Last year I brought my son fishing and he got frustrated when we weren’t catching anything. I explained to him that’s why we call it “fishing,” not “catching.”
When it comes to business, we are getting spoiled. After all, today’s marketing technologies automate everything from lead scoring to email communications to email signature management (yes, a company does that). Scott Brinker’s marketing technology landscape lists 1,876 vendors represented across 43 categories–it will probably double in 2016.
With all this technology, why can’t the whole process get automated? Sales reps have caught onto this automation trend and have kicked off their own mini email nurtures trying to replace real touches with automated touches. Heck, we don’t even need Sales, let’s just take a credit card for the $5K deal.
The B2B Sales process is called “selling” not “buying.” Jeff Coveney, RevEngine Marketing
I have a little secret for you: If you have a B2B Sales team, your team needs to sell. Marketing can lay down tons of air cover campaigns to set the tone, build brand and educate the prospect, but it’s the Sales person who makes the deal happen. If you don’t follow Anthony Iannarino, go do that today. Anthony covers Sales best practices daily on his blog and regularly covers how to actually sell AND provide value.
If it is necessary for you to have a product that sells itself, then you’re not a salesperson. You are an order taker. If marketing generated leads are a necessity, you have a serious challenge as a sales organization. It’s not that marketing shouldn’t generate leads. It’s that you should rely on your marketing department to open opportunities within your dream client accounts for you. Anthony Iannarino, The Sales Blog
5 Tips to Change Mindset
If you are a believer that you can’t automate everything, here are a few concepts to consider if you find your organization stuck in this “automate it” mindset.
1) Stop the Reliance on Automation (Yes, I said that).
I love efficiency building and automation as much as anyone but you can’t automate a personal touch. Your organization has to find the right balance. If you think everything can be automated, just send your significant other an “I Love You” text message for Valentines Day with an automated email. Heck, even schedule it. No need to call.
2) Build Alignment Between Sales and Marketing.
Sometimes Sales jumps in to start doing their own marketing because it doesn’t trust its own marketing department to do the job. Ouch, that hurts, but it happens. What’s worse is that Sales is wasting time automating touches when it should be focused on one-on-one relationship building.
To help build alignment, make sure to celebrate wins and build alignment with Sales. And use this simple analogy–Marketing is the air cover and Sales is the special forces. The two can work independently but they work a lot better when the two teams work in tandem.
3) Pick Up the Phone and Call.
Yes, phones still exist, so use them. According to the The Marketing Donut, 80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting. Is your organization making these calls or relying on email? Many people don’t pick up the phone, but you can’t get a hit unless you swing the bat.
4) Expect Most Leads to Stink.
A marketing qualified lead will convert to a Sale around 6% of the time based on Sirius Decisions estimates. We’ve seen similar results with our clients. By definition, 94 out of 100 leads will not turn into revenue and that’s hard for some Sales people to understand. Sorry, ready-to-buy leads don’t fall off the tree, which is why you might want to consider point number 5.
5) Develop a Lead Development Team.
According to The B2B Lead, 50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting. A lead development team can focus on one one thing–taking leads and converting them to meetings. This role helps bridge the gap between Marketing and Sales. If your experienced Sales reps start with five meetings a week, that makes closing a lot easier.
No matter how much Marketing can automate, there is no substitute for a human touch during the Sales process. If your organization has found the right balance, I’d love to hear about it. Shoot me a note or comment below.