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Marketing Technology for Better Sales Results

Balancing Marketing Technology With Better Sales Results image

Balancing Marketing Technology With Better Sales Results

No wonder we are confused. The number of vendors providing Advertising, Marketing OR Sales technology “solutions” has exploded in the last couple of years with it becoming a large multi-billion dollar industry with revenues growing at double digit percentages annually. There are now over 3000 vendors (and more in the works!) and these technology vendors are very vocal and actively pitching their own spin on what we need. 

We could be forgiven for thinking, with all the hype and speed of new apps and technologies, that we need to be doing everything and, if we are not we somehow are going to miss out on staying ahead of the curve. However, as you will find from this sales trend the opposite is true. Less is more when it comes to technology with the lesson being that what big business does is usually not what SMEs should be doing and vice versa.

This Sales Trend focuses specifically on the impact technology is having on businesses large and small for good and bad and what technologies we should be paying attention to and what we should be ignoring.

Dave Hubbard is a specialist on this field and has been liaising with Barrett from New York from some time, and together we have looked at the trends in technology and their impact in sales and marketing success here in Australia, the USA and elsewhere.

Before we explore the trends in technologies we have created a simplified framework that will help us sort out what technologies apply to our situation, and what is a distraction for us.

  1. Without effective sales and marketing strategies for our businesses, every tech solution looks like a potential solution that we might want to bet on, literally.  To avoid this, before we consider any technology, we really need to identify our Sales + Marketing Revenue Strategy, identify what market segments we need to be in, what ideal customers look like and how they like to buy, how we will measure whether that strategy is working or not on a daily/monthly/quarterly basis, and identify major holes where we need to leverage technology to make the strategies more effective.
  2. Size matters. Small companies need integrated, all-in-one solutions that are easy to use (e.g. simple and inexpensive autoresponder email marketing applications) because they don’t have a large number of resources to deploy for this type of work. Large companies need scale and sophistication (e.g. expensive and sophisticated programmatic advertising technology) because they have numerous dedicated experts available to drive the tactics and strategies. However, when it comes to B2B and B2C businesses, both need to be found on the internet (e.g. search engine marketing for websites, SEO, and paid banner advertisement with or without remarketing capability, are common for both).
  3. The Buyer’s Purchase Process matters, a lot. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies have unknown buyers roaming the internet who have very short decision processes (e.g. big data and predictive analytics are used to find which ones are in a buying mood). Business-to-Business (B2B) companies (and large value, complex/considered B2C buyers) know exactly which businesses need their solution, know how many people will be involved in recommending and influencing the decision makers, and understand that the buyer has a much longer, more complex decision processes (e.g. Marketing Automation is a fit for any size B2B company, plus, Account-Based Marketing Automation is additionally available for companies who receive 80% of their revenue from 20% of their big customers/deals.)
  4. But Watch the Gap!! Technology can significantly enable, or disastrously prevent, Sales and Marketing Alignment. Seamless, integrated sales + marketing strategies can increase revenues and profit by 20%+ annually and greatly improve customer experience. Separate and independent functional strategies, processes and technology only widen the gap between the two functions:

Sales professionals know how to sell, but have probably never held a professional marketing position, so they do not understand email, social, brand, website, and search marketing tactics and strategies.

Marketing professionals know how to do marketing, but most have never held a professional sales position or if they did it was at best for a couple of years, so they never understood the impact to personal cash flow and career when weekly/monthly assigned quotas were missed, so do not know how to convert strangers into repeat customers.

Sales and Marketing have great difficulty effectively collaborating, particularly when functional strategies need to be adjusted. Simply passing leads from Marketing to Sales is not Alignment, and acting cooperatively is not collaboration. Selecting the right strategies and technologies can help close the gap and get alignment.

So what are some of the key trends that Small Medium Enterprises need to be concerned about?

What should we do as a next step? How can we make decisions that bring us clarity and traction?

Dave has prepared a simplified summary of key trends and starting point for us to consider:

  1. Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) integrated with the Sales Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Databases, are creating the basis of a company-wide revenue system. In the past few years Marketing Automation has been used to passing “leads” automatically to Sales. Some leads turn into revenue, but about 80% of these leads just waste Sales time. When Marketing focuses on just attracting leads, and Sales focuses on just closing deals, the 21st century customer is left to figure out who to work with on their own, (i.e. self-educated buyers leverage internet and social information). The successful marketers are doing the following:
    1. Marketing is measured on the number of Marketing-generated leads that appeared on the Sales forecast, that were won and lost by Sales, and that generated real revenue, not just the number of “leads” created. (This means that Sales can more readily use Marketing content throughout each stage of the selling process).
    2. Sales is more receptive to Marketing because Marketing is focused more on moving the prospect throughout the entire buyer journey, not just in the lead identification stage. (It improves consistent customer experience)
    3. Content Marketing and Personalization provide self-educating buyers with lots of compelling information that aligns to them personally and to their company’s purchasing process. (Marketing and Sales can collaborate on building an accurate target buyer profile and developing the right content for them)
    4. Social Media Marketing Automation and Mobile-ready Marketing platforms, to help cover more social platforms with less resource and appeal to 90% of buyers that use mobile platforms. NB: Marketing still seems to have difficulty saying “no” when it comes to more social media, more marketing technology, or more advertising. They still measure ROMI (Return On Marketing Investment), not ROI (Return On company Investment)
    5. Progressive Profiling and Nurturing Marketing techniques help convert prospects into Sales-ready leads by using Marketing techniques that automatically send articles and messages to buyers moving through their decision process.
    6. Get the above basics right, then predictive lead scoring can improve the quality of leads, marketing attribution can properly give credit to the most effective campaign/channel/content that had the best ROI for the company, and everyone has a vested interest to ensure CRM data is accurate.
  2. Sales Acceleration and CRM. The CRM is becoming the database and “record of revenue truth”. In the past few decades Sales Acceleration software focused more on sales “efficiency” and management oversight, which unfortunately resulted in salespeople with just 39% of their week actually available for selling. Fortunately, the focus is now becoming more about sales productivity and not wasting selling time when it can be avoided. Here’s what progressive sales leaders are adding to their existing or future CRMs:
    1.  Pipeline Management which displays and structures data into visible sales cycle stages that mirror the buyer’s purchasing stages. This structure improves salespeople’s efficiency and forecast accuracy, allows Sales managers to dynamically update the Sales process with team best practices, provides Sales Managers with a highly effective coaching platform, enables Marketing to use the same Buyer decision process as Sales, and enables Marketing to share content within each Sales stage when it is actually needed by the rep (reducing information overload).
    2.  Incentive Compensation Management which enables management to not only reward quota achievement, but effectively motivate the right behaviors that will lead to increased future sales with more reliable forecasts. Marketing and Product Management could be a lot more effective with product launches and value based pricing approaches with a similar team-based motivational and reward approach.
    3. Social Selling Platform to help salespeople effectively use targeted social platforms to research and contact potential targeted prospects. This is most effective if Social Media Marketing and Sales Selling are jointly focused in their efforts.
    4. Automated or technology-assisted proposal and quote generators to provide more available selling time and less administrative errors.
  3. Small Medium Business is becoming the David against the Big Bad Corporate Goliaths. The key weakness of Big Companies becomes quite obvious when it comes to re-aligning the company to its evolving target buyers, re-aligning Sales and Marketing to the company’s evolving revenue strategy, and leveraging technology. More technology is not the solution. They are just too big to constantly change and be agile. In contrast, the executives in Small Medium Business are more attuned to their customers, do not have huge independent Sales and Marketing functions, and can’t afford to buy technology and hope it provides ROI. SMEs have a competitive advantage, should they choose to exercise it.
    1. Aligning Sales and Marketing to its evolving target buyers does not require major organizational re-engineering. It’s an evolution, not revolution.
    2. Empowering Collaboration between Sales and Marketing is easier to initiate if done correctly with the right “common objectives” and additional “team motivation”. A successful implementation will create the foundation for better collaboration between the various Marketing groups (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, advertising, lead generation, collateral, etc). , collaboration between the various Sales groups (i.e. inside sales, Sales/business development reps, field reps, channel reps, account managers), collaboration across the product launch teams (i.e. product management/marketing, product service/engineering, product sales, product marketing, etc.
    3. Aligning Sales and Marketing strategies into an integrated, highly cost-effective, high-growth revenue strategy is less arduous because current functional initiatives can be leveraged across the company: Pipeline Marketing + Pipeline Sales + Pipeline Coaching/Management, Content Marketing and Sales Enablement, Social Media Marketing + Social Selling, Marketing Automation + Sales Acceleration + CRM, Sales Compensation + Marketing Compensation + Team Compensation, Revenue and ROI (sales + profit).

While there will be more technologies on the horizon for dealing with effective Sales + Marketing Strategies, Sales + Marketing Techniques and Sales + Marketing Technologies for the Small Medium Business and Big Business to exploit, smart company leaders, especially SME leaders, know that they have to move from confusion and indecision, to being motivated leaders and change enablers who choose their technology wisely to serve their sales and marketing strategies and not the other way around.


(This article was also included in the Barrett Sales Trends 2016 Report and published on LinkedIn)

About David Hubbard

David Hubbard is Marketing Outfield’s CEO and Chief Revenue Growth Consultant with deep experience leading Marketing, Sales and Product Management teams. He has helped both private and public companies grow by 25-50% per year by delivering Chief Marketing Officer / Chief Sales Officer fractional, interim and project consulting services. Start accelerating your profitable revenue growth today! Request a Complimentary Revenue Growth Consultation.