Thu, 03 February 2011, 11:30 am
In the beginning of 2011, I have made a transition in my Interactive Marketing responsibilities. It is a shift that I have advocated for as I have tried to help elevate the value of my expertise to my company, and elevate the stature of marketing within our organization. My long term survival theory for marketing in a predominately sales organization (as opposed to engineering, manufacturing, etc) is to “get closer to the money”. This means that we need to focus our marketing activities on things that directly assist the sales team. Not that branding, marketing communications, social media, PR and the like don’t indirectly help the sales team; they do. It’s just that the more time you spend in the direct path of a sale through B2B Lead Generation and management, the more familiar you get with your sales team, the buying funnel for your customers, and better ways of adding value to the sales process. Without this as my primary goal and responsibility for my first few years, it was easy to be “disconnected from the money”
So far, my instincts have been correct. I have spent the last 3 months really diving into our CRM system – Salesforce.com. I have actually been trying to get all of the mechanics set up for how leads come in from marketing activities, get classified by sales, and ultimately get pursued for business. Much of this has to do with attempting to get the sales team and the marketing team to only use Salesforce. We are working on using it to setup and track campaign activities. When we build email lists, no more spreadsheets. It’s Salesforce queries. When we pass leads to sales, we try hard to only interact within Salesforce. So far, this has brought up more questions than answers.
- Do we have the right fields setup in Salesforce for data capture?
- Are we right to spend lots of time implementing the Leads module separate from the Contacts module?
- How exactly does a salesperson classify the many contacts at a client, when only one of them is the purchaser, but many others are the influencers?
- In an industry like staffing, where needs arise over night, is there any true sales funnel at all?
- When should a lead be assigned to our sales team for follow up?
After the campaigns go out the door, and the responses come back, I’m finding that getting in the middle of lead management is a lot of work. I actually care now whether sales is pursuing and documenting a lead that we pass them. I want to see the activities get documented so that I can track where the best leads are coming from. I want to understand the nuances of the sales relationship so that I can help formulate additional nurturing tactics to turn the lead into a sale.
This is just the beginning of my learning. It’s almost like marketing is becoming a part of the sales team. If I have learned anything so far, it’s that sales is hard work – really hard.