Buyers buy differently today and if your funnel doesn’t reflect how buyers buy, you’re probably falling behind your competitors. Indeed, the funnel management of many companies only covers about half of the actual stages through which a typical B2B buyer progresses. If you’re not properly managing the entire funnel a high percentage of potential deals are going to your competitors without your company even getting a chance at bat.
I recently recorded a webinar that is well-suited for Marketing and Sales managers. Click on the link at the end of this post to view the webinar. It covers these topics:
- Why it matters that you align your strategy, processes, and funnel stages to the Buyer’s Journey
- The critical stages that are frequently overlooked
- Funnel examples that align Sales & Marketing to the Buyer
- Rebuilding your funnel model to learn the necessary funnel velocity
What can go wrong with funnel management – webinar
The adoption of a marketing automation platform (MAP) is a serious commitment for any company. How does the head of marketing know for sure that the time is right, and more importantly what disciplines and processes need to be in place well before one even starts shopping for a MAP. This recorded webinar gives good advice and it’s vendor neutral.
- How to know you’re ready
- How to know you’re not ready
- The processes that have to be in-place
- Be sure you have enough fuel – contacts and content
- Creating the blueprint for marketing automation
- Using your blueprint to compare vendors
Will your next revenue plan clearly show how marketing and sales will work together to implement the company strategy? Will it convincingly and mathematically model how the two organizations will apply tactics that advance enough buyers through the pipeline/funnel to achieve the revenue objectives? If your budget is cut by 20% before approval, can you quickly show the impact of that cut on demand generation and revenue generation?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions I urge you register for my October 3 workshop at DemandCon in Boston. Fittingly enough, the workshop is entitled, “Creating a Funnel-Driven Marketing Plan Your CEO will Love.” This is a certified workshop for sales and marketing professionals that reveals advanced techniques and best practices for increasing revenue volume and velocity by using integrated and aligned funnel planning. It’s not just a planning process, it’s a an amazingly effective way to align sales and marketing for utmost effectiveness.
This post is for all the business owners, CEOs and Boards out there who are beginning to see that Sales and Marketing need to be on equal footing in the organization and fully aligned.
Two articles suggest that the CEO’s commitment to alignment and attitude about the role of Marketing are deciding factors in how effectively a company aligns Sales and Marketing and boosts revenue performance as a result.
One article appeared in Forbes in 2011. The other article is by your humble blogger appearing here in 2010.
A few years ago the respected thought-leaders, MarketingProfs and MathMarketing, collaborated on a major international survey to gain insight about why some companies grow faster than others. Sales and Marketing Alignment Benchmark focused on identifying what, if anything, high-growth companies did differently in their sales and marketing departments compared to their lower-growth competitors. A summary of the report is available here.
Survey Results: How Aligned Companies Outperform Others
Here are some of the impressive and shocking findings about companies with aligned sales and marketing:
- Grew 5.4 points more than their competition
- Closed 38% more proposals
- Lost 36% fewer customers
- Marketing contributed at least 24% of the revenue opportunities
- Marketing was compensated, in part, on the conversion rate of proposals (deals won).
I recently read another great post on the Marketing Automation Software Guide. The article entitled, Close the Gaps to Close More Sales with Marketing Automation, was written by Sharon Drew Morgan who has written and spoken passionately about the need for new sales models and processes. The central theme to Sharon Drew’s article is that marketing automation systems (when used properly) enable companies to align their marketing and sales efforts to the buyer’s journey. This in turn improves conversion rates and sales effectiveness. Ms. Morgan made another insightful point that I want to comment on later.
But first, the best-practice of aligning marketing and sales to the buyer’s journey isn’t new. It was creatively exposed in 2003 in Hugh Macfarlane’s book, The Leaky Funnel. Yet the majority of B2B companies still don’t get it, which Sharon Drew clearly points out in her post. I come face to face with this reality when I coach companies on how to align sales and marketing. Oddly enough the concept of aligning one’s revenue-generation engine to the buyer is foreign to most companies, but slowly smart sales and marketing executives are “getting it”.
Once sales and marketing processes are aligned to the buyer’s journey then it’s time to turn on the marketing automation system, integrate it with CRM, develop the content strategy, and go into action.
Sharon Drew emphasized that sales and marketing managers must work together to identify the real buyer and get the entire decision-making team on board at the prospect company .
I was reminded when reading her article that marketing automation systems make it possible to offer and efficiently deliver role-specific content to everyone on the decision-making team. Marketing automation systems can even aid the sales team in identifying buyer roles by tracking what type of content they consume.
A check list.
- Identify the buyer’s journey.
- Align marketing and sales processes to it.
- Intelligently use marketing automation integrated with CRM to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time with the right frequency.
- Identify and bring to the “table” all of the buyer’s team.
- Leverage the marketing automation system to drive a lead scoring process that turns over leads that are ready to engage with you.
- Measure. Measure. Measure.
Companies considering the adoption of a marketing automation system are advised to read this excellent post by Matt Smith of 3forward, and then look in the mirror. Matt’s article on the Marketing Automation Software Guide blog identifies four company characteristics that pretty much sum up the types of hurdles one can expect when moving to a marketing automation platform.
- Afraid of the water
- Blissfully ignorant
- Content challenged
- Buried in bureaucracy
Matt also suggests a “simple” solution for sales and marketing alignment, which I recommend that companies view as a starting point only. Companies who are developing and following best practices in this area are tackling the stubborn issue on more fronts, as I outlined in a previous post here, The Top-10 Processes that Align Sales and Marketing.