Category: Marketing

Don’t Ignore the Last Mile of Your Sales Process

sales process and alignment

The “last mile” is a phrase that can trace its origins to the communications industry and describes, “the final leg of the telecommunications networks delivering communications connectivity to retail customers, the part that actually reaches the customer.

It can often be a bandwidth bottleneck as the network tries to deliver communication services to the customer. This last mile wouldn’t be possible without the network in place, but ignoring it jeopardizes the customer experience. How does this apply to a sales process? In a very similar way, actually.

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How to Prove Your B2B Marketing Is Actually Working

how to prove your b2b marketing is working

They’re common questions asked in executive team meetings, board meetings, and even in marketing staff meetings:

“How do we know our marketing is working?”

“Is the expense worth it?”

“Is the investment delivering the results we expected?”

Marketing is a way to scale a business and requires an investment to do so that rarely pays off instantly. Good B2B marketing is built on a strong foundation of brand, messaging, and positioning that is then driven into the market through various tactics, ultimately paying off in sales funnel activity and customer wins.

There are many steps to the process, especially in complex B2B sales environments where there are many decision makers, lots of reviews, and frequent gaps between requirements and what is offered.

While there are many metrics that highlight performance and investment return to choose from, the two key measures that will reveal if your B2B marketing is working are:

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CIO Magazine: Getting a Handle on Marketing Technology

CIO Magazine: Getting a Handle on Marketing Technology

Interesting article from Tom Kaneshige at CIO magazine highlighting Highspot and how we score content based on its performance in the sales cycle.

Highspot: Every marketing tech conference will have a theme on content, whether it’s creating original content, aggregating content or amplifying earned content. Highspot, which recently raised $9.6 million in a Series A round, has built a content-scoring engine. It looks at a company’s marketing collateral, such as PowerPoint slides, case studies, data sheets, brochures, call scripts and battle cards, and analyzes how well they performed.

Judging and scoring a piece of content’s performance is tricky, because it’s unclear what the content’s role might have played in, say, a sale.

“This attribution problem is real,” says Highspot co-founder and CEO Robert Wahbe. “One of the ways we try to solve this is to shorten the time horizon. Did this brochure help close a 9-month deal? Hard to say. But did this brochure move to a conversation or proof-of-concept? That’s better.”

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The 4 Pillars of the Sales Technology Stack

sales technology stack

Companies have made significant investments to date in tools and technologies to enable their marketing and sales processes. Usually, the core of this investment is a customer relationship management (CRM) system deployed with high expectations of streamlined selling and new insights. Unfortunately, CRM systems are rarely fully utilized and often fall short of these expectations. Shouldn’t sales technology actually help salespeople sell?

Rather than become a chore to update and merely a means to provide activity and pipeline reports to management, why not make an investment in something that actually drives and optimizes sales activity?

Companies need to embrace the sales technology stack to truly take advantage of technology-enabled selling.

The concept of a sales stack has been around for a while with sales expert Jim Keenan sharing a great post called The Sales Stack back in 2012 on his A Sales Guy blog. His seven layers include both enabling technology as well as rewards, recognition, and compensation programs. Max Altschuler published a more recent take on it on the Sales Hacker blog titled Welcome to the Era of the Sales Stack. He maps the stack to each stage of the sales lifecycle and highlights some great tools to enable the various pieces of it.

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3 Things the Marketing Team Can Teach Sales Reps

3 things the marketing team can teach sales reps for improved marketing and sales alignment

This post is a follow up to our recent 3 Things Sales Reps Can Teach the Marketing Team and continues to reinforce a core theme around sales and marketing alignment.  Different functional groups with different incentives and reporting structures are ripe for miscommunication and incorrect assumptions.  Creating a common denominator based on shared purpose and an integrated view of the customer lifecycle from contact to close goes a long way towards creating and keeping alignment between sales and marketing.Continue reading article ›

3 Things Sales Reps Can Teach the Marketing Team

3 things sales reps can teach the marketing team for improved sales and marketing alignment

Communication can make or break an organization, and having a direct line between the marketing team and sales representatives is essential to truly understand customer needs. Beyond hearing the “voice of the customer,” having sales and marketing alignment helps to constantly refine and improve message, content, and programs focused on customer acquisition.

Great marketers know that constant and ad hoc conversations with sales representatives generates insights not seen from “top of funnel” activities like awareness building and lead generation.  Understanding middle funnel and, more importantly, end of funnel dynamics and issues is key to building a well oiled sales and marketing machine.Continue reading article ›

Sales and Marketing Alignment Is Still a Problem

sales and marketing alignment is still a problem

“Sales and marketing alignment” is not a new problem for businesses. Even though the discussion of the topic has intensified over the last several years as new technologies emerged to address it, it remains a challenge for B2B organizations.

Driving this point home are the results of a recent survey published on Marketingprofs that highlights that only 35% of salespeople are satisfied or very satisfied with the marketing team.

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A Sales Qualification Framework for Any Business

sales qualification framework

Building out and deploying a proper sales qualification framework is an essential component for both sales and marketing alignment as well as operating an efficient customer acquisition engine.

All leads are not created equally and all sales inquiries are not worthy of sales pursuit.  The activity of selling is not near as important as the accomplishment – closed deals at attractive economics.  If it costs too much to close a customer or they don’t stick around because of mismatched expectations related to the product or service sold then your sales funnel and customer acquisition efforts are performing below the minimum threshold.Continue reading article ›

Agenda for the Next Meeting Between Your CMO and VP Sales

Build marketing and sales alignment with this agenda

It doesn’t matter if you are a sales or marketing professional — to truly do your job correctly, there must be constant communication and alignment between the sales and marketing groups.

This can easily get out of whack as these two functional groups are compensated differently and have, at times, conflicting objectives.  According the Corporate Executive Board, 87% of the terms sales and marketing use to describe each other are negative.

The best way to proactively address any friction and increase overall organization performance is a routine meeting between the executive in charge of each group — the CMO and Vice President of Sales.Continue reading article ›

3 Ways to Accelerate Sales Pipeline Performance

accelerate sales pipeline performance

Building and maintaining a high-performance customer acquisition engine is top of the list for every company. How you identify, attract, convert, and retain new customers is a constantly changing puzzle that is a top priority for sales and marketing professionals.

To accelerate sales pipeline performance in an effort to achieve this customer acquisition nirvana requires three related but different building blocks.

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