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Tim Brandt By Tim Brandt • June 18, 2019

What have your marketing operations done for sales lately?

Three practical areas where marketing can take the lead for making a difference in sales revenue growth attainment…

Do your marketing operations have what it takes to drive sales goals and effectively support revenue growth? The ongoing effort to produce new business results month over month, quarter over quarter, year over year is not for the meek of heart. Converting marketing spend to sales revenue and market growth provides the lifeblood to a company’s performance. Savvy marketing operations understand that effectively scaling growth-based business results is the dominant priority in their role as marketers and a vital measure of marketing's function.

The following are three practical areas where your marketing operations can take the driver’s seat for making a difference in sales revenue growth attainment…

1. Collaborative Culture
If you asked your marketing staff to describe their primary goal, how many would say that it is to build revenue and market growth for their company? How many would describe their role as fundamentally being a part of sales and business development efforts? Do they see their primary job role as aligning with and helping their sales counterparts achieve their goals?

For many marketing operations, specialization is necessary for the many complex tasks that need to be performed on a daily basis—brand management, implementation and oversight of compliance, content and asset management, creative services, customer data management, market research and analysis, formulation of product and solution positioning, digital experience strategy, deployment of campaigns, customer case studies, all of these and more. But, at the end of the day, all these activities are focused on one primary objective—to support driving sales revenue and market growth. Marketers really are sales resources oriented in a wide range of skill sets and assigned specialized roles for executing overall business development strategy, as well as creating and managing all the communication deliverables for that purpose. Field based sales resources typically execute high level marketing strategy within a structured sales process designed to penetrate qualified prospects and secure targeted business results.

Collaboration and alignment with field-based sales can often be a challenge when considering marketing’s extensive responsibilities and specialization for managing the overall process and deliverables. This reality takes form in the time (turn around for completing), responsiveness (timely availability of resources), efficiency (resources needed for executing a task) and relevancy (deliverables’ effectiveness relative goal) for supporting field sales efforts. A “collaborative culture” requires marketing and sales operations to become more aligned, more cohesive, and more united in their common mission and goals.

In his recent book, The Culture Solution, world renown speaker, business consultant and best-selling author, Matthew Kelly [ @MatthewFKelly ], describes the purpose and essence of what “culture” means to business operations,

“The purpose of culture is to help an organization better fulfill its mission with the understanding that a healthy environment will best serve that mission in the long run. From that perspective, culture is everything an organization does that helps it become the-very-best-version-of-itself, and everything it does to help fulfill its mission better this year than it did last year.”

Creating a strong culture between marketing and sales begins with promoting a collaborative environment focused on the company mission, to create common goals, and have them executed across marketing and sales.

How does your marketing stand up?
See how well your marketing operations stand after answering a few of the following questions:

  • Do your marketing operations understand the common mission and goals shared with sales operation counterparts?
  • Are the goals clearly defined and openly discussed on a regular basis?
  • Is there a structured and consistent process for collaborating the mission and goals?
  • How would stronger collaboration with sales and tighter alignment to mission and common goals impact your performance as a marketing operation relative sales revenue attainment and growth?
  • How would your current culture change—better, worse, no ability to change?
  • Developing or further advancing a collaborative culture can make a significant difference in the execution of business development and revenue initiatives—do you feel that working more closely with your sales counterparts will achieve better results?

2. Sales Process
We all have them—stereotypes of salespeople! What would the world be without the colorful image of the “snake oil salesman,” highly skilled in the artful craft of profiteering on gullible victims—selling worthless, overhyped remedies for any ailment imaginable. Or the smarmy “used car salesperson” who will say or negotiate just about anything to compel closure on the deal. Fortunately, these generalizations are not representative of the many ethical, highly skilled, customer centric sales professionals who practice legitimate sales and marketing processes.

The popularity of enterprise software platforms and digital implementation of legacy manual processes over the past twenty years, have brought sales process to the forefront of all organizations both large and small. In many ways, “sales process” has become bigger than the actual flesh and blood salesperson. It’s certainly important and plays a critical role for defining, scaling, tracking, measuring, analyzing, forecasting and reporting sales cycle performance in today’s digital centric operations. Yet, the sales process is only as good as the expertise, knowledge and commonsense implementation it is built on.

Implementing a sales process can be challenging, especially for products that are subject to long, complex sales cycles. Sales enablement and CRM platforms are simply tools and do not guarantee a quality process or accurate data with reliable forecasting insights. Many operations experience a great deal of pain and go through several iterations before a reasonably accurate, reliable and usable implementation is realized.

It is important that marketing and sales are on the same page when implementing the sales process. Many sales processes begin with a marketing qualified lead (MQL) that progresses to a sale qualified lead (SQL) based on specific qualifications of the lead. The common goal of marketing and sales should be to identify, develop, and nurture leads that will progress as qualified sales cycles according to appropriate metrics that connect to products and solutions offered. The more fluid the lead journey at the beginning of the marketing process through to qualified leads transitioning to the sales process the better the results. It only makes sense that if both marketing and sales have a strong mutual understanding of what constitutes a “qualified” lead and a “qualified” sale cycle the more likely a reasonably strong opportunity and efficient sales process can be developed.

Many sales and marketing operations take qualification for granted and place too much emphasis on lead volume. This is the reason your inbox and junk mail folder are filled with hundreds of solicitations that have nothing to do with your needs and your phone rings incessantly with solicitors. Qualified leads trump lead volume all day long, every day—generating and profiling leads earlier in the lead journey is a significant foundation for building and implementing a strong sales process. Volume becomes more important for scaling pipeline only after well-established qualification criteria and practices are in place.

Keep it simple—the value of a sales process is how scalable it is across a sales and marketing organization in conjunction with how reliable and accurate it is for tracking the progress and results through to closure. It is a road map for efficiently and effectively pursuing revenue opportunities according to a proven structure of business development steps and practices. Marketing can and should play a significant role staging the alignment of qualified lead flow to the sales process.

Do your marketing and sales operations collaborate to the point that they understand each other’s segment of the lead journey and sales process? Is there mutual agreement on what constitutes a qualified lead or a qualified sales cycle or is lead generation simply about lead volume? Again, is their alignment and mutual understanding of the mission and shared goals? Seems obvious in theory but in practice many operations find much need for building a more collaborative and integrated sales and marketing culture for pursuing improved revenue results. The earlier leads can be qualified and aligned to the sales process the better the results in converting to revenue and driving growth goals.

3. Distributed Marketing and Automation
Do your marketing operations leverage a distributed marketing platform for field sales and partner affiliates to easily localize and fulfill on-brand marketing collateral or execute campaigns? Have you considered a distributed marketing strategy for supporting marketing and sales initiatives that drive stronger efforts for pursuing revenue growth goals and scaling brand recognition locally?

Technology that empowers field-based sales, marketing, and partner affiliates to easily execute campaigns and localize marketing materials on demand has been available for years. Various implementations and use cases for distributing marketing assets, campaigns, and provisioned Web based workflows fall under a large selection of vendor offerings. Ranging from low cost, third party Web-to-print systems to highly sophisticated omni-channel platforms and software services. Depending on the level of sophistication, distributed marketing technology can integrate traditional and digital assets, content, data, business rules, compliance, and production from across the enterprise into a single, efficient, highly automated, self-service vehicle for scaling sales and market success.

Characterized by easy execution of marketing deliverables on demand and on brand, across multiple channels such as print, email, social, and online, a distributed marketing platform can lighten the burden and time involved for corporate marketers manually preparing marketing for multiple brands, partner affiliates, geographies, etc. In this way, cumbersome and manual efforts for responding to the individual needs of field-based sales and marketing efforts are automated by provisioning dynamic, reusable templated marketing assets, content and campaigns—available online 24/7. This level of integration and automation across the enterprise, as well as support for multiple media channels that can be executed locally according to centrally governed authority, are what differentiate a sophisticated “distributed marketing platform” implementation from simple Web based print fulfillment.

Regardless the level of implementation, considerable benefits for today’s corporate marketers can be realized and serve to lower operational costs while concurrently driving scalable revenue growth for their brands, sales teams and partner affiliates. It is important that today’s marketing operations are actively engaged in some level of distributed marketing automation for pursuing scale in revenue and market growth competitively as well as strategically. The more automated, responsive and efficient marketers can be supporting sales efforts the more quality time and availability that can be focused on the many complex tasks that marketing tends to on a daily basis.

If your operation has not yet invested in some form of distributed marketing technology implementation perhaps it is time to start looking at the significant benefits.

- If your operation has a system or platform in place how has the investment impacted your ability to service your sales and channel partner development efforts?

- Are you happy with your implementation, user adoption and ability to pursue stronger sales revenue results and local brand recognition?

- Are you achieving the return on investment and revenue growth results you expected?

- Are you in need of improving your implementation or require a stronger platform for advancing to the next level automation and scalability?

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of distributed marketing you can download, “The Ultimate Guide to Distributed Marketing”.


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