Small.Business.Marketing

New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

Archive for the tag “funnel”

Ownership of the funnel

- why clear demarcation of territories is unhelpful, even dangerous
Sales is responsible for immediate, this week/ this month and marketing looks at next month, next year and next life! Funny, but this is the kind of thinking that has ruined customer relationships, reduced sales role to deal management and restricted marketing to a role akin to a scriptwriter in a Bollywood movie; lucky to see his name featured in the credit-roll, if at all.
What is needed is a realization that both sales and marketing have long term and short term objectives/ goals and they need to collaborate in long to medium term growth in prospects, opportunities and leads. They each have a stake in ensuring the leads convert into orders and in promoting usage and thus customer satisfaction, loyalty and word of mouth.
Sales fights the battle, but today marketing is no longer just an enabler but active participant. The battle is not joined only on the day the salesman negotiates the final purchase with the customer but, on the days and months leading up to that day where the customer has moved from a state of no awareness to awareness to interest, evaluation and purchase. Marketing, sales and even customer support: they all play a role in these stages.
The engineer in me likens the various influences on a purchase process to the addition of lots of vectors. As we know, the maximum that you can obtain in a vector addition of several vectors is the sum of the magnitudes should the vectors be all in the exact same direction. Enough said.

Why marketing must partner sales

I have had the good (!) fortune of being on both sides of the great sales and marketing divide in B2B S&M organizations. When in marketing, the lament was how all efforts go to waste because sales “does not follow through and close the leads we generated” and in my stints in sales, I was convinced that “marketing is clueless”- about the market, about customers and their needs. Their leads were of no use to me. It was as if our goals and priorities were different.
The truth is that in large B2B companies, local marketing in countries are focused on the heavy-lifting; running trade-shows, sending out mailers, placing ads. The accent is on getting things done rather than genuinely trying to listen to customers and integrate their feedback into the product or service introduction process.
So, marketing runs programs with no feedback loops. Any customer response, howsoever “raw” is passed on to sales as a “lead”. There is no way of telling a good lead from a bad one and since “lead-nurturing” as a concept does not exist; sales essentially starts working with a prospect who is at the very early stage of awareness.
What is the solution? Marketing and sales need to work together on an acceptable definition of a lead. This will vary from industry to industry and company to company but the agreement needs to happen so that marketing can work to create programs that nurture the raw leads further and pass on leads that interest the sales. On their part, sales could do more to spot the micro-trends in their industries, the customer pain-points and decision making roles in client organizations and log them formally. This will help marketing to create programs that address the right customer problems, identify the right solutions and target the right communication to the right customer contacts involved in purchase.

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