August 3rd 2011

Implementing a Value Based Sales Approach. Part 2 of 4. Marketing

A woman wearing a bikini inspects a salesman's...

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Part 1 of these posts talked about how power in the market has shifted to the buyer. (Reference Voice of the Customer Marketing by Eaman).  Thus the focus in of marketing and sales  is to learn as much as possible about the buyer’s journey.

The marketing and sales departments must work together to extract value stories to help marketing build out:

  • Agreement with sales on what is a sales ready lead (Reference: Brian Carroll)
  • Knowledge of all the stages that a buyer goes through internally prior to and during a decision to purchase  ( Reference: Sharon Drew Morgen)
  • The unique value(s) that they can demonstrate they bring to the buyer ( Reference: see how LeveragePoint can help)
  • Knowledge of what buyers find valuable from dealing with your sales force. (Have salespeople earned the right to talk to buyers?)
  • Campaigns that place the needed proof in front of the targeted buyers well before they engage with sales. (Lead your prospects to value, not a sale. Reference: Ardath Albee)
  • The changing proof needed for each stage of the buyers journey.
  • Segmented value proofs for the many different individuals participating on the buyer’s side (You deal with a committee).
  • Compelling value stories that bolster the salesman’s efforts/confidence in using a value based, not pricing based approach.

This is an investment in time and effort that builds a long term sustainable sales funnel. Research has shown that at any one time only 5% of your “suspects” are in buying mode. This leaves 95% which need to be nurtured by marketing until they raise their hand.  As I said in the first post, the buyer decides when they will interact with you.

A recent LinkedIn Answer by Ian Dainty is relevant at this time on  Who is Responsible for Generating Leads, Sales or Marketing?

Ian Dainty • Here is my two cents worth.
Because I have been in the B2B tech space for over 35 years, as a sales rep, marketer, executive and owner, I have seen all kinds of scenarios. I came from the “dialing for dollars” days, when no SMB tech company had a marketing department. The sales rep did it all.
However, after all of this time, and through years of research, executive interviews, and being in the trenches, I have been able to make some good observations that work.
If you have a company, with under $100M in revenue, then marketing’s main function should be to generate leads. (or as we used to call them – suspects). This should be done through Direct Response Marketing (DRM). DRM includes emails, letters, Social Media, PPC, advertising, etc., anything that asks a suspect to put their hands up and ask for your free content, whether that be a white paper, a free download, etc

I have seen too many marketing VP’s spend their time designing logos (seriously) as if this is going to help build a company brand. Marketing needs to bring in and nurture leads, until they are qualified by sales.
Sales should qualify leads. Unfortunately, very few sales people know how to qualify properly, and end up chasing leads for months. Hence the long sales cycle in most B2B tech companies. Please go to my blog for more information, especially “How to Stop Chasing Dead Leads” But I digress from the topic here.

Once a lead has been qualified as far as timeframe and need, and this where most qualification processes fail, then sales should take over. If it is simply a tire kicker, then marketing needs to keep nurturing.

Too many sales people spend their time either cold calling, not needed if you have at least $1M in revenue, and/or not knowing how to qualify, and chasing dead leads.

Sales should also generate leads, through three main avenues. They should be asking for referrals from clients. They should be getting testimonials for use by marketing. And more importantly, they should be generating more business in each of their current clients.

Many sales people fail on all fronts. But marketing needs to take on the lead (suspect) generation for a company.

Thanks Ian, I could not say this any better. Next what does Sales have to do to implement a value based selling approach.

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