There are very few products that hit the market running and pull in the revenues that the organization had hoped for, most often because the company failed to use go-to-market correctly. While most of these organizations have many of the necessary marketing elements in place, few put together an effective go-to-market strategy that will help them succeed.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
One of the biggest hurdles an organization faces is the transistion of a product from development to marketing, with the first step being handing over the development to the SME’s. The SME’s ideally should have been involved in every step of the development process so that they have total knowledge of the product. They are then tasked with using their vast knowledge of the industry and the technology used to drive the new offering forward. SME’s are used in the field at a number of different strategic conversation level, most notably at the executive level. They also make themselves available as spokespeople for the products. They will talk to the media, analysts, influencers, and will even engage in social media conversations with the buying public. Since SME’s have such a great understanding of what goes on in the market, they are often responsible for guiding the development and implementation of an offering, as well as aiding in addition of prospects.
The Marketing Blueprint
It’s the marketing blueprint that is responsible for driving customer acquisition. The transfer of knowledge from development to marketing is done via Industry Marketing, Product Marketing, or Solution Marketing. This is not something that is clearly understood within an organization, though. The goal of the blueprint is to boost lead generation, lead management, and the sales process, making it repeatable as opposed to a one-off process. Think of the blueprint in terms of a police sketch in that the more detailed the information provided, the better chance there is of the police getting their man. When applied to business, the more detailed the marketing blueprint is, the easier it will be for the sales team to put together content and messaging that is completely relevant to the offering.
The blueprint contains information that takes a project from development to marketing. It usually includes:
- A plan that is put together by working with Product Management, GM’s, SME’s, and sales, all with the goal of creating effective campaigns.
- The building of messaging and value proposition
- The communication of key use cases
- The identification of events that help break the ice for a solution
- A description of the target audience using target account profiles
- A description of the characteristics of those involved in the purchase decision
- A clear outline of perceived value
- A description of who buys and why. Development of the SWOT for the industry
- The positioning of vendors and a view of the competitive landscape
- The market penetration strategy
- A summary of market trends, including opportunities and potential challenges
- Packaging and pricing
Global Programs and Campaign Development
Any good campaign development process should include an integrated lead generation plan that will help deliver a large number of qualified leads. There are many steps involved in the process, each of which has to be executed properly. In order for that to happen, strategy and coordination across all of the groups involved in the process is absolutely critical. Perhaps the best way to start is to put together a demand creation plan. This means focusing on more than just generating leads, with the ultimate goal being to build a pipeline of qualified opportunity that drives revenue.
Global campaigns are made up of a number of different operational pieces that are essential to every campaign. Those pieces include target audience, message, offer, follow-up, metrics, and learning. Campaigns should also include themes that are geographically relevant. What that means is providing different geographies the ability to assemble custom programs that are specifically geared to the needs of their particular region.
Made popular in the valley during the 1990’s, Field Marketing refers to the need to create an interface between sales and marketing in the organization, so that revenues and customer needs for separate regions are clearly communicated. The bad news is that the function of Field Marketing has been altered by many organizations, applying the term to regional sales teams who deliver event planning. The organizations that operate Filed Marketing the best run their marketing plan in reverse by basically reverse engineering the specific revenue needs for every geographic area. That includes a complete analysis of the revenue opportunities (new and existing businesses, maintenance and service), average selling price and sales cycle, targets, and more. Those organizations are also well aware of exactly which companies operate in that area and what their business practices tend to be. Simply put, Field Marketing should be used to deliver a customized global program to each geographic area where there is opportunity, whilst also making sure that the brand remains consistent in each region.
Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)
SDR’s play an essential role in the demand management process by delivering qualified opportunity that is highly likely to close. It’s critical that the demand creation process have an SDR function included. The role of the SDR should be included in every stage of the go-to-market process, from marketing blueprint all the way to the sales enablement phase. The reason that has to happen is so that the SDR can respond to prospects at any stage of the process and be able to provide value no matter when that call happens. That doesn’t mean that the SDR has to be able to go into excruciating detail on each call, but they do need to show that they know enough about each stage of the buying process in order to adequately answer the questions put to them. It also helps if they have access to the next part of the buying process so that they can move the prospect onto that next phase seamlessly.
Fully developing a qualified opportunity that fits the sales forecast takes time and a fair amount of money. Despite that, the sensible approach is to develop a comprehensive, systematic plan that can take every opportunity to a closed sale. The best way to achieve this is to make sure that the sales enablement team is given the task of supporting the sales team during each phase of the sales process. Their main task becomes making sure that the sales team is made aware of and uses all available resources. The sales enablement team also keeps detailed records of what resources were used at each stage of the sales process, noting the success or failure of each. They will then use those results to remove those resources that aren’t working, while replacing them with new tools that they believe will be more effective. Listed below are some specific tasks taken on by the sales enablement team.
* Work hand in hand with the sales reps to help them turn qualified opportunities into closed won sales. This is done by providing tools and resources during every phase of the sales process.
* Assist sales reps by delivering digital and social content that will provide value to the lead in every phase of the sales process.
* Take part in discovery calls and the qualification process so that a clear understanding of the customer environment can be gleaned. This will also help compare you offering with that of the competitors that are already in the market.
* Create content heavy PowerPoint presentations that can be used during the sales cycle
* Be able to talk to industry audiences and provide them with the clear benefits and features that come by choosing your offering.
* Be available to assist in responding to RFI/RFP documents
* Perform competitive analysis
* Do whatever it takes to assist marketing, which might include taking part in trade shows, case studies, delivering blog posts and social media content, and any other marketing events.
It’s fair to say that revenue generation is the most difficult challenge facing any organization. There are so many moving parts involved in the process, organization will often miss or under fund one or more. Even when they have a direct sales team, they will often make the mistake of providing enough funding, but failing to allocate it properly. Put in its simplest terms, making sure that the marketing is organized in a way that will support the go-to-market process is the best way to ensure market penetration and increase revenue.
For demand creation, demand management or go-to-market planning templates please visit www.vpmarketingondemand.com.