Taking the Sales Approach to Marketing – Part 2
During my recent “thought leadership” presentation for Women In Revenue, I was able to hone in on how my Sales background helped me challenge the status quo of Marketing. Specifically, I unearthed my successes, failures, and lessons along the road to CMO, which gave me some unique insight.
In part one, we broke down how taking a Sales approach to Marketing helps you focus on the right accounts, avoid single-threaded leads, and create a great customer experience. Now, let’s dive into how it can empower you to connect with buyers before the competition, be proactive in tackling roadblocks, and get your team excited about winning.
Understand the Importance of Timing
Sales is all about the hustle—and the key is getting into deals early. If an account just bought and is deploying your competitor’s solution, you’re in trouble.
The challenge for modern Sales teams is being able to engage with buyers who want to hold onto their anonymity through most of the buying journey. But, despite prospects hoping to keep us at bay, the early bird still catches the worm. According to Forrester Research, an astonishing 74 percent of all deals go to the provider who helps the prospect “establish the buying vision.” So, even though prospects want to avoid talking to Sales as long as possible, we still have to be first to engage. They usually appreciate it down the road anyway.
Now, marketers have the ability to know exactly when an account is going to move in-market so they can be poised and ready for when that happens. Where was this when I was in Sales?! But seriously, being first to the scene gives marketers a huge leg up. With tools that ACTUALLY predict and know a prospect’s timing, you can get ahead of the competition and engage with buyers sooner—resulting in higher win rates and bigger deal size.
And, because you’re able to engage at the right time with the right content, your prospects also have a better, more valuable experience. It’s a win/win!
Find the Red
In Sales, we create deal reviews to determine the probability of successfully closing a deal. And, the best deal reviews are littered with what we call “red flags”—or everything that could possibly go wrong. As a Sales leader, I love the red! I taught my reps that bringing the “red” forward was a GOOD thing. Red means you’re thinking ahead. Red means we can look to fix it before it happens. And, the more granular you can get in identifying your red flags, the better.
To tackle the red in Marketing, you need to see a 360-view of account behavior—progression, personas engaged and accounts coming in-market. Today, with AI and Big Data, marketers have the ability to shine a light on this previously anonymous account behavior to uncover valuable information about buyers for a holistic look at their journey. With this level of insight, you can get to work attacking each red flag specifically.
Sales is like a competitive sport—sellers want to win. And, creating a competitive atmosphere in Sales starts with clearly defining a highly-visible compensation plan. Naturally, I wanted to continue the sales mentality with my team when I first started in Marketing (hence my Sales approach to Marketing). I thought, why should Marketing miss out on the fun of competing, winning and making money? But, when I established quotas and a commission plan for marketing, the biggest pushback I got was “their work doesn’t directly translate—it’s just PR and content, not closing deals.”
To me, that was a total head-scratcher. Of course it translates!
The majority of the B2B buying journey takes place in what we at 6sense have dubbed the “dark funnel”— the industry conversations and third-party information already consumed when a prospect arrives at your website. Luckily, you can easily track this anonymous activity in your ABM platform, which offers full visibility into where a prospect is in their decision process and how they’re engaging things like PR, content, and advertising creative. With critical data, you can forgo traditional business objectives and target real funnel metrics the entire team gets bonused on.
Now, that’s an ROI strategy your team can get excited about!