Thursday, May 25, 2017

The utopia of a joined-up sales and marketing approach

Many B2B companies in the IT Channel with ambitious growth plans think telemarketing and marketing will fast track them to a decent pipeline.  

Depending on where businesses are in their phase of growth dictates what they need and when, but often, sales and marketing teams work in their own silos without as much dedication to joining the dots as other departments in the business.

“We definitely already do that”, I hear you cry. 

That’s great - if you’ve got the whole lead generation engine working like a dream machine, you don’t necessarily need to read on. 

The reality is, most companies we deal with have got bits of it working really well, but feel they could be doing even better.  No matter how big or small the company, short term, siloed outreach by sales and marketing teams delivers some of the biggest failures in ROI. 

If your highly paid, seasoned sales professionals getting the sort of salary that should see them in face to face prospect and customer meetings are doing appointment setting, should they be in the office half-heartedly making calls and looking for any excuse not to pick up the phone?  We’re guessing you’d rather they were out of the office in at least 2 meetings a day turning them into revenue.

Cold calling’s a very tough job at the best of times and to get a decent return relies on trained, qualified agents working in the right environment that keeps them motivated and supported on an ongoing basis.  Quick wins will fast track some pipeline, but it’s possible that data can be burnt too quickly if it’s not properly targeted with the right content at the right time.  Some low hanging fruit opportunities will always be found in this way, but that’s no substitute for progressive, ongoing calling on a regular basis.

Which brings me on to where marketing should help make the magic happen – delivering the right message, with the right content at the right time.  Think about that for a moment.  Hand on heart can you say that your content and delivery is planned at least 3 months in advance creating an informative and interesting journey for your prospects (not forgetting customers), hooked into your website with plenty of opportunities for them to interact with you? 

Even those companies with sophisticated automation systems in place, struggle to see a return on investment because they still focus on messaging that relates purely to their offer, rather than what the recipient really needs, whilst also failing to plan content strategically for the long game.

OK, in the early stages of engagement it’s still unlikely contacts will have all the necessary attributes that would make them a qualified opportunity, but they’ll definitely have a pulse and will be a step closer to becoming good quality opportunities within your target data universe.  Your sales agent’s finally in with a fighting chance of starting a far warmer conversation with a prospect as it’s backed by a trail of interaction they’ve had with you already that can be used as leverage to fix a meeting.

If a meeting still doesn’t come at this stage, don’t discard along with your investment thus far, hand it back to marketing to continue to engage until it’s worth another call.  Depending on sales cycles, this could go on for months only allowing prospects to drop off the radar because they choose to opt-out, or unfriend you. Drop the contact yourself and they could be lost forever.

The realisation there’s as many opportunities to wreck the value chain by taking shortcuts as there are to make a success of end user outreach is becoming more apparent. 

Some are struggling with management and motivation sales agents to get them to the point they help gain and retain customers, simply because they don’t have time to invest in them.

Some find they’ve spent many £000’s on stop-start marketing that hasn’t got close to delivering the sort of outcomes worthy of that investment.

Having experienced, well managed people to supplement in-house teams is an option many in the IT Channel are adopting. 

It’s well worth the time and effort to take another look to see if there’s anything else you could be doing to give yourself the edge.  This could mean looking at best practice to arrive at a truly joined up sales and marketing approach that combines supporting systems and processes with integrated outreach as the way forward to deliver against revenue objectives. 

Professional telemarketing – or marketing - as they stand alone, aren’t going to be your silver bullets.  But joined up and working in harmony, they’re vital tools in your armoury that’ll help you win the battle to close business long into the future.


Ian Brigden, Founder and Owner of The Point Company



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