My guest today is Jim Dickie. Jim is Managing Partner at CSO Insights, a research firm that specializes in benchmarking how companies are leveraging people, process, and technology to optimize the way they market to, sell to, and service customers.
Jim has over 29 years of sales and marketing management experience. He began his career with IBM and Sterling Software and then went on to launch two successful software companies. Jim is also an author and often-requested keynote speaker at sales management, CRM and E-Business conferences.
Below, you can read highlights from our discussion or use the links to start the video from different parts of the conversation.
Many elements must come together to create quality leads, and among these should be departmental transparency and communication. In this interview, Jim highlights the problems between sales and marketing departments and necessary changes to improve communication and increase close rates.
Lead Generation—Don't Just Turn Up the Volume
Click to start video at this point—Higher Revenue Targets Despite Uncertain Economy. After completing his company's 19th annual Sales Performance Optimization Study, Jim said it revealed that 94 percent of the companies surveyed increased their revenue target for 2013. He found this metric amazing because of the uncertain economy. While some industries are doing better, other industries are not doing so well. This is why the 94 percent is so shocking. Interesting enough, 40 percent of these companies raised their target by more than 15 percent, which raises the question of what's going to be different this year that's going to allow sales teams to hit those new targets?
Better communication and transparency. Jim recently wrote, "Enhancing lead generation means, not just turning up the volume, but also maintaining and increasing the quality of leads." When asked how companies can improve in this area he explained that he sees things improving. A lead generation study conducted by CSO Insights revealed that companies have now begun to have more departmental transparency—sales and marketing are communicating with each other. Past studies indicated that only 20 percent of companies had a common definition of a lead, but newer studies have shown that over 45 percent now do, indicating that companies are sitting down and having that kind of dialog.
Analysis of Buying Cycles and Stakeholders. Companies must analyze customers' behavior as well as background to determine what types of customers are more likely to buy their products or purchase their service. This makes a more successful marketing campaign. This way the company spends more money marketing to people more likely to purchase a product or service, which means generating more quality leads.
Process Improvement—Use Metrics, Not Hunches
Click to start video at this point—When I asked Jim if he spotted any disruptive trends this year, he stated that overall he sees a climate of camaraderie. The thing companies really have to start dealing with is metrics, not hunches.
Not Enough Leads. Sales teams say they never have enough leads, but is that really the case? The metrics would make transparent what type of leads are going to sales and whether or not they're being accepted by the sales team as a sales lead. It will also shed some insight on whether or not those leads dropped out before speaking to a sales representative and it should explain why. We should definitely start analyzing the metrics so we can be more effective in closing sales and generating better leads.
Accurate Closing Forecasts. Although some sales reps claim that they close 60 to 80 percent of qualified leads, the Sales Performance Optimization Study showed that on average there is only a 46.5 percent close rate on forecasted deals. It's important to look at the trends. For example, what are the trends of leads being accepted by sales? It should be trending up if marketing is doing a better job of understanding what sales is looking for.
Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast
Click to start video at this point—Jim raised the issue of culture. His favorite Peter Drucker quote is, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." If a company has a marketing 2.0 organization generating leads for a sales 2.0 organization, but has sales 1.0 management it's a recipe for failure. Companies need to be more customer- and solution-centric. What companies sell isn't key anymore. It's all about how you engage.
You can connect with Jim and learn more about CSO Insights by visiting their website:
CSO Insights: www.csoinsights.com
The next PowerViews will be with Jamie Turner of The 60 Second Marketer. Stay Tuned.
By Dan McDade