It’s an age-old discussion that businesses around Australia grapple with daily: when revenue figures are up, is it the marketing team who generates the leads or the sales team who converted the leads who should claim the return on investment?
We’ve all been there when the quarterly figures are in and it’s looking good – the company is above budget and target and so the CEO sends a congratulatory email to the whole company. Invariably (not both and never together), the sales team or the marketing team will go out for drinks. It’s common that both teams will claim victory and rarely credit the efforts of the other.
Perhaps this way of thinking needs a shake up.
Before we get into a new way of approaching sales and marketing, perhaps we should clarify roles. The marketing team are trying to cast a spell; they are storytellers who want to throw a net over the right audience and hold their attention until their fascination with your brand and product is piqued. They have testimonials, creative descriptions of features, product benefits and engagement techniques like competitions or events to use in their bag of tricks. The sales team want to wake people from their spell and prompt them into action – one singular action – to spend money. They have questions, needs, market knowledge, future scenarios and more questions to help them work out where the “yes I’ll buy it” button is.
There are an incredible amount of old tropes about marketing and sales. Some say marketing is the “pull” side of the business and sales is “push”. Some say marketing is art and sales is science. Others say that sales people don’t think beyond two weeks cycles and marketers plan too far in advance.
There is a better way of thinking. It’s not revolutionary and yet few companies truly do it. It’s called Customer First Thinking. This is where everyone in the organisation has KPIs, incentives and leadership showing them how to behave in a way that puts thinking about and thinking like customers first.
To be a truly customer led business, you need to think like a potential client before even putting together a lead generation program. Can your team answer these questions:
- What is the precise point in time we are referring to a lead as a conversion? How does that change our relationship with the client?
- Do we know how long to nurture a lead before we park it? In other words, when do we start to become annoying to customers – which wastes money and time?
- Which roles in a particular industry have final sign off and approval?
- Which industries take the longest to onboard and have the least onboarding issues?
All these questions will have a profound impact on where to find that client, how to reach them, how to engage them and how to convert them. Without this thinking and the right answers the true ROI of your lead generation program may never be known.
We find that clients who drive a collaborative approach to cohesive lead generation, nurturing and conversion journey are the most successful. Everyone in both teams must know which list of leads is being delivered this month, how soon the leads should trickle through, how to update the CRM system and how to objectively discuss the right approach for next time. This is sales and marketing working side by side for revenue success.
As they say, success has many fathers but failure is lonely cousin at the wedding banquet table.
About the Author
Martin Soley is Group General Manager Data Services and has over a decades experience across data quality, analytics and related technology in ANZ and abroad. Martin’s strategic insight and expertise drives commercial outcomes for DCA’s varied clients.