We are thrilled to share a guest blog from Adele Crane, Chief Executive Officer of Sales Focus Advisory. Sales Focus Advisory is drawing on their years of experience through tough markets to work with CEOs and sales managers to develop new playbooks and engage with their teams to provide the tools to overcome the current challenges and shift back to growth.
Connect with Adele on LinkedIn
CEOs are faced with many decisions as they work to guide their companies through the changing economic times and downward financial pressures. Their executive team is charged with the responsibilities to manage costs and operate lean and effectively.
Unfortunately, high on the list of cost-cutting can be marketing spend and marketing headcount. Those numbers stand out on financial reports, and where no real measurement is in place of marketing’s contribution to the company’s growth, the axe can swing swiftly and often too deeply. Marketing departments are feeling the crisis now if they have not installed fact-based measurement of their contribution to sales leads and growth. Conversations and anecdotal evidence of contribution is not going to win over finance departments.
Sales departments unsupported by marketing will struggle to find the changed buyer behaviour of the next normal in a realistic timeline. Their ability to converse with sufficient people to identify the required changes is not practical. Salespeople are confronted with traditional sales appointments changing as buyers are now working from home. Email outreach is at a record high as people search for ways to connect with existing customers; often, those emails fail to generate conversations.
Zoom or teleconference meetings assist to a degree, but complex sales and new products are hard to demonstrate via conference calls, as people have shorter concentration times in those meetings. The distraction of emails and messages coming in, adding further layers of problems. From a selling perspective, connecting with all decision-makers and influencers is more difficult than ever before.
To exist in the next normal selling requires the right messages, communicated to personas in a way they are receptive to in the current market—less about features and benefits and more about education, understanding, and connection. Marketing is the bridge to finding how to shape those new communications and create the materials sales needs.
With the changing landscape, marketing is required more than before in two key areas.
1. Market intelligence
Marketing intelligence is key to finding the way forward. The information should be more comprehensive than your direct industry. You are looking for overall trends, competitive advantages, and measurement of your findings against other sectors. You need the added layer of gaining knowledge of what is happening in different sectors that can be translated across to your business.
Engagement is the new demand to reach more people in target companies and taking the buyers further along the buying process. They need to be informing, educating, and nurturing potential new business. They must contribute to protecting existing customers with sufficient knowledge that they remain loyal to products. They need to identify the shifts and changes at a pace faster than their competitors and faster than the market.
While some companies are retracting their marketing efforts, those that will excel in the future are expanding. They are drawing on specialist skills from marketing agencies as they have a broader footprint across sectors through their client bases, providing more real-time experience of the changing market.
Through a series of projects, companies can align to the next normal in the shortest possible timeframe. The information is the bridge that will support the sales effort to be laser-focused with the right messages to nurtured audiences ready to buy and increase business.
© 2020 Adele Crane