. The top producers are those who can actually show objective, consistent achievement or overachievement of their sales quotas, month-to-month and year-to-year. These people win sales awards, President’s Club and other types of recognition, proving that they are consistent top producers. These people are in short supply in this economy and are what everyone is looking for right now.

Wages are going up, particularly base salaries, and in addition to that, the top candidates are being more choosey about which opportunities they would be willing to consider. Many people stayed in the same job through the last several years struggling along, but being forced to keep their job because the economy was not doing very well. Now, as they think about busting out and moving to the next position, they want to make sure they’re actually upgrading their career and taking advantage of the job market to do so.

Companies that want to attract these candidates have to have a very compelling growth story, strong leadership, a strong culture, a compelling definition of the market opportunity, and competitive compensation.

If you’re a candidate and you’re thinking about making a move, it’s a great opportunity now to do so because there will be multiple companies that are chasing you. If you’re a job seeker, the number one thing for you to think about is back to what I mentioned previously: career planning. Make sure you really understand both the hard and the soft criteria which you will use to evaluate any opportunity, and really focus in on building a plan that pinpoints what it is that you want to be doing in your next career move.