Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Getting ROI from Advanced Sales and Marketing Tools

BrightBlue Marketing is excited to introduce our guest blogger, Bob Foster, Founder of GlobalNow Inc., a technology services company. Bob Foster is highly regarded in the sales and technology industries. He recently formed a community that brings together various software solutions that improve sales performance. We encourage you to visit Bob’s site at http://business-class-software.com/.

Like most folks, I’m enthusiastic about the value proposition my company has to offer. This includes a standalone offering (BCSS) that resells a portfolio of hosted software that improves the performance of sales teams. I’m a process guy, so I appreciate the impacts that these process oriented tools bring to the table. However, I sometimes wonder if I overestimate the anticipated return from the use of advanced sales and marketing tools when they are being used by companies with sales and marketing departments that are misaligned (they have disconnected procedures, personnel, software and messaging between the two departments).

For example, we offer software that improves the performance of sales campaigns and activities; by building, implementing, managing and refining sales workflows. This approach does work. However, maximum revenue performance is dependent upon quality leads being received from the marketing department. As we all know, quality lead generation no longer means just providing accurate contact phone numbers. Are the contacts the “right” leads? Do the prospects identified from marketing efforts have needs that are consistent with the company’s service offering? By the same token, do the sales personnel conduct the proper conversations and activities to fully address the lead opportunity?

Do the necessary ongoing conversations occur between Marketing and Sales to ensure maximum return from the end to end revenue generation efforts? Or do we become content with our departmental successes based on our internal system measurements (e.g. - Marketing: number leads generated; Sales: number of leads contacted) - with the software and process tools then actually becoming slightly counterproductive! Do we then focus more on meeting our internal metrics and less on the big picture of revenue growth!

The opportunity for more revenue through effective alignment seems to be even greater as the selling and buying behavior changes due to advancements in technology, as customers have a greater reliance on the internet to identify products and services, and customer profiling data is used to generate better leads.

There are some obvious and traditional opportunities for integration: One of our apps (Jesubi) allows companies to track the type of objections encountered during sales calls, and feed these back to marketing, ensuring messaging issues are addressed as early as possible, and quickly refine the sales workflow to accommodate if needed. Our sales playbook application (Kadient) allows companies to ensure they are using the best methods consistently across their entire sales team, including the use of the “proper” content for sales advancement. Our sales training tools (Communication Coach) ensures personnel are having the right type of conversations with prospects. On the surface, the above methods look good. But, if sales and marketing do NOT properly align, a company loses revenue since there is no chance to refine the message (based on objections); enhance the conversations, or alter the content/collateral to best contribute to sales closure as part of the playbook.

I feel marketing must be jointly responsible for the health of the sales pipeline; including volume of conversions. By the same token, I feel sales must be jointly responsible for the quality of leads (through proper feedback and execution).
I’m very interested in hearing from others who have successfully connected the sales and market functions and what metrics were used to measure the success of this integration.

Let’s continue to drive more revenue by using these advanced marketing tools and software; but let’s make sure we are spending our time and money wisely by effectively working together across our internal teams.

Blog by: Bob Foster


CRM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CLAD70 said...

I think tools can be an end to the means. The real metric that teams eventually need to get to is sales and ROI from a specific campaign or activity which often gets lost in our ability/desire to measure everything.

Maximizing the ROI requires that marketing and sales work together from start to finish.

Bob Foster said...

Hi Chris,
Excellent point; let's don't forget what is most important - and that is the generation of revenue (sales). Simple is good, and we need to focus on those metrics that will make the greatest positive difference, such as your example of specific campaign ROI. Software tools can definitely help make that happen if applied properly. I believe it is important that we periodically assess the operational measurements/efforts through the course of a tool implementation initiative (and beyond) to ensure that they are contributing significantly to our core revenue goals. Thanks, Bob Foster