Taking away a marketing manager’s excuses!

Posted by James Obermayer on Jan 21, 2014 8:11:00 AM

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I was sitting in a meeting of marketing and operations people when I worked at Inquiry Handling Services (long ago scooped up by Harte Hanks). I listened to excuses about a series of initiatives we were undertaking. The different department heads were telling everyone why they were not delivering on their commitments. It was at that moment I learned an important lesson: there are two reasons why someone doesn’t want to do something:

  1. They don’t know how.
  2. They don’t want to.
Why it matters
And the two are often tied to each other. Which brings me to the topic for this month’s article, which follows up on the December topic entitled: "Taking away a salesperson’s excuses," in which I wrote about the lack of sales lead follow-up. This month we tackle the issue of Marketing not delivering on an ROI responsibility.

I believe I have heard all of the excuses for Marketing’s failure to measure the ROI for marketing efforts. Actually, this list is shorter than the one for salespeople’s excuses for not following up on sales leads. Here are some of the justifications.
  1. Management has not asked for an ROI on Marketing.
  2. I don’t know where to start.
  3. We don’t sell direct, so I don’t know where to start.
  4. Salespeople don’t use the CRM system, so what can I do?
  5. Sales management refuses to enforce lead follow-up.
  6. We sell direct, but nobody closes out the leads.
  7. I don’t manage the people who control the final step in reporting: salespeople.

Looks like an almost impossible task, primarily because Marketing must rely on so many others. It isn’t the sale that’s the issue; it’s closing out the sale in the CRM system. (Don’t have a CRM System? Get one and read this.)

It is true that "Nothing Happens until Somebody Sells Somethingi," but I venture to say that in most cases in today’s sales environment, nothing happens until someone in Marketing creates a qualified prospect. When that happens, and the connection occurs between the prospect and the salesperson, a sale occurs 15-25% of the time. But connecting the end result with the marketing function that found the prospect (and caused them to enter the marketplace or reveal their purpose) is sometimes difficult.

That last sentence is an excuse. A bad excuse used by thousands of marketing managers. Ashton Kutcher said, "I don't believe that old cliché that good things come to those who wait. I think good things come to those who want something so bad they can't sit still."

So if you want to prove the ROI for marketing you’ll find the pathway.

  1. If management has not asked for an ROI on Marketing it’s most likely because they don’t know it can happen.

  2. If you don’t know where to start, start with the CRM system. It might surprise you to see what’s in there already.

  3. If you don’t sell direct, call prospects and ask if they bought your product (this is a ‘Did You Buy Study’). Get 100 prospect answers and be amazed at what you will learn.

  4. If the salespeople don’t use the CRM system, you may have to retrain them, embarrass them into using it, or get their manager to make them use it. This probably means you’ll eliminate a bunch of spreadsheets that they don’t want to use anyway.

  5. If sales management refuses to enforce lead follow-up, start with a research report that follows up inquiries and demonstrates the percent who buy overall. Also state the follow-up percentage (those who recall hearing from your salespeople). This usually gets the sales manager moving in to enforce follow-up, which will result in more sales.

  6. We sell direct but nobody closes out the leads. This is a combination of begging, pleading, and embarrassing them, and getting sales management to see that best interests are served if the salespeople record the end result.

  7. Just because the salespeople don’t work for you directly doesn’t mean you can’t guilt, prompt, plead and motivate them to report on the inquiries’ final disposition.

Of course I didn’t cover one of the obvious requirements. You must have a CRM system to make the whole reporting process automatic and believable. Marketing automation also helps in this process.

Brendan Francis said, "If you greatly desire something, have the
guts to stake everything on obtaining it."

If you want to learn how to prove the ROI for marketing lead generation, you will. You’ll find a way. If you don’t, you won’t, and it probably means you are changing jobs every few years.


James ObermayerJames Obermayer, Executive Director and CEO of the Sales Lead Management Association and President of Sales Leakage Consulting is a regular guest blogger with ViewPoint.




This famous quote is attributed to a number of people including Peter Drucker, IBM's Thomas Watson, and Arthur "Red" Motley, former publisher of "Parade" Magazine. Source: Answers

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