Samantha Stone is the Founder/CMO of the Marketing Advisory Network and the author of Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook That Drives Sales.
Her Mission: To unite marketing and sales teams around certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that drive revenue in the sales funnel.
Traditionally, marketers have been tasked with generating interest in a product or service, through research and building awareness. While there is a natural tension between these two pieces of the process, the members are all on the same team heading the same direction. One of Samantha’s key principles is the need for communication and cooperation between the marketing and sales teams. By focusing on improving processes, instead of vying for credit of leads, teams can greatly boost their overall function.
The first metric that Samantha recommends the marketing team to take ownership of is ‘lead conversion’, from ‘lead’ to ‘opportunity’. She makes the distinction compared to the traditional ‘number of leads’ KPI because artificial inflation and just because the sales team has more leads does not guarantee that every one of them is a potential opportunity. By holding the sales team accountable, marketing teams can track from which channels higher-rate conversion opportunities arise and focus efforts on capitalizing.
The second is the amount of time one spends in the buying process. Samantha notes that the buying process can take weeks even months in complex B2B transactions or even some B2C ones, like choosing a retirement plan or university. It’s not a snap decision, particularly when there is a lot at stake. It’s vital for marketers to continue producing content to keep the buyers engaged and aid them in creating vendor comparisons. By staying top of mind and demonstrating a genuine interest in the client, Samantha and her team were able to increase their win rate by almost 15%, by simply sending a letter to the contact.
The final metric for marketers to take ownership of is ‘win-rate’; the percent of opportunities that they won v. the number of potential opportunities at any one time. By sharing responsibility with the sales team, they become acutely aware of the areas where a marketing team can help. Whether it’s the packaging, positioning, or another aspect of the marketing process, by acknowledging the larger picture, marketing teams can take an active role in the final ‘win-rate’.
She notes, ‘Don’t worry about stepping on others’ toes; it means you’re dancing.’ Not overlapping just for its own sake but operating together to create and execute something new. As they go further down the funnel, pattern identification aids the marketing team in identifying reasons for a loss; loss analysis often reveals that many times the main culprit is the price or lacking a certain feature that a competitor may offer. She utilizes qualitative surveys to talk with the customers to find those key interactions or selling points.
Rather than pushing for more leads, Samantha champions providing quality opportunities for success. The ROI could be much greater when a marketing team works in tandem with the sales team. Strategically focusing the business around high-quality opportunities allows for companies to execute effectively. This was only a high-level overview of our conversation with Samantha Stone. Be sure to listen to the whole episode!
See you next week!