I’m an avid reader of Bob Apollo’s “Accelerating Revenue Growth” blog. Bob is the founder of Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, a UK firm that engages with B2B companies to improve their sales and marketing strategy and drive revenue.
He does a great job of clearly presenting, assessing and recommending solutions for today’s pressing sales lead management challenges. From the customer buying cycle and lead nurturing to sales and marketing alignment, lead quality vs. lead quantity, and effective sales processes, he consistently zeros in on root causes and identifies key actions that help close more deals and improve revenue results.
I really enjoyed one of Bob’s recent posts, Six Strategies for B2B Sales and Marketing in 2012, in which he shares comments from his strategic partner, Hugh Macfarlane, founder and CEO of the B2B marketing consultancy, MathMarketing.
I encourage you to visit and explore the entire post in which Hugh suggests that leaders should adopt these six sales and marketing strategies in 2012:
1. Massively shift costs out of your combined Sales and Marketing engine.
2. Aggressively focus Sales’ efforts onto only those deals which can close.
3. Increase visibility into your engine, and use it to stop low-yield programs.
4. Forget about branding.
5. Churn low performers and lift the skills of others.
6. Outsource marketing.
As I noted in my comments in response to the post, I am amazed at the waste I find in many sales and marketing organizations. B2B marketing teams are in a state of paralysis—so risk averse that they are buying into useless pay-for-performance options that exacerbate the problems Hugh talks about. B2B sales teams have to be focused so that they can be held accountable. Right now, the average company is closing 6 - 7% of leads generated and less than 60% of field sales forces make quota.
Hugh’s sales and marketing strategy recommendations are right on target. Shifting marketing metrics from a focus on the number of leads to deeper-in-the-funnel close rates will correctly prioritize lead quality. And offloading mid- and long-term lead nurturing to a dedicated group—like an outsourced lead nurturing team—will focus sales efforts on higher-value deals more likely to close.
I encourage you take a look at Bob’s blog and subscribe—really thoughtful and accurate content that will help you realize greater return on sales and marketing investments and drive revenue for your company.
By Dan McDade