The Building Blocks

What does it take to create a well aligned marketing and sales team?

Sales is usually looked at as the team driving the customer side of the business and charged with finding, nurturing and closing new business for the companies. They get supported by other parts of the organization from engineering to finance but one of the most important support teams if used effectively is the Marketing organization.  If you look at organizational effectiveness across many companies what you find is a lot of variability in the way sales and marketing work. Many times, we see little alignment with Marketing doing marketing programs and Sales trying to engage with customers on their own.

Creating a coordinated marketing and sales team effort to grow the business is a proven way to change the trajectory of the business and deliver exceptional results. If you compare company’s performance to the degree of marketing – sales alignment you will find that creating a tightly coupled, aligned marketing and sales team can deliver over 30% better YTY revenue growth compared to nonaligned competitors who see a 5-7% decline, based on industry studies. Another research study showed that companies with well aligned marketing and sales teams generated over 200% more revenue from their marketing investment.

So what does it take to create a well aligned marketing and sales team?  To start, you have to break down the barriers between marketing and sales.  Instead of managing them as independent functions a good first step is manage them collectively as the companies revenue generation engine.  To create a “Revenue Generation Lead-to Revenue” operation you have to build strategies and plans that build processes and teams chartered with driving revenue generation as an integrated problem from lead generation through opportunities and the entire sales funnel.  Every function needs to build on the rest of the model to drive potential customers from start to finish.

Good business processes and strategies demand metrics and tools that enable people to know what needs to be done and get team support as needed to maximize results.  For example, CRM is primarily a sales tool, but marketing typically is a passive participant in CRM activities. Integrating marketing programs and automation into the CRM platform allows all parties to work from a synchronized information platform that ensures complete availability of all the revenue potential generating information across all the organizational functions. With marketing and sales working in the same tool set environment you can get valuable insight into prospect identification, lead nurturing efficiency, and success at converting leads into sales funnel opportunities and new revenue.

The marketing activities that need to be integrated with the sales process include:

  • Outbound marketing programs

  • Inbound marketing programs

  • Sales support programs

  • Product line support programs

Let’s look at each of these in detail and define how they should be aligned with the sales process in an integrated Sales and Marketing Business Solution.

The marketing activities that need to be integrated with the sales process include:

  • Outbound marketing programs

  • Inbound marketing programs

  • Sales support programs

  • Product line support programs

Let’s look at each of these in detail and define how they should be aligned with the sales process in an integrated Sales and Marketing Business Solution.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound Marketing – all the activities to make markets and customers aware of the company, products and services you can provide.

  • Customer engagement marketing

    • Campaign programs are designed to deliver a well-defined message to a target audience to create interest and generate leads for sales follow up. Campaigns are structured to deliver a targeted series of messages to an audience who may become a lead and future customer. The campaign program starts with a messaging strategy and roadmap that defines a series of communications key points targeted at a specific market in the customer base.
      • The core capability the campaign solution needs to support is the definition of the strategic objective, message roadmap, and decision/response tree to engage customers as they journey through the engagement process.
      • Communication programs can use emails, social media programs, press programs, and trade show programs including technical papers and committee activities.
      • The Campaign system drives development of the communications strategy and the message roadmap that you plan to deliver. It assists in the development and management of the communications plan and executes message delivery to target audiences and markets.  What emails to send when based on what target contact does and what the marketing message storyline is
    • Email Campaigns are one of the most prevalent marketing activities designed to deliver information to a broad potential customer audience to create interest and generate leads for sales follow up.
      • Nehanet uses an integrated Mailchimp email engine to automatically send the campaign messages to the target market along with follow up and message series campaign.
      • The contacts database is segmented by function, market, type of information, or issues to automatically send the right message at the right time to the right people.
    • Target audience tables with key messages for each set of targets can be set up to build a coordinated series of informative messages to build interest and drive engagement
    • Message decision tree and workflow management, allows you to define a messaging decision tree.  When the contact gets the initial message what happens if he responds, what comes next. What if he doesn’t respond then what.  All of this becomes a campaign decision tree management solution to automate the entire process of reaching out to potential new customers.
    • Social Media Marketing Campaigns are similar but need to be much more discrete, succinct with shorter, more frequent statements that drive to get likes and shares from the people being messaged.  Follow up on social media campaigns is harder to track so they should be integrated with other more direct marketing campaigns to ensure engagement and sales activation.
      • Market positioning and branding marketing is an important part of the outbound marketing program of a company and is used to build market awareness, customer enthusiasm and investor awareness and support.
    • Once the corporate messaging strategy is developed and agreed to managing the communication program using the message decision tree and campaign tools is a good solution to keeping it all organized, and delivered on time the right way.
    • Building the message strategy and calendar for delivery allows you to make sure you always get it done on time.
    • Nehanet supports you in developing the Web Design to build the corporate image you want to deliver.  Web sites are not static and need constant updates, refreshing and supportive of the other message delivery tools you use to get to customers. By offering complete web services, Nehanet can become a true partner in your marketing messaging program.
    • One often overlooked marketing tool is newsletters that if created to provide information in an engaging interesting way can build your image with market influences, target customers, or your own employees.  You need to take care to deliver content regularly, in structured ways to get a business benefit for the investment. Nehanet provided services to create or deliver newsletter to specific target markets. One powerful tools we often see us using monthly newsletter to communicate with allt he people in your company or channel partners to get a consistent message across the entire company team to celebrate successes, change strategies, or build teamwork or new businesses. Business support marketing
  • New Products get introduced all the time.  Getting new product information and training out to the sales team and initial customers is a key program for marketing.  By using the campaign solution, new product information and data sheets to target customers can be automated and delivered effectively. The training solution offered by Nehanet also lets you roll out an orchestrated training program to the sales, FAE, and channel partners to build product understanding, enthusiasm and support to get these critical new products in front of potential new customers as quickly and as effectively as possible.

  • Potential customers often request samples to allow them to evaluate your products and determine if they can use them in their systems.  Careful management of the sample program is essential to getting the best return on investment and build new business opportunities. The Nehanet Sample Management solution lets you capture sample requests, turn them into opportunities and track what happens after you deliver them to make sure you get engaged in the customers project as aggressively as possible.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing includes all the programs that respond to customers who do something to engage with you to find a way to solve their business needs. Inbound marketing includes everything from:

  • leads that come in from trade shows, conferences, referrals or just market research.

  • Web searches or web contacts

  • Chat contacts in the web site,

  • Organization research to find people who are working on systems needing your solution or problems you can solve

  • Referrals for existing customers or channel partners

Building a lead capture process and support tool is key to making sure you get take advantage of the many ways potential customers are found today in the internet, social media culture. There are several parts of the inbound marketing program that need to be addressed.

  • Lead Generation Solution from Nehanet ensures that leads are auto captured from all the touch points that customers use to begin a discussion.

    • Web clicks  and social media contacts  get captured and added to the lead data
    • When information is requested, automatic personal follow up responses get triggered by email or phone using engage with the customer while he is still thinking about what he wanted to know.  Programs to make sure response are done quickly – 30 minutes or less – are essential to making the inbound program work successfully.
    • Lead qualification solutions allow you to quickly categorize leads to focus on the ones that have business potential and offer general support for all the rest.  You need to be able to quickly react to a potential customer but avoid taking time to respond to competitors, college students or just a general person. You also need to offer different responses to consultants, publications or financial people than you would to a design engineer for example.  The Nehanet solution gives you the tools you need to get the qualification done and prioritize what is important.
    • Lead Nurturing is the key to turning customer interest into new business.  When a lead comes in from one of the lead generation paths and is categorized as a high potential lead the system needs to hand it off to the right person for follow up and engagement.  Building a lead nurturing roadmap based on the type of customer, product type, the job description of the lead, and the qualification status will let you efficiently build a lead nurturing program.
    • To control the process you need  a good lead tracking solution like the solution offered by Nehanet.  Leads are captured, qualified, and handed off to the right person for follow up within the CRM solution.  This lets you track what happens, how long it takes and how effective the team is at turning leads into new business opportunities.

Sales Support

Sales Support is a critical marketing function that is often now well managed but can make a real difference to how effective the sales team is at finding and closing new business.

  • Pricing is an essential part of engaging in a new business opportunity. Marketing needs to publish pricing for all the different parts of the business and keep it up to date, effective and competitive. Pricing in the Nehanet system is handled comprehensively providing

    • Price matrix quantity breaks – by region, channel, and currency
    • Price books to manage distribution channel pricing and costs on a global basis
    • Contract pricing that applies across the various purchasing, contract manufacturing, or channel purchase points, allowing complete contract performance tracking and price management.
    • Price optimization analytics to give pricing guidance in the quote stage to optimize pricing with historical analytics to find price sweet spot
    • Price Minimums management sets up price approval authorizations so quoting can be done quickly when an opportunity needs aggressive pricing during business negotiations.  It sets up the rules for engagement to get the best pricing to close the business without undue burdens on the team to get approvals.
  • Revenue Cycle Management includes all the tools to effectively handle the distribution sale process including

    • Ship and debits
    • Distribution claims
    • Distribution quoting and distribution cost management
    • Distributor inventory management and optimization
    • Price protection.
    • Financial accrual calculations
  • Contract management including negotiation templates, guidelines, strategy definition, proposal generation solutions,  and execution support.

  • Quote Automation solutions provide quote templates, clause inclusion automation, and value proposition tools to make sure you provide quotes that include everything you need to include, and deliver an effective message to maximize your chance of winning. It is –

    • Able to provide selective  key information to meet specific needs of the customer and opportunity            
    • Product driven so the quote response shows most critical information based on products being quoted – specs, boards, software, quality, packaging, handling specifications – clearly defined data on what is being quoted
    • Includes pricing tools that are integrated with quote engine so you get analytic data on history, win probabilities, and other competitive feedback
    • Able to automatically generate letters, responses, and content covering the generic information that needs to be a part of the quote along with specific targeted information keyed to the specific customer being quoted.
    • Supported by AI based tools to provide best practices and product positioning / value proposition statements and embed them in the quote if desired
  • Training is an essential part of any sales operation and much of the content for sales training is typically generated by the marketing team.  Training programs include the following:

    • On boarding training to bring up new sales people on the company, procedures, systems, products and businesses to get them to be able to effectively begin to engage with customers as quickly as possible.
    • Product training to build understanding of the products offered by the company.  Product training spans a wide range of information from sales training about what the product does and how it fits in customer systems and is better than competitors solutions all the way to detailed training about code, design information or usage details.
      • Training programs need to capture training information effectively in an organized way
      • Detail who needs to get what training and provide a delivery methodology to get it done effectively.
      • Support on site, and web based training programs
      • Provide certification programs if desired.
  • Documents presentations are a critical need of any sales organization and one of the key things marketing can provide to support sales.

    • Document and presentation libraries need to be organized and available upon demand.
    • Documents need tight revision control to make sure product specs, company documents or specs are always current and available
    • Presentations are more complicated covering company information, market information, or product introduction information effectively
      • Presentations often need to be tailored to the specific customer situation so they need to be editable for effective use but the basic presentation information needs to be a part of the document solution.
      • Presentation effectiveness can be measured and offered to guide sales.  As users access and use the presentation effectiveness rating can provide guidance to future users and to marketing.
      • Presentation modifications need to be communicated back to the marketing group for inclusion or modification to keep the presentations current and as effective as possible.
      • The accessibility of the presentation library needs to be carefully controlled to make sure the best possible information is quickly available to sales at all times.
      • The Document system in the Nehanet solution should be the place to go to get the latest and best sales presentation deck all the time instead of making it up as needed or making a bunch of calls to find the right information.
  • Strategic Account Planning is an important part of building the business.  In most companies there are a few accounts that you really need to get into.  Building an account plan to drive the activities to penetrate must have accounts is essential if you expect to turn your hopes into business quickly. The Account Planning solution in Nehanet provides an architecture to build an account plan the everyone can buy into.  It lets you develop the activities needed to execute the plan and make changes as you start to engage. By using a structured account planning process you can track what you are trying to do, who is supposed to do it and what happens along the way to ensure you are actually executing the penetration plan as quickly and effectively as possible.

Building a lead capture process and support tool is key to making sure you get take advantage of the many ways potential customers are found today in the internet, social media culture. There are several parts of the inbound marketing program that need to be addressed.

  • Lead Generation Solution from Nehanet ensures that leads are auto captured from all the touch points that customers use to begin a discussion.

    • Web clicks  and social media contacts  get captured and added to the lead data
    • When information is requested, automatic personal follow up responses get triggered by email or phone using engage with the customer while he is still thinking about what he wanted to know.  Programs to make sure response are done quickly – 30 minutes or less – are essential to making the inbound program work successfully.
    • Lead qualification solutions allow you to quickly categorize leads to focus on the ones that have business potential and offer general support for all the rest.  You need to be able to quickly react to a potential customer but avoid taking time to respond to competitors, college students or just a general person. You also need to offer different responses to consultants, publications or financial people than you would to a design engineer for example.  The Nehanet solution gives you the tools you need to get the qualification done and prioritize what is important.
    • Lead Nurturing is the key to turning customer interest into new business.  When a lead comes in from one of the lead generation paths and is categorized as a high potential lead the system needs to hand it off to the right person for follow up and engagement.  Building a lead nurturing roadmap based on the type of customer, product type, the job description of the lead, and the qualification status will let you efficiently build a lead nurturing program.
    • To control the process you need  a good lead tracking solution like the solution offered by Nehanet.  Leads are captured, qualified, and handed off to the right person for follow up within the CRM solution.  This lets you track what happens, how long it takes and how effective the team is at turning leads into new business opportunities.

Product Line Support

Product Line Support is also a critical part of any comprehensive marketing program.  Marketing manages all the information about :

  • Parts building the master parts record with all the supporting specifications, selection guides, competitive information, product positioning information and product offering data and pricing.  Marketing also manages the life cycle management to introduce new parts, and end of life old products.

  • Cost and margin management on new business to optimize opportunity wins at the highest possible margin.  Building market information about what competitors are doing, what is current and expected product cost information and responding to market changes or manufacturing issues is a critical part of managing the profit profile of the business.

  • Product Change Notice management is needed to notify customers when specs change, business requirements or quality issues change or products are EOF.  The campaign solution is an effective tool to manage the PCN needs of a company.

  • Every year most companies build an Annual Operating Plan. Nehanet’s AOP solution proves a tool to manage the entire process of converging on a sales/ order forecast, building a new products roll out plan, building a key customer plan, and allocating the commitment and final plan out to the various owners in sales and product organizations.   It includes:

    • Forecast development and commitment
    • Strategy negotiation and commitment
    • Product roadmap creation management
    • Manpower planning
    • Key initiative development and conversion to Critical Strategic Initiative plan
    • Prioritization plan
      • Priority tracking and management

Marketing support from Nehanet is comprehensive and drives the integration of the sales program with the marketing program to maximize results and control costs.

Come talk to us about how we can help you build a comprehensive marketing program that works to provide the business growth you need by building a cohesive sales – marketing program that makes a real difference.