I’m pleased to share some smart advice from Kathryn Roy, Managing Partner at Precision Thinking, a consulting company that addresses three key areas for B2B sales & marketing teams — primary research, strategy, and sales enablement. She’s worked with some of the most successful B2B companies including IBM, Avid, CA, Constant Contact, and Lotus, and has published in HBS Working Knowledge, MarketingProfs, and Mass High Technology. In fact, her article Seven Infectious Diseases of B2B Marketing — and Their Cures is currently rated #1 on MarketingProfs. (Note: if you’re not a MarketingProfs member, you can also access the article here.)
True story: A marketing initiative triples sales conversion rates from 3% to 9% and sales yawns.
Is this believable? In multiple companies over $100 M in sales this did happen. Marketing honed it’s lead scoring program. Conversion rates improved. But direct sales was not impressed.
Is this part of the reason there’s a divide between sales and marketing — or a result of that divide?
This is just human behavior. We do something nice for someone and we assume they value what we did, but that is often not the case.
Companies have learned not to make this assumption with their customers. Successful companies look for opportunities to remind customers of the value they receive, whether it’s a reminder on your receipt of how much you saved at the grocery store year-to-date or a B2B vendor stopping in to review ROI with a big client.
There’s a lesson here for marketing to use with sales. Don’t assume sales will recognize the value of what you did on their own. Instead:
- Make sure you have agreed on a reasonable target for success in advance with sales. Share the current conversion rate and ask what higher # would they agree would indicate success. If they pick a wildly unreasonable number, share industry benchmarks and ask them what revised number they think is realistic.
- When you see an improvement, frame it appropriately. Not only translate the increase as 300% (3% to 9%), but complete the calculation. How much improved revenue performance and commissions did this equate to?
We’re so strapped for time that often we assume salespeople will do the math in their heads. Better to treat sales the way sales should treat customers and prospects. Help them set realistic goals and connect the dots to help them recognize the value they achieved.
Read more from Kathryn at her blog www.precisionthinking.com/blog.