Last fall at a NETSEA event, Joe Galvin, Vice President and Research Director for SiriusDecisions, was the speaker. His insight and knowledge regarding sales and marketing was deep. His speaking skills, btw, if you are ever looking for a good speaker, are phenomenal. We were talking last week and I asked him if he would put some thought to a few questions regarding sales and marketing alignment.
Mike: Joe, you just came off a whirlwind tour with the SiriusDecisions Summit two weeks ago and the Sales 2.0 Conference this week. Personally, I attended the CMO Club Summit and Sales 2.0. It was interesting that in both cases, the attendees were buzzing with discussion about the need for alignment of sales and marketing so I blogged an article about it earlier this week. I assume it was also a topic at your event. What are you seeing as the top actions sales and marketing execs can do to make this alignment happen and to make it impact their companies?
Joe: We presented at our conference some eye opening data from our benchmark database showing radical differences in both profit and revenue between companies that have embraced sales and marketing integration versus those that haven’t. We identified the critical integration points between sales and marketing in demand generation, knowledge management, sales readiness and metrics. Among the 10 lessons learned from these leaders were the importance of a combined focus by sales and marketing on sales productivity which means applying marketing resources throughout the opportunity lifecycle. The requirement for shared metrics with an integrated opportunity pipeline measuring revenue and productivity. We learned the importance of integrating sales and marketing technology in terms of the marketing automation platform, core SFA and sales productivity applications like knowledge management, automated methodology or prospect development among many other valuable takeaways.
Mike: With all the buzz and budget around inbound marketing, outbound marketing and demand gen in general, what can a quota carrying sales rep do on their own to help get that all important discussion with a real prospect?
Joe: First, they should take advantage of and capitalize on every qualified lead sent to them by marketing. Our benchmark data shows that marketing contributes between 18 and 34% of the sales pipeline depending on segment. It’s not uncommon for sales people to ignore qualified leads simply because the first couple they called didn’t work out. Sales reps need to work closely with their teleprospecting resources to help them optimize lead generation capabilities. The other consideration is once you have a lead, how do you bring value to that initial interaction? Clients and prospects are overwhelmed by public domain information. As a sales professional in 2009, you must be able to tell them something they don’t know -- or can’t find on their own -- to gain their attention and respect. Finally, another lesson learned from our conference is the importance understanding the sources of opportunities and their conversion rates.
Mike: This is a topic relevant to Green Leads, so I was taking an informal survey at the two events and thought I would ask you as well. As you know, we're in the business of setting appointments with C/VP level prospects for our clients. Years ago, it was thought that the only way to start the sales process was to shake hands and get face-to-face. Lately though, we're seeing more and more of the prospects we target requesting that the first sales meeting be by phone or a web meeting. Do you think this is due to a shift in the buying process or the way people do business? Is it a trend sales reps have to start to accommodate and/or take advantage of?
Joe: I think this reinforces the fact that buyers are now in control of how they will accept and absorb information. It’s no longer how I want to present (sell) to you, rather, how do you absorb information. So, sales people have to be more than the traditional bright smile and shiny shoes; they have to constantly adapt to the buyer processes and be able to communicate with them in a multitude of ways. There are three b2b realities that can’t be ignored, one of which is that business-to-business buyers can’t be sold. They control their buying process and the flow of information. This reality is challenging traditional sales cycle thinking.
Mike: Once that relationship starts, the selling starts. Do you think buyers are changing the way they make buying decisions now, too? Could there be a 2.0 movement in the way companies purchase and if so, should sales reps start taking that into account?
Joe: There is no question that buyers' behaviors have changed. First, there are more people involved in the decision which means sales people have to adapt their message to the audience and where they are in their buying process. This presents a huge knowledge challenge for sales people if they are to be relevant to each of the buying entities. Navigating how prospects buy is now more important than how we want to sell. This will force sales people to be more knowledgeable about their products/solutions but also more knowledge about what their buyer knows. As an example, if marketing can share with sales what documents they downloaded or events they attended, the sales rep has a huge opportunity to bring value in that interaction.
Mike: So now for the alignment. How does marketing play in Sales 2.0?
Joe: Sales 2.0 initially was a technology first approach to selling as presented at the inaugural event in November 2007 – it sounded a lot like the old SFA promises from 1997. Since then it has morphed multiple times depending on who has published the latest perspective on what is or isn’t Sales 2.0. Now it is beginning to embrace some of the broader dynamics sweeping the buyer-selling world that we spoke about today. However, what I’ve observed in the Sales 2.0 discussion to date is the lack of a focused perspective of marketing’s impact on buyers and how marketing needs to more than just demand gen. As long as sales 2.0 is a sales initiative, we will continue to focus on what has worked in sales in the past – not what is require to succeed in the go forward economy. I think we should consider thinking about sales 2.10, with the one being the inclusion of marketing and the recognition of marketing’s increasingly important role in buying.
Mike:Mike: And last, the all important B2B Marketing Thought Leaders Curry Poll. Do you prefer Red or Green curry?
Joe: Not a big Curry fan – and that includes Eddie Curry of the New York Knicks!
Mike: As a lifelong Celtics fan, I can respect that.
This past week I was lucky enough to attend both the CMO Club Summit in New York, and the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston. There was a definite overlap of key discussion points that I believe is critical for all sales and marketing execs to consider. These are the areas that impact both the marketing discipline and the sales discipline, and where critical mass may be for your company's success. This blog article is obviously not enough to serve every topic, but as an introduction and overview, it will set the stage for future discussion.
- Alignment of Sales & Marketing
- Demand Generation
- Sales Enablement
- Social Media
They each had significant focus, but as the union of both camp's topics of discussion, the umbrella topic of Sales & Marketing Alignment seems to cover it all. For generations, Marketing has been focusing on branding, products, communications, creating demand and supporting sales. Today, especially with the economy, there seems to be increasing shifts towards the last two - the top of the funnel. Demand generation and sales enablement are the two most significant areas where investments seem to be on the rise. Some highlights below:
- Marketing needs to understand their customers and their sales force. Get out into the field, ask for feedback, but add value during this process
- Marketing and sales leaders need to know metrics inside out. Conversion rates at each stage of the funnel. ROI for every program, etc.
- Marketing should hold sales responsible for what they do with a marketing generated lead
- Sales should hold marketing responsible for generating the right leads
- Marketing should bolster and ensure the consistency of the brand messages they have created by creating uniform, adaptable, and readily available sales enablement assets
- Marketing should know what motivates a sales person, and sales should know what motivates marketing. The two should work together to align these goals
As far as Social Media is concerned, everyone is in agreement it is a hot topic and that there needs to be some strategy and tactics directed towards it. There were examples of sales successes with social media, marketing wins using social media, etc. What wasn't clear was how to maximize the use of social media, and how to control it. Some consensus, some debate:
- Marketing should drive a uniform effort to properly arm a company to use social media. This includes an official company/brand presence as well as individual users
- Social media should be used for both inbound demand gen as well as outbound
- Companies should educate employees on the proper use and respect of social media
- Marketing and sales management should educate sales teams on the ins and outs, tips and tricks of using systems such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for sales
- Consideration of guidelines governing social media since the FTC has ruled that social media contributions by employees are discoverable
- General consensus: LinkedIn and Twitter for business. Facebook for personal. The exception are Facebook Fan Pages for companies, products and brand presence
This Thursday is the Sales 2.0 conference in Boston, and Anneke Seley from Phoneworks and author of the book Sales 2.0 will be speaking. Anneke and I met as a result of twitter, so it's fitting that she is speaking on Social Media this week.
Mike: Anneke, I don't want to steal your thunder, but if I were a single sales rep, what two social media tips could I start implementing tomorrow that might impact my number?
Anneke: You ARE stealing my thunder, Mike! But here are two ideas: Personalize your LinkedIn profile to include information that is interesting and valuable to your prospects and customers, such as customer projects that are generating measurable results with your offering. In my talk, I will highlight one regional manager who has generated about $80,000 in qualified opportunities since beginning his use of social media four months ago.
Use Twitter to personally invite prospects to your company’s events. One of Phone Work’s (my company’s) clients is generating 10% of total registrations via Twitter for an executive-level event. Over 50% of these registrants are highly-qualified – which is a higher percentage than registrants that come from traditional media. The resulting revenue opportunity in the pipeline exceeds $1M.
Mike: I can relate to your first example. I participate heavily in the LinkedIn Answers section on Lead Gen, (a little self promotion – I’m listed as the #1 expert in the lead gen answers section), and two years ago I found a client as a result of my answering a question and today they are still a client and have invested in the six figures for appointments.
Second question. Inbound marketing is all the rage, but you and I spend a great deal of time on projects using outbound activities. What do you think smart sales and marketing execs should do to maximize both inbound and outbound activity?
Anneke: In an ideal world, marketing campaigns engage every qualified customer and sales reps just have to respond to incoming inquiries. But not all customers respond to these kinds of “direct response” marketing campaigns. Sometimes a highly-personalized phone and Web contact strategy -often called “Prospecting 2.0” or “Cold Calling 2.0” - yields the best results. As mentioned in my book, salesforce.com discovered this in 2003 when the company started a concerted effort to sell to large companies and traditional demand generation marketing wasn’t reaching target accounts. In innovative, Sales 2.0 companies, sales and marketing execs work together to design and execute different kinds of programs to reach different kinds of audiences. This is part of the Sales 2.0 philosophy to “sell in the way your customer wants to buy” (or engage).
Mike: You just mentioned that the union of selling and marketing is greater every day. What would you tell a marketing exec if they asked why they should be at Sales 2.0?
Anneke: It’s getting harder to discern where marketing ends and sales begins. In Sales 2.0, marketing’s role is no longer limited to filling the pipeline with leads; marketing is now essential in nurturing leads and keeping prospects and customers engaged even after they interact with sales. If you are a marketing exec, spend a day hanging out with us sales “guys” at the Sales 2.0 conference to learn our language and feel our pain! (This reminds me of a male colleague who reads Cosmopolitan magazine to better understand women.) By the way, it must be said that sales and marketing cooperation works best in companies in which sales and marketing execs share performance metrics, supported by incentive compensation, so CEO’s should come too!
Mike: Do you see sales people as Hunters or Gatherers in a 2.0 world?
Anneke: Both. But in Sales 2.0 companies, sales people are usually one or the other (new business reps or reps who look after customer accounts). And we usually refer to Gatherers as “Farmers”.
Mike: And for my ongoing Curry Survey: Red or Green Curry?
Anneke: Sambal. My mother was born in Indonesia.
Mike: That’s cool, adding it to my wish list. Just so you know, the results so far from sales/marketing world are Red – 6, Green – 3, Yellow – 1 (Gerhard), and now Sambal – 1.
I'm at the CMO Club Summit for a couple days and the room is sharing the event with twitter hashtag #cmoclub. You can find a stream of the tweets on twitter search. I'll be writing a more detailed article later, but I wanted to share some tweets of value from the day thus far:
jkrohrs: Actionable idea #6 for CMOs in down economy: "Outsource." More done with same $. List building. Trigger events. Creative. #cmoclub
stephfierman: Singer John Legend performing live -saying core of his own personal brand is building trust among his fans #cmoclub
tibco: Ram Menon, CMO of TIBCO "always hire people smarter than you" #cmoclub
jkrohrs: Commenter: "We do everything in our power right now to avoid hiring Millennials right now. They feel too much entitlement." Ouch. #cmoclub
DavidHarkleroad: #10 mktg idea for a rotten economy, Mitch Bishop, iRise, #cmoclub: buy a competitor
damphoux: @stephfierman just shared that SEC says tweets are "discoverable" #cmoclub
gail_nelson: #CMOclub Patrick Crane of LinkedIn - Look for "re-targeting" -- uses of cookies to track your activities and market to you"
jkrohrs: CMO SMS survey: If you had 10% more budget in 2009, where would you spend: 10% search, 20% social, 50% demand gen, 20% headcount #cmoclub
damphoux: Ed Lemire, EVP Marketing, Acteva. "Only be happy when sales is complaining less than normal about leads" #cmoclub
samdecker: In "7 Ideas for CMOs" Session. Idea 1 for CMOs: Get out of your office. Visit customers, partners, internal teams #cmoclub
I've known Trish Bertuzzi for years and always find her one of the most knowledgeable experts on inside sales there is. Trish is President of The Bridge Group. She founded The Bridge Group with a mission to help technology companies build highly successful inside sales teams. She writes for the Inside Sales Experts Blog. I'm looking forward to hearing Trish speak this Thursday at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston. I'm sure she and Gerhard Gschwandtner will fill the room with words of wisdom.
Mike: Trish, we've known each other for a few years and I have great respect for what you bring to your clients as it pertains to building solid inside sales organizations. As you know, Green Leads provides services in an outsourced model. What are some of the things you would recommend to a client as it pertains to build vs. buy?
Trish: The first thing they have to do is take a look at what they are trying to accomplish and determine if it is something they would like to have as a core competency. For a company that has a long sales cycle with multiple touch points with the prospect, it might make more sense to build the function in house because you are building a long term relationship with the prospect and you want continuity.
On the other hand, if your sales organization is new or you are exploring a new vertical and you need to get face time with decision makers quickly, you might want to consider outsourcing. Net/net – it really depends on your objectives as well as the capacity and expertise you do or do not have in house to build and run this type of program.
Mike: I agree. Some of my best clients have solid inside sales teams that we augment. My initial thoughts are that in a pay-for-performance model where the vendor is being compensated for leads delivered, appointments completed or sales closed, there might be more acceptance of an outsourced approach. Have you seen many companies mix the two? Outsourced and Insourced?
Trish: Many of our clients mix the two. Having a great vendor as a partner gives you breathing room as it pertains to capacity. Even if you have the best team in the world in place, there are times that you need an extra hand.
Let me give you a specific example: Let’s say you have an internal team that is partnered with the field in a 3:1 ratio and 1 of those 3 field reps is new and needs to develop a pipeline quickly. What you don’t want to do is force the inside sales rep to ignore their 2 other partners just to build the new guy a pipeline. If you have a relationship with a vendor, you can give them the new territory and let them get the process going.
The key to success here is having a “relationship” with the vendor as your partner and not just treating them like second class citizens that do projects for you.
Mike: What would you recommend to a startup, as opposed to an established company, as it pertains to inside vs. outside?
Trish: For a startup, my answer is always the same – walk before you run. The beauty of inside sales is that is it a gun you can point and shoot. Build out a strategy, execute it flawlessly, monitor and measure results, and then improve and refine. Build your business model on “real” world data and not on “market assumptions” – those market assumptions will shoot you in the foot every time.
But, let me ask you this Mike, you have been around the Demand Generation track a few times, what do you see as the top 3 benefits of an outsourced model?
Mike: The first is the fact that you are hiring a team that are domain experts in what they do. In Green Leads' case, we set executive level appointments for b2b clients all day long. That's what we are paid to do and that's why we get hired. The second, it's the ability to turn the program on and off. This is a huge benefit to a company with fluctuating budget cycles. The third, and I believe the most important, is that outsourced vendors are more strictly measured by results, whereas inside teams can get bogged down in the corporate machine. That said, some of our best programs are with complementary inside sales teams. Our largest client is the inside sales department of a large software vendor. We act as the snipers getting them appointments, they focus on the next stage in the funnel and use their expertise more efficiently. It's a great combination.
Thanks Trish, see you Thursday. Last question. Green Curry or Red Curry?
Trish: Red, definitely red
Check out the interview of me discussing how having good data impacts lead generation success on ReadyContact's Blog.
Back in the late 90s, I was the founder of a software company called Pangaea. It was a product configurator application being marketed to the sales industry, and so obviously I got to know the head of Selling Power magazine, Gerhard Gschwandtner, for the first time. I have always found him an engaging, insightful, and a personal inspiration to many. The word that springs to mind when I think of Gerhard is "Passion". Gerhard is passionate about many things, but when it comes to selling, Gerhard is the leader of sales passion. So how very appropriate is it that he is the passionate host of the upcoming Sales 2.0 event in Boston on May 21.
Below are a few questions for Gerhard on the topic:
Mike: Given the economy, some people instinctively think "cut budgets", but I think it was Forrester at the last Sales 2.0 conference that said "companies that don't invest in the top of the funnel this year, won't be here next year". What are your thoughts about that?
Gerhard: It wasn't Forrester who said that, it was IDC. The exact quote was: "Companies that significantly reduce their sales and marketing investment in 2009 will be gone by 2010." My view is that they are correct. CEO's who have a limited vision of their future trim their budgets according to their vision. In other words, if these CEO's don't see the opportunity to make hay in the recession, they will cut muscle and lose their ability to compete. Many CEO's don't have the guts to challenge themselves or their organizations to go on the offensive, to grab market share and lead their companies out of the recession. They tell themselves "it's impossible." If you recall the word of Muhammad Ali who said, "impossible is not a fact, it is an opinion." To the confident CEO, impossible is a dare, to the less confident, it is an overwhelming fact. In essence, the economy is a game of chicken, those who get scared get wiped out.
Mike: Sales 2.0 is called Sales 2.0 for a reason, it's all about selling, but much of the discussion amongst us 2.0 advocates keeps focusing on the merging of sales and marketing, demand gen, etc. I push the topic with every marketing colleague I know, what would you say to a CMO who asked you why he should be at the Sales 2.0 conference?
Gerhard: Sales 2.0 is all about moving the company into the land of greater possibility where best practice methodology merges with better technology to create more customer value, to drive up productivity and to accelerate the sales cycle. Sales can't do this without marketing. Both departments need to work in lockstep to create a better lead pipeline that's target rich. CMO's need to send their marketing managers out on sales calls to better understand their external customer and to better understand their internal customer: the salesperson.
Mike: The 2.0 in our 2.0 world really started as a result of the internet and how technology and new ways of thinking have changed the way we do business. At the last conference social media dominated one of the discussion panels. What are the industry leaders you talk to saying about social media and it's impact on sales and marketing?
Gerhard: Every sales executive wants to find out how to use social media to connect with more prospects. I know a salesperson who exclusively relies on Linkedin for finding prospects. Facbook can give you a huge advantage when it comes to breaking the ice. In the past, salespeople broke the ice by making a comment about the fish behind the customer's desk. Today, salespeople break the ice by reciting what they've read on the customer's wall on Facebook. Just last month I received an IM message on Facebook about a business opportunity. A week later this translated into a $6,000 deal. I started Twitter a month ago. Today I have over 100 people following me. It allows me to make more connections and spread the word about our conferences. I think social networking is a misnomer, it's Networking 2.0.
Mike: This one is extra credit, it may be a tough one, but I've debated it with many people and am curious of your opinion. Sales 2.0, Web 2.0, the 2.0 world...many have asked what will be here next year? 2.1 or 3.0?
Gerhard: We can't predict what comes next. Nobody knows what future innovation may bring. What we do know is that 1. We're moving towards a world of co-creation. Wikipedia is the poster-child of a new movement where we all want to contribute to a world where all information is available to all people. We want to create a world where ignorance recedes and where we all share our knowledge for the benefit of mankind. 2. We no longer want to learn from institutions, we want to learn from our peers. Universities will lose students if they fail to create their own community that reaches beyond their four walls 3. We're living in a conversation economy. It's the conversation that bubbles up needs, it's the conversation that leads people to new ideas, and new ideas lead us to change, and change often leads to new economic investments. 4. We live in a world where innovation is no longer an isolated event. Today sales 2.0 innovation is cascading into the market at an accelerated pace. Just three years ago we had only 300 sales technology tools, today we have over 2,000. Sales leaders need to rethink the word innovation. Innovation is NOT an event, it needs to be a permanent process that's firmly embedded in the company's DNA. We should not worry so much about what comes after Sales 2.0. we should worry about those companies that "don't get it". I call these companies Zero dot Zero.
Mike: This last question I ask it with every interview. Sort of an informal survey. It started one night with Craig Rosenberg of the Funnelholic as we ate Thai food in San Francisco. As a matter of fact, it was the night before the first Sales 2.0 conference. So last question...what is your preference, green or red curry?
Mike: I should have known, always a trend setter.