We left transactional sales behind in the 90s. With recurring business models like ‘as-a-service’, we need to rethink the “sales process” from the traditional vertical funnel to a bow tie funnel that recognizes the role of the post-sale customer execution in revenue realization. We need a full-funnel approach. Predictable, sustainable, and accelerated revenue performance relies increasingly on the customer realizing benefits and impacts from a product or service.
Account based marketing focuses top down on accounts rather than only lead generation.
The universe of markets and buyers are incredibly diverse and your decisions about where and whom to target can make or break your revenue performance. A company can’t be all things to all buyers in all markets. As the competitive landscape is always changing, with more players vying for prospects’ time and attention, it is vital to select markets where you can effectively compete and win then continuously segment the market to isolate specific audiences to engage at the right time and right place with the right message.
Enterprise funnel math exercises help align marketing and sales teams by zeroing in on critical funnel metrics like Sales and Marketing Qualified Inquiries (e.g. MQI) and Marketing and Sales Qualified Leads (MQL and SQL).
An enterprise funnel math model can help you identify the mix of tactics for for different funnel characteristics. For example, a sales-driven funnel might be designed with sales-led prospection activities and ABM tactics. A high volume lead gen funnel might be driven by Inbound Marketing or Paid SEM. Each funnel will have its own “DNA” and can be modeled top to bottom across deal stages to inform go-to-market strategies and budgeting.
Defining Your Funnels
A simple spreadsheet can help you produce a flexible working model that can be tailored to each company. To make it work, it is important to identify the right funnels or segments. The more granular your funnels are, the more accurate the funnel model will be – but too many funnels will add complexity. So, we typically identify 4-8 segments that represent distinct marketing and sales motions. Select segment that have a distinctive “funnel DNA” – not necessarily a P&L, or a geography segment. Often a funnel is centered around a product or service offering. Funnels can always be rolled up into geos, or P&Ls.
We develop Funnel Math Models with several tabs:
Buyers want an efficient, effective, quality buying experience. They don’t consider whether their experience is “marketing-generated” or “sales-generated”. They choose if they want to engage with your web content, 3rd party digital outposts or marketplaces or with your sales people. They most likely will interact with all of these in different sequences and in unstructured and unpredictable ways.
Buyer engagement efforts take place all along the buyer journey and to deliver the experiences buyers expect and maximize your revenue impact, you need an integrated marketing and sales process.
Do you have a focused SALES business recovery plan? Does it allow for current year goal achievement post-crisis?
Most businesses have a business continuity and resiliency plan that allows for continued operation in the event of an unforeseen circumstance, but most businesses do not have a revenue recovery plan! The pandemic crisis has forced new ways of working and impaired business performance, but companies must anticipate coming out of the crisis and being prepared for the new environment. This is the time to take advantage of the crisis by examining and addressing ineffective and unproductive elements of your revenue architecture including systems and talent.
An informal survey of CXO’s conducted by Revenue Architects over the last 6 weeks indicates that sales and marketing organizations are functioning differently through the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results confirmed that 90% have been materially impacted.
- 60% of participants stated that they have or plan to layoff/furlough part or all of their sales and marketing teams
- 50% stated they do not have a formal recovery plan to return to Pre Covid-19 performance.
- 100% stated that working remotely had a positive impact on their productivity while also representing new management challenges
- 80% indicated that it was harder to bring some staff given the reverse incentives of government programs.
Conducting business under current constraints with social distancing, remote working and the reduction of capital expenditures is a new challenge. It can be harder to sell if you are not in front of the client. Yet even before the pandemic the skills and profile of sales superstars were changing. And the B2B buyer, already digital savvy, was becoming more educated and self-sufficient using online resources to self-sell.
“If you give me a techno-savvy, Internet-friendly, google ranked, instant responding, collaborating, differentiated, social media savvy, value-driven, a value-based messaging, salesperson who uses the voice of the customer testimonials and is interested in how the customer profits…then, I will give you sales results”.
But how do we infuse these talents and skills along with sales best practices into our selling team and drive sales, take market share, and position for the upcoming market expansion?
Collaborative platforms enable B2B account-based sales .
As consumers, we are accustomed to the efficiency and effectiveness of digital buying experiences. Amazon has set a bar. We search for products using almost any device, shop online, read product reviews, compare and contrast pricing information, review product descriptions, chat with customer service, access Q&As, watch videos, evaluate specs, and consider reviews and ratings. We are conditioned to getting everything we need for our buying process – right at our fingertips. So why don’t we have similar buyer experiences in B2B account-based sales?
More insights for the 85% of B2B marketers that don’t have effective personas!
Mapping out your buyers’ pain and organizing via Pain Maps™ to enable the ULTIMATE Goal: Informing Engagement Personas™.
There are many different perspectives and philosophies on persona development. This makes sense, as they’re the most critical element of creating messaging and informing Message Maps™…then identifying and developing content aligned with the buy cycle…and ultimately validating the various components of a true buyer engagement strategy. In the end, persona development should be defined by how it’ll be used – in terms of purpose and context that will drive messaging, and ultimately content strategy. Other marketers will use it more as a “playbook” of all possible or available buyer insights. I’m not saying either is right or wrong, but it’s why we’ve created a new category called Engagement Personas™.
Understanding what makes high-impact content and reexamining the competence of all the content “experts” out there.
The need for content and content marketing, as well as the discipline itself, has grown exponential just in the last few years. The proliferation of content is at staggering levels and buyers are inundated with it on a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour and daily basis. And I think that the majority of B2B content out there, intended for buyer engagement and advancement, is simply subpar at best. And a BIG word of caution: In addition to a proliferation of content, there is now an explosion of new “experts,” “gurus,”, and “thought-leaders”. My advice is take a long hard look at their career experience prior to considering hiring one of them for guidance.
Chatbots aren’t just for Facebook, Amazon and Apple. Smart brands are adding artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology to their marketing mix for a very good reason. When done well, a chatbot delivers tangible value for the brand, and moreover, an excellent buyer engagement experience for customer. An actual win-win!
Chatbot benefits for brands:
It’s time to face it….capture forms are dead. They still provide a useful utility to brands looking to attract and retain customers but forms have their limitations. Namely, customers have developed an aversion to providing an email address to acquire information. Faced with the trade-off of growing brand awareness or supporting the sales funnel, more and more brands are deciding to ungate their content in order to reach prospective customers at the top of the funnel.
Ending Content Confusion: Differentiating Between “Domain-Centric” and “Engagement-Focused” Content.
There’s a significant problem with content today that can no longer be ignored. It’s the “elephant in the room”—and some organizations and marketers are aware of it, and some aren’t. It’s that the vast majority of the data from marketing practitioners, benchmark reports, industry analysts, and a multitude of other sources suggests that the #1 objective of content is lead generation and account/buyer conversion, sometimes expressed as “engagement”: (and yes, brand awareness tops some lists). Yet, almost universally, content strategy and content creation is “owned” by Product and/or Corporate Marketing in 60% – 80% of organizations. It’s driven by the Demand Generation team in only 5% – 10% of organizations!
So, let’s get this straight. The primary objective for content is to top-of-funnel inquiries, leads and converting full-funnel opportunities, yet the very people tasked with creating integrated programs to drive that objective DO NOT control the #1 MOST IMPORTANT element which is critical to achieving it? HUH?! Seriously?! That’s like having a plumber wiring your house and an electrician installing the pipes. This can truly blow your mind!
OK, as I step back from the ledge, please allow me to share a highly-informed perspective on this based on a nearly 25 year career in B2B marketing, buyer engagement and demand generation. It’s critically important to acknowledge and understand the difference between “domain-centric” and “engagement-focused” content. Is this starting to make a bit more sense?
The CMO of a “Top 50” B2B technology company said he saw tremendous efficacy in our buyer engagement frameworks and methodologies…but asked himself, and me, the question: why would he need our help with content when he has an dedicated, well-staffed team of product marketers producing it? Then bam…the ability to articulate this difference, which was percolating in my subconscious, hit me right between the eyes. I framed it as “domain-centric” vs. “engagement-focused” content, and the CMO immediately embraced the distinction.
Seems like I sort of threw Product Marketing under the bus, right? Actually, quite the contrary. Product Marketing sits at the intersection of Product Development/Management, Sales, Corporate Marketing, Demand Generation and Field Marketing. As such, they are the single most important information resource in content marketing today. They arguably know more about your products, value proposition, market segments, buyers, market trends, etc. than anyone else in your organization. The disconnect I see, universally across organizations, is that most are classically trained product marketers…schooled in research, creating and articulating value propositions, describing features and benefits, and creating stellar product collateral.
That’s where we Demand Marketers come in and the hand-off begins. By looking through the various white papers, data sheets, collateral, and sales playbooks the Product Marketers have created, Demand Marketers can find what they (and you) are looking for. It’s content that’s embedded and buried within, and it serves a different purpose and context than what is truly useful for buyer engagement. There, in the guise of product and benefit information, you’ll find the buyer’s key pain points, as well as an articulation of how your company, products and solutions help address them. Then you can apply all the insights in our new game-changing eBook entitled Exposed. The False Promises of Revenue Marketing. to create truly effective engagement-focused content.
To discover more in-depth insights on this topic, download a copy of the eBook by simply clicking on the link below to discover 9 principles to exponentially increase leads, conversion and pipeline velocity:
- The Pan Mass Challenge
- Best Buddies Challenge
- Vermont Council on Rural Development
- Greensboro Association