A new calendar year is fast approaching, so isn’t it time you considered your own business development strategy? If not for the start of 2014, then this will certainly be something to think about for the start of the new financial year.
Ask yourself how business has been the past year, what revenue has been like. How are your overheads looking? And remember that there’s no shame in considering a new approach.
Directors and managers have to make big decisions all the time in order to develop and move a company forward – and your sales and marketing strategy should be no different.
The way it was
Traditionally your marketing efforts would concentrate at the top of the sales funnel – delivering your message to a broader spectrum of prospects as possible. Alternatively, the sales team would concentrate their efforts on a more targeted cohort of leads at the bottom of the funnel.
Whilst this isn’t an issue, it has inherently caused problems for countless of businesses all over the world. More often than not marketing departments are measured against the revenue their activity generates; as such, the marketing teams are dependent on the sales team to turn leads into sales, and thus justify their marketing efforts. This does, and can, cause conflict, which can affect revenue.
So what’s the solution? Well, sales and marketing need to be working closer together, with their strategy much more aligned. Impossible, we hear you say. Well it’s actually fairly straightforward; just consider the following.
To align sales and marketing, ensure you’re helping each other’s efforts. Content marketing is the creation and sharing of content, with the intent of acquiring new customers.
By creating highly targeted content for different buying stages, rather than top level content at the start of the sales funnel, you’ll be delivering what the customer wants at the right stage of buying cycle.
For the sales team, this means contacting the company at the right stage to help facilitate the sale, rather than contacting them at the wrong stage and taking them back a few steps. We’ll explore how the sales team can target customers at the right stage further on.
The types of content you could be creating include blog posts, videos and whitepapers, as well as engaging in social media updates. As you can see there’s a plethora of content types – you just need to ensure what you’re creating is targeted and of a high standard.
How frequently do sales and marketing communicate with one another? At what stages of the customer’s buying cycles do they communicate? This must be factored into any business strategy, to ensure all leads are dealt with appropriately.
For example, if you have a prospect who does not decide to buy, who’s responsibility should it be to stay in contact with the lead? Sales should be concentrating on converting qualified leads into sales. However, marketing should be concentrating on creating quality content around the client’s needs; so should they leak out of the sales funnel, you have a way of nurturing that lead.
Whilst the above is a very specific example, throughout the entire sales & marketing process, both teams must be communicating with each other. Lead tracking software can help to facilitate this.
Lead generation software
A way for you to track qualified leads that have viewed your website, IP tracking software offered by Lead Forensics puts the power back in the hands of the sales team. Moreover, it gives them a better understanding of where in the sales funnel the lead is; allowing them to target their sales efforts.
Understandably though, not every lead will be qualified or at the point of sale; so it’s a case of better understanding whether it is sales or marketing that need to be targeting the lead, as mentioned above.
It also means that if your marketing teams are using Lead Forensics software to look for keywords, referring sites, hits rates and so on, they too may come across a more qualified lead who has visited, say, your Contact us page. As mentioned, this is where communication between each department is vital.
Streamline the sales process
Finding a way to refine the entire process is fundamental to your new sales and marketing strategy for 2014; and at the heart of this is lead tracking software. Not only will your new strategy be more aligned thanks to content marketing and better communication, but the entire sales process will be simpler, allowing sales teams to concentrate on qualified leads and marketing teams to concentrate on nurturing leads.
It should go without saying that you should always measure your efforts – this way you can constantly evaluate and refine the process and your overall strategy.
For example, always assign a source to the lead, so you are aware of where this has come from. Track how many leads have come from the use of lead tracking software, with its monetary value. If there are parts of the process where leads are not converting into sales, get a better understanding of why this is the case, and work with marketing departments to nurture the lead.
For 2014, make sure your sales and marketing strategy is more aligned. Take advantage of content marketing and lead tracking software, and ensure your teams are communicating with one another throughout the entire process. It’ll certainly pay dividends.