Sales generation is a major challenge for marketers when plenty of competitors are vying for the market pie. You not only have to make a strategy to drive customers but retain them as well by winning their trust and loyalty. Therefore, marketers lay so much emphasis on creating an effective sales funnel. This webinar with marketing experts shows the professional way to build the funnel.
The marketing and sales funnel is the process through which companies lead customers to buy products or services. First, companies generate awareness about what they do and who they are. Then, the marketing and sales team work together to provide valuable information to consumers. This helps them make an informed buying decision. In the end, the companies try to give excellent services to the customers and win their trust.
However, the sales funnel or the customer targeting process is not easy to accomplish with the desired results. Many companies falter and pay heavy prices in the form of losing their customers to their competitors.
To show the right way to create sales funnels, Designhill, the leading creative marketplace conducted a webinar on the topic – How to Build a Robust Sales Funnel to Turn Leads Into Customers.
Guest Speakers Of The Event
The experts who shared their views during the webinar were Marcus Cauchi, Jason Bay, Michael Hanson, and Sangram Vajre. Marcus has more than 30 years of experience in sales and recruitment and has served clients across 500+ segments. Jason Bay is an Outbound Sales Coach & Trainer for B2B reps and sales teams. Michael Hanson is the founder of Growth Genie, a consultancy that empowers B2B teams and helps build scalable sales. Sangram Vajre is a co-founder of Terminus, which is amongst the fastest growing companies. He is also a host of the top 50 business podcasts.
The experts discussed many sales funnel related issues that companies face so often. They shared their experiences on how to optimize a sales funnel to drive sales growth and what skills marketers should have. Also, they analyzed different sales strategies and current scenarios to achieve maximum conversions.
Here Is The Video Of The Panel Discussion With The Experts
Pay Heed To The Following Expert Advice On How To Build Sales Funnel To Turn Leads Into Customers
Designhill: What are the must-haves to build sales funnel?
Know who is your ideal customer
Marcus: The first rule is to identify who your customer is and who they are not. So much time is wasted on prospecting for people who you are comfortable calling, but can’t buy. They can only say no and make sure you are clear about what your ideal customer profile looks like. And concentrate all of your energy and effort on making sure you target them and deliver incredible value.
You should not just show up and vomit lots of information about your product and your company. Under no circumstances, you should put the PowerPoint up that has your headquarters on it. Make sure that what you are doing is timely, it’s relevant, and you have done your research. And contrary to a lot of people thinking, I don’t believe that sales are a numbers game. at the higher end of the market, what you should be doing is making fewer higher-quality calls.
Therefore, it means you have to do your research. You need to target the right job functions and get the coverage that you need. In most organizations, there are between three and seven influences. So, if you only have one point of contact and if you don’t have a prospect, then I let everyone else chime in that stage.
Sangram: A lot of people forget that we are marketing to people. Copywriting is something that is super underrated for marketers. When I see they are in marketing and b2b, you must know who your customers are.
Don’t haunt your customers
And you notice I’m not using the word prospect for a reason. This is because when you say prospect, how many of you like to have prospects? Probably none. How many of you like to be hunted or whale down water? Like every typical sales jargon that I hear the reality is we don’t create a lot of our people that we want to be our customers with respect. So, ask this question a lot of times. Would you send the same type of email to your customers?
We will send an email to a customer once a month, there is something important. But how many times do you send an email to your future customers every day? And, if they never opened up, we’ll send them another one. Just in case they forgot the first 21 emails we sent them. So the idea is that we forget, the very important notion is that there are people.
Figure out customers’ pain point
So, I would say the number one thing is that as you figure out who you are targeting, also figure out your voice. Also, figure out your customers’ pain points. And if the pain point, and you start talking about the problem, not the product that you are selling, but the problem you are trying to solve for them, you’ll get a better response.
Jason Bay: I always look at things through an outbound lens. So the most underrated part of the sales funnel is people don’t look at how to make them work together. This is because there is so much focus on outbound. And if you don’t have a good inbound engine, the outbound engines are hard.
So, if you don’t have good content, the big requirement is conversation starters for your sales team. And it needs to address problems in a very specific way and give people education that they might not be aware of. So, talk about a problem they might have but don’t know about, and educate them on. Or, you could talk about a problem that they willingly talk about in an open public setting. They like to have a different perspective.
A company called Gong IO is doing just an awesome job of that. I was listening to their CMO on a podcast, and he talks about outbound, which is where they get most of their business. It’s because their content is so good. They can put the content out in front of people. And it is helping people fix problems that they know that they have.
So for me, I just come back to conversation starters, empathy, and having the right tools. Your salespeople can use the tools as a great concept that they can put in front of the prospective people. This will encourage people to start a conversation about something that’s important to them.
Get content for the entire funnel
Michael Hanson: I also see the value of content and inbound marketing. And if you are talking about a funnel, make sure that it has content for every stage of the funnel. This is because sometimes there is very good content for the top of the funnel, but not for the bottom of the funnel. And a piece of advice that I gave and I have been talking about recently is you go down the funnel, your content can get longer and longer form.
Start with Shorter Content
When you are doing outbound at the top of the funnel, do you have extremely short content like little snippet videos of you? If you follow me on LinkedIn, when we’re sharing like 20-minute videos on LinkedIn, we’re sharing one or two-minute videos. That is because people scroll through their feed, and that’s what they get. But once you have built a rapport with someone, someone subscribes to your newsletter, or they are a customer, then you can share a long podcast or longer-form content.
So, start with shorter content at the top of the funnel. As you go down the funnel, you build more rapport and more respect with your customers and have longer content.
Align with Customer Success
Then the other thing that I wanted to say is that focus on your ideal customer profile and people that you can help. They are still massive companies and I know they are going off to the wrong customers. A good bit of advice I would give for that is aligned with customer success, and talk to them about who are the customers that get the most value out of our products. This is because they are on the front line with them every day.
Then target those people and also interview your customers, the ones who you have had the most success. You should interview them. Ask questions. What do you like about the product? What were the pains that were solving? How does it help you in your day today? Then create the content and marketing all around that. Those are the people you should be targeting.
Focus on the middle of the funnel
One of the biggest mistakes I see why funnels fall apart is they tend to look like an old pair of granny knickers. They are white at the top and the bottom but baggy at the bottom. What they should look like is a phone. They need to have a funnel shape. And part of the reason for that is salespeople and marketers are reluctant to take people out. A robust disqualification process is a key that frees up resources for the next critical point, which is to concentrate your energy in the middle of the funnel, everyone talks to you about prospecting.
And then as soon as you put an opportunity into the CRM, the next question that pops out is that when is the projected close date. And so your attention goes from the top to the bottom, and the middle of the funnel is missed. This is where content nurturing, and good account-based marketing can come into its own. You need to nurture the middle of the funnel and create engagement.
Have more influencers
Most sellers will get one to two points of contact of influence within an account. We know from research that even for a company of 200 people, the average is about 3.43 influences. When you get up to over 1000 people, there are at least six to seven influences. Now there could be a buying committee made up of power. Sub decision-makers influences recommenders specify technical buyers, user buyers, and financial buyers. If you are not getting that coverage, all you are doing is just making noise. So those are critical points to build on.
Designhill: Has COVID affected the conversion part of the sales funnel?
Meet customers in group calls
Jason Bay: That depends on the industry. It is easy to play a lot of mental gymnastics and psych ourselves, especially from an outbound perspective. So, people out there should be starting the conversations. The most important thing that you could do is to meet with as many of your customers as possible and get them on group calls and small group calls.
In doing that, what tends to happen is you have people if you work with marketing departments. For example, you can get VPS of marketing and CMOS to get on a small call with other peers, they tend to help each other with things that because you are not a CMO that you don’t pick up on, and little nuances, and it becomes an insight that you can share with people. So, having something to share is very important.
Identify, Engage, and Convert
But the framework with the work that I do with outbound has not changed. You have to double down on it. So, identify, engage, and convert. This way, you can have the identification and personas to shift to industries less impacted by the engaged part. You still need solid problem-centric messaging that focuses on them. That’s always been a thing that’s worked well. And some of those things that you put in the messaging, like their problems might have changed since then.
The convert piece gets the meeting and you can handle objections and like dual, the debt part hasn’t changed. What you plug into that framework has changed.
Sangram: Webinars are a new strategy
I will just share something that just recently started working that we never focused on. How many of you folks do webinars like this, which is a great format that you and the team is putting together. And, many people are attending and just typing in the chat, We started to recognize that the bigger draw events were not driving revenue as per our expectations. This is especially when in COVID, everybody’s gotten more chill, everybody got virtual events.
The real challenge becomes to find if that is worth my time because I’m already zoomed out. For example, webinars are the strategy that we have seen work recently. So, instead of having 100, 200, 1000 people, virtual events, or summits that we used to do all the time, we started to create 20 people events, and we’ll cap it out at 20. We are only inviting manufacturing CMS and marketers in this group to talk about how they are dealing with this issue.
We as a company can help them, maybe solve or address any of their account-based challenges. And we did not even mention Terminus, ABM actually at that point. We will only have one or two questions lined up for them. What we saw was that you’ll get about 80-90% attendance, which I have never seen.
Make webinars relevant
Yes, that is the 80-90% attendance rate, people would stay there for typically 45 minutes to an hour and a half. This is because they are having peer to peer conversations about their industry. It’s like a therapy session at the end of it. So what changed for us was, instead of going full-on the event, we started to do it literally every other week. Sometimes we do manufacturing or whichever industry. You want to go after insurance, or staff will invite-only three or two to three of the people and tell the other people in the same industry.
So, we stopped blasting everybody saying come to our webinar, it was more of like, we’ll selectively say, Hey, we’re only doing it for you folks. So hopefully you show up. So that just changed the game. And the impact of it, the business outcome has been tremendously good. So right now I feel the power is in the relevancy of how relevant your content can be, as opposed to the content itself.
Michael Hanson: People talk about how you have to personalize, be more empathetic. I don’t know what people were doing before, because that’s what he should have been doing before the pandemic. That was so funny as there was all this content around that. I was thinking that these people should have been publishing always. I know, everything’s becoming a lot more account-based.
There’s a lot of debate in my world about should you split inbound and outbound. So, whether that’s your account executives or SDRs, and what we’re moving towards is less than inbound and an outbound model. Everyone in your sales team has a list of accounts that they go after. And it’s a bit like saying you have an event with100 people and everyone is intimate at that event. You are building relationships, intimate relationships with companies. After all, in these pandemic days, you can’t meet someone for a coffee and go for lunch.
Create Personalized Content
I am a big believer in Zoom and virtual, but you can never beat face to face. But now that we’re all on this level playing field that we’re all virtual, it’s like you need to try and be personable, even from home. So the way to do that is by being extremely personalized, extremely relevant, and having an account-based approach.
Make your messaging specifically for that account, rather than having a spray and pray approach. You should not say that go get a click of an email. But, as long as you are using the same tactics as before, and they were good, and it was about personalization and relevance, you can still win.
Marcus: There is an awful lot of guff spoken about face to face and road warriors, and have had their egos pricked. But the reality is you should be able to sell whatever the medium. Yes, you do lose some of the nonverbal communication.
But actually, selling virtually has a number of massive virtues. And the first one is that in this day and age, you can just simply say, would you mind if I record this call so that I don’t have to take notes and I can concentrate. Now that means that I can run it through Gong, chorus, or refract, and I can do conversational analytics, and every single call is a teachable moment.
And the other problem is that a lot of salespeople have become merely order takers, that empty seats with commission breath. What they spend their lives doing is showing up, throwing up, quoting, and hoping and selling and running. And that is not what selling is about. Selling is a noble profession. And COVID shouldn’t have shifted your Vaidya to be more customer-centric, it shouldn’t have focused on the shift to be more empathetic, you should have that.
When selling, be a listener
Anyway, I interviewed Dr. Laura Janousek. And she said listening is the transfer of meaning. And we need to be better listeners, I have never listened to my way out of a sale, I’ve talked my way out of plenty. We should be prepared.
COVID is an opportunity to sell
COVID is a fabulous crisis, and you should never waste a good one. And if you can’t serve and help a prospect or a customer to make that point, you shouldn’t be selling to them. If you can help them, then it is your moral obligation to sell to them. When COVID struck, an awful lot of people got squeamish about the idea of prospecting. You should have been on the phones, even more than you were before. You should have put your mental radar up in terms of how can I help? How can I think creatively around that problem? What else is happening? What are the risks these people are trying to mitigate?
Find a way to be relevant
But most people didn’t do that. They bolted off the phone and started resorting to tedious email. Or, when they did speak to people they were almost apologetic about doing. What has changed is if it’s important, then the buying cycles have accelerated. If it’s not important, they’ve been shelved.
So you have to find a way of being relevant and important. Now, if you are not doing that, you have no business wasting their time. Because most of these guys are trying to survive. And they are thinking about cutting heads. they are worried about keeping their job paying their mortgage. So don’t waste their time.
Recession is in your mind
I see my clients increase their pipeline by 300% during COVID. I’m not one of my clients that I was working with pre-COVID is below 140% of quota. The average range is 140 to 220% of two clients who are 3000 and 5,000% up on last year. So again, it’s down to what’s going on between your ears. Recession is a mental condition.
Designhill: How does one identify the best credit accounts for their businesses?
Sangram: Well, as soon as you realize that, if you are in b2b, it’s a finite market. It’s not an infinite market that is going after any and everybody. As soon as we start realizing that it is not about the total addressable market, as a total relevant market.
Every Touchpoint Matters
People start realizing that they can’t just send random conversations, emails to the same people. This is because they may not have another chance. Jay Baer and I were on a podcast, and he said, something that rings true to this. And this is the answer to the question as to when we should stop.
It is about every touchpoint that you should be with your customer or future customer. Either you are building a brand, or crushing it in a negative way, where they have a negative feeling about your brand. There is no neutral like there is never an email that comes through where I don’t feel anything. I always feel something and hope everyone feels that’s a waste of time, and oh, that was a bad sales process. I don’t want to do business with them.
These are all things going on in your mind about every single touchpoint. And we just don’t think long enough to see that well. That can actually have a negative impact on my personal brand as well as my company brand. This is because somebody has to now overcome the next time someone reaches out with a lot more empathy than that. So I feel recognizing that the pool is smaller to give people the opportunity to think about and I take great care of these people.
I need to create relationships with these people. That means I need to know and engage them. This conversation will start happening in your mind. All these things will hopefully start happening because you don’t have an unlimited pool. Right now, when I look at a lot of sales outreach, I see that happening there. It’s like, hey, I know, it’s a canned email. And it is just like, okay, I’m not giving you anything. It is like saying that if you took like two minutes to look at my LinkedIn, you would know more than what you just put in that.
So to me, the way to do one is to know that there’s a limited pool, the world is not all over it. And then number two is that you are either building your brand or making a negative feeling for your customers and future customers about your brand. And you have to choose how you are going about it.
Designhill: Do you think the leads, which get discarded, are the ones we did not pursue anymore and what can we do about them?
Do Relevant Messaging
Michael Hanson: You should focus on only the people that can buy from you. So it’s much better, and you said the example earlier like to have100 people who are super engaged. So, you have got a number of touchpoints that you need with certain relevant messaging. It is going to turn someone into a sales opportunity and then to close the deal.
There may be people who aren’t right, there may be a timing issue. Timing is often an objection to something else. But, sometimes there is a genuine objection for timing, such as that they just signed a contract with a competitor. And they got a year on year agreement. Then a year later, you are going to contact them and then you put them in some kind of nurturing funnel. So you have put them in a newsletter, etc. You can make your content more relevant if you have a newsletter. But if you have got different types of industries or buyers, you should separate that newsletter segregate.
Automation is not always bad
I do still believe in some form of automation, which is controversial to some people. They say that everything has to be personalized when it comes to outbound sales. But automation works when you segregate your data well. You say this is like personal. This is the x industry. I know they have these pains. Therefore, you segregate your list a lot. You may have like 2030 lists and you are segregating by triggers. So a company that’s using a software company for hiring a particular position. That’s when automation works well.
But when automation doesn’t work well as you have got a list of 3000 people, and you send the same message to all of them. That is when automation works badly. So automation can work well when you have automated but makes it seem personalized.
Designhill: What is that the sales professional should take care of when the prospect has shown interest and on the verge of making the decision?
Machel Jason: I will just give an example. When you say the interest stage, I assume that this person is going to hop on a call with me. They have agreed to that call, and I get to actually talk to them for the first time. I’m just going to look at it through that lens, more like a discovery lens. So, what’s important where I see companies making big mistakes is that we are not thinking from the customer’s perspective.
But, we are not helping them discover anything. We only ask for their budget and is there a buying window and winter contract upon the current product that you are using. We want to know if you are the decision-maker and approaching it from a very sales-oriented way. Instead, you should know what the buyer needs so that it gets the conversation started. There are a lot of contexts that are needed to speak about who you are talking about, who you are talking to at the company, and what their role might be.
Know the prospects’ priorities
I give you two or three things to accomplish when you are doing that discovery. You need to figure out the prospects’ top two or three priorities. It is a very underrated thing that I don’t think people just simply ask for. I make sure to talk about something that’s relevant to you. We can spend our time on something that is productive. What are the top two or three things that you are most focused on in your role?
Align with the priorities
When you are talking to an executive, you have got to align with something that is already a priority for them. In 90 plus percent of cases, that is the way to do it. That’s the approach that we see working the best. What are those priorities? You should figure them out. Find out what are the typical problems that get in the way of them accomplishing that.
Ask the right questions
You should ask these two questions that put an executive into some sort of an emotional and thinking mode, versus wanting to know about your product, the price, and a demo. These are the two questions. What you could do better when going outbound and breaking into new accounts, what do you think it would be? When I ask that, they say that they perhaps want people to pick up the phone more.
The executives respond with all kinds of different stuff and give you their emotions, and their opinion on something. Then the other question I will ask them out of curiosity. I will ask how would you rate, on a scale of one to ten, how good your team is at doing that right now.
And you are getting them to give you things that you can talk about. This is a better approach than simply saying that you the executive have this problem, I don’t know if that you have it. Or, you have it because I talk to other people in the industry that have the same problem. No person is going to open to that type of approach.
In my experience, it’s getting them to open up a little bit more about what their opinions are, how they are doing things, and looking for something that you can latch on to. So those are the important things to do from a discovery standpoint, in your first interaction with a prospect.
Designhill: Marcus, you say that the interest stage is usually a kiss of death, so, what precisely do you mean by that?
Marcus: The problem of prospect is that it does not bring you the real problem. And the people who say that they are interested, are generally politely and trying to get you off the phone. And they say send me something, which is the kiss of death. Bad salespeople think that’s a buying signal, but it is not. It is a polite way of telling you to go to hell. They don’t want to say it to your face, and 80% of an average sales person’s time is spent chasing people. They should have closed or disqualified from the last call. If you can eliminate that one full step. That’s a 400% increase in production capability.
Ask questions straightforwardly
If you are a salesperson, you should be ruthless and brutal in anything that wastes your time. So when someone says to you, give me a call back in a couple of weeks, send me a proposal, a quote, say that do you mind if I ask you a cheeky question? Is that a way of getting me off the phone, because you have no interest, but you are trying to spend my feelings? I want to know an early qualified no is a win. It’s like saving a goal in football, as you win on a goal difference.
Have a strong pipeline
And part of the problem is that salespersons who don’t have a strong pipeline, are desperate to keep everything in there. They get their mortgage paid for one more month, and they don’t get fired. So, what we should be doing is training and coaching them properly, and having genuine accountability, I remember sitting through and observing a sales meeting with a potential client. The sales rep said, I know this is the 10th month that this deal has slipped, but they are interested and I’m sure they are going to buy this month. And, the sales manager put it back into the forecast.
What passes for average in sales is bad, what passes for average in sales management is horrific. And if you have ever calculated the cost of a bad hire, in enterprise sales, it’s 35 to 125 times salary. If you have a bad manager managing a team of enterprise salespersons, you can multiply that number by five to 10 fold. And if you are running a channel, you could easily move the decimal point, one point to the right.
Look at the right end of the problem
So the real issue is are we asking the right questions? Are we looking at the right end of the problem? Because salespeople generally avoid prospecting because of psychological issues. It’s not down to competency. It’s down to fear of rejection, fear of interrupting, not wanting to be disliked all that kind of garbage.
Therefore, companies should find out if they have recruited the right people. My favorite question about such bad salespersons is that did you hire them that way, or, did you make them that way? The reality is, whoever hired them is responsible for their behavior.
Now, most people on this call are looking for magic dust. And what’s better is to look at the right end of the problem. Look at what the cause of those problems is, and look upstream. What is it that we did or didn’t do? What is it we said or didn’t say? So, you are qualifying for the band, I think it is a criminal act that delivers zero value to the customer. As far as they are concerned, it’s just crappy questions interrupting their day.
Drive the interest
And a great question is let’s pretend it’s 12 months from today. What exactly do we need to have delivered? Assuming we end up working together? What is it we need to have delivered by that point? At our renewal conversation for you to start Thank god the best decision we ever made was bringing you in. And they’ll tell you exactly how to sell food. That’s how you generate a desire. It’s not just interesting, you have got to drive that desire.
Marcus: l will provide a different perspective on this. How can the salesperson be more effective in these scenarios? Marketing is, in many ways, underutilized by the sales team. Right marketing things create a ton of content as there are stats that say that 80% of the content that marketing creates is never used by sales. Well, the reason is that a lot of time sales are giving them this abstract information about what they want or not getting. They just come up with something they want to create.
But, you should use marketing to drive your business to either incrementally or exponentially grow sales. And if that’s not what your marketing team is doing, then there is a big problem with that marketing. They should be in your heart what you need to do in your company.
Test your team’s engagement ability
This is one thing that every good salesperson does. They literally would go to marketing and say here are my top 10 accounts that I need to close this year in order to hit my quota. And when they list out the top 10 accounts and say, show me ways that you as a marketing team can help me engage the number of people. We now would like 10 to 18 people and show me ways you can help me engage with these 10 accounts. Chances are, if you have a smart marketing team, they will do things and figure out a way to do that.
But that’s how you figure out is that going to help me or just giving me air cover for accounts that don’t even care to sell? That is one question that very few salespeople ask. And every time they do they actually get good responses and results from it. At a minimum, you would know if you have a good marketing team or not. But if they can help you with that, you are actually going to exceed your quota
Marcus: I am bouncing it back to marketing, because the lack of alignment and collaboration between sales and marketing is criminal, and is a subset of marketing. So let me start with that. Why is it so that a few marketers speak to customers? That is an absolute crime.
Sangram Vajre: Marketing needs to be compensated just like sales in a way where they actually have either caught up or do like a salesperson. But there got to be a bonus structure set up for marketing. And because the KPIs and metrics are not aligned, they are just two different goals. That is the only fundamental challenge that I still don’t understand how to talk to.
Set quarterly bonus for marketing people
For instance, why are we having a different goal for marketing than sales? And companies should say to the marketers that you are going to get a big fat bonus at the end of the quarter. Give that bonus every quarter and that’s another big lesson I learned. The yearly bonus is too long, and it’s too different.
Give the bonus every quarter when marketers hit so and so numbers, which goes across the entire revenue, top line, expansion, and process all of that, you actually make a bonus. I don’t understand why CEOs and leaders don’t actually force that.
And if you are a good marketer, you will force that because you’ll actually make a lot more money. But no, you have to go to a different company. But the reason they don’t talk to customers is that there is the lack of incentives, the pressure that marketers face creating product marketing stuff, a case study, an Ebook, a webinar, they are just tactical. It starts at the top.
Resolve Communication Issues
Machel Hanson: I think it is a communication issue more than anything. The age-old debate says marketing leads are rubbish while marketing says sales aren’t closing any other leads, but often, there’s no detail that’s put into it. So if you are a salesperson, you tend to say that marketing leads are rubbish. But do not say that, and instead, say that tells them why the leads rubbish? Are they not qualified? Are they not the right size companies? Is it not the right persona? And also if you create a bit of content, can you do our high level we’ll tell a story?
So this week, I was speaking to a customer and he basically had these pains. If we had a blog or a case study around that pain point, it would have helped tell us. On the other side of your marketing, speak to people close to you every week and say, what are the takeaways you had from your calls? This is because your account executives or salespeople are having about 20 demos of your product. They are on the front line with customers. So, they are going to know what the pains are, what they need to have, and what content they need for us to sell. It is a communication issue that I have seen at different organizations.
Sangram: But is it a communication issue? I would challenge that. Instead, I would more like to measure a KPI, like not measuring the same success. Communication is an issue overall. But without the right alignment on what success looks like, the communication is all over the place. Now once you agree on what success looks like. and then still, there are communication issues. I’m with you on that. But I wonder if you think where do you rate that?
Machel Jason: This is just sales management with the sales team, like Marcus was talking about, you can just look at the KPIs like the productivity, number of calls, number of LinkedIn messages, and number of emails. You can also look at qualified meetings and pipeline close deals.
But, until you listen to calls and speak with your sales team and coach them, you are not going to know where the real issues are. It is the same between marketing and sales. They are often just not aligned in sales and do not understand the content marketing and producing your marketing is making the wrong content, because they are not understanding who the customers are.
Marcus: I think this is a cultural issue. It starts with leadership. More often than not, what you are getting is a disconnect. What you measure happens, what you don’t doesn’t, but way too often, various cultural chasms, between sales and marketing. And what we should do is start with the customer. And everything that we do starts and ends with the customer. They are at the heart of everything that we do, we exist because of them, not in spite of them.
Prospect for Future
We should be spending our time listening to speaking to a customer, getting their feedback, and learning what it is that they are doing. I interviewed Chris Danon, and he made a vital point. He said that when your prospect, you should be prospecting for five years in the future, not today, and not to hit this month’s quota, but five years down the line.
When you are looking at future customers, you should be looking at getting customers for life, to be thinking five years down the road. And that’s where the starting point of all of this goes wrong. It’s way too transactional. And more often than not, in tech, certain companies that are being driven by private equity and VC, venture capital, are driven to stupid behaviors and horrific management practices.
Jason Bay: It is a communication issue as well. I work with a lot of mid-market companies. And the companies that I work with, they have no communication. Oftentimes, what I’ll do is I’ll say, hey, if we got marketing products and sales, let’s just get a couple people from each team and get six people on a call, and marketing. What did you learn about what copy works best in the ads this week or month, and sales development? What did you guys learn about what subject lines had the highest open rates and just that the start of the collaboration?
KPI Conversation Matters
You can get a groundswell effect going toward, and have the KPI conversation.
I just like the KPI conversation. It is like working with the companies I work with. In my experience, it’s such a hard place to start. This is because so much has to change in that company’s culture.
When there are people on the sales and marketing teams right now, they can start working together and helping each other. So, that is my angle on it. I tried to look for the path of least resistance. This lets marketers can help sales development folks. Let us just get them talking right now and see how they can collaborate and help and like, anytime we do that the prospecting always gets better.
Know The Customer
Sangram: I have just seen work tremendously that allows this communication to happen without necessarily having a call that is forced. One thing that we did start is we would bring a customer in the office, now on Zoom for the entire company. We will do an all-hands with them. And the part of that conversation is wanting to get to know them. This is not about how they use our product, which automatically comes in that conversation but just to get to know them as a person.
Have Closer Interaction
So, all the departments such as the payroll department who are sending them invoices, the person who is creating features, and the person who’s actually marketing and sales are summoned. They all hear from what would Julie, the customer, do, and it would become the conversation for the next meeting and marketing team. This is because Julie came in as a customer, and she shared telling that she likes or hates this, drinks wine, and loves to watch these types of movies.
When she sees an alert coming from sales inside in Terminus that makes her day. You got a feeling that now everybody for the next almost three to four weeks can use that as a question every time they are stuck. And that one thing, that one strategy, was our best marketing strategy we created. We had that internal enablement of knowing who our customers are, and what drives them has changed the way we think about them. The words we use also matter as we everybody heard those words. It is just an example to fix communication.
Designhill: How to choose a better channel partner or distribution mechanism?
Marcus: First, do not treat your partners like a get-out-of-sales free card. The channel is not a free sales resource. It’s not the Jinja head’s illegitimate and ugly stepdaughter of direct sales. It’s your fastest route to hyper-growth and international expansion if you do it right.
So, the first thing is, make sure you look in the mirror first. Are you a good partner? Are you set up to help them to succeed? People are in business for themselves. Your partners don’t wake up in the morning thinking, oh, I want to sell Terminus. They wake up in the morning thinking I’ve got targets to hit. I’ve got kids to feed, and I’ve got my own objectives. And you happen to be part of that process, perhaps.
Be relevant to partners
But you have to be relevant. So, the first thing you have to do is get your own house in order. Hire the latest graduate into the channel. At the end of a week, you might have had to wear 90 different hats and be a referee to other people’s children. And so, make sure you understand why your partners are in business.
Make sure that there is a good fit and before you start working with them, watertight upfront agreement as to how you are going to work together. Is their CEO, the only person in that company who sells is more technical than sales? What kind of relationship are you going to establish with them? Make sure that you serve and treat them as equals. You should have a proper accountability process and a cadence of regular communication.
Deliver value to your partners
The problem is that most channel partners receive a call from a vendor that what do you got for me this month, nothing great. I’ll speak to you next month, and all they are is an interruption to their day. So, every time you pick up the phone with your partners, you should deliver value. The only currency that you have is influence and trust. Make sure you have earned that trust. Do not forget that they have spent 10-15 years establishing customer relationships.
Machel Hanson: But when it comes to channel and partnership, so it actually goes back to the ideal customer profile. So great partners are people or companies that have the same ideal customer profile as you. This is because it is very easy for you to refer to each other’s business and it’s a two-way relationship. You should never just use channel people that they will refer me to business. You have to help them as well.
Build A Network
But the second part is a network. You actually create a network of people who are all together. I know, for example, both Cloud Task and Growth Gennie, my current company, sell to sales and marketing leaders. So, I’ve always tried to build a network with them. That is not just necessarily service companies or software companies anyone that we speak to, and then you build a network.
For example, I know that Terminus is a great marketing leader and sells to marketing leaders as well. That would be a great partnership for us to have. So, that is what you want to think about. Do not just think about your own ideal and customer profile, think about their ideal customer profile as well. That is where you are going to have a lot of success.
So, follow these tips from the marketing and sales experts. Make sure that you review your strategy in light of the suggestions offered by the experts.
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