As a business person, would you agree that “maximizing” your sales revenue is important? If it is, you need to make certain you understand who is in charge of managing the “buyer’s journey”, because if you don’t manage it, you will lose prospects customers and revenue.
As technology continues to take over more and more business processes, it has had a tremendous effect on how customers search for and find us. Recent studies have confirmed that buyers today are often 70% of the way through the “buyer’s journey” (http://bit.ly/tvENtn) before they engage the salesperson. This means your marketing process needs to become focused on delivering relevant information, rather than simply creating awareness.
This means the prospect moves much further down the sales (process) funnel before engaging a sales person. This also means that marketing has a much deeper role to play in developing the relationship with the buyer prior to sales engagement. Marketing has become much more important than CEO’s used to believe. Unfortunately, many marketing managers either have not yet figured this out or they have figured it out, but don’t know how to get the CEOs attention.
The sales organization typically does not want to give (funnel) ground to the marketing folks because the relationship between these two groups has been in conflict for years. Likewise, we are finding sales manager’s who don’t want to give up this position either. They often have the CEOs ear because sales are the lifeblood of a company. Companies today are bleeding however. The number of sales people not making quota has dramatically increased and prospects are being lost because they cannot get the information they need to select you as a supplier.
There is no time or place any longer for internal arguments between sales and marketing and their respective roles. There is no place left for complaining about the quality of the leads (from sales) and the quality of the selling process (from marketing). It is time to become aligned and jointly engaged in the process that delivers a “customer”. This situation also means that management of the process must be shared by the sales manager and the marketing manager and in time we will begin to see the new role of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) take the place of these two positions.
The CRO will be someone who has worn both a marketing hat and a sales hat in their career. They will need to fully understand the new shape of the “buyer’s journey”. They will need to be able to lead both teams and meld them into one over time. In large companies, the CRO will have sales and marketing managers reporting to him/her instead of the CEO. In smaller companies the role of CRO will allow the business to operate with separate managers and in fact may reduce the cost of sales. Finding people with the right skill set may be a challenge.
If you are a sales manager or a marketing manager today, I suggest you start trying to understand this paradigm shift in the buyer’s behavior. Further I suggest you attempt to work more closely with your counter point in the other department so that you begin capturing more prospects as they search for your solution. Finally I suggest you position both teams into a single partnership focused on the end result of capturing more revenue. While you are doing this, you will be getting the background and education required to become the new CRO. If you don’t take the initiative to do this, you will soon meet the new CRO when he is hired.
If you truly want to “maximize” your sales revenue, you can begin by understanding your “buyer’s journey”, and reassessing your sales and marketing team’s process based on the discussion above. If you are not sure how to do this or don’t have the time, there are professionals available to guide you through the process, confirm your present impressions and provide a roadmap for change.
Please let me know if I can be of assistance.