Call me an optimist, but in my opinion there has never been a better time for marketing to directly impact sales productivity. I'd even go so far as to say that we're experiencing a "perfect storm" for this opportunity - i.e., "an actual phenomenon that happens to occur in such a confluence, resulting in an event of unusual magnitude". Wikipedia More specifically:
- Over 45% of the buying decision today (i.e., for large purchases) is being made before a buyer even says hello to your rep. [translation: marketing plays a much greater role today in influencing the buyer's journey, and it is incumbent upon us as marketers to better equip reps for this new buyer 2.0 reality] (click here to learn more about the buyer's journey)
- Sales organizations are struggling to make more informed investment decisions, however, in many cases they lack the data and core competencies needed as part of this process [translation: marketing, your internal "customers" have a clear pain point that can be addressed by the "products" and "solutions" that you've been trying to offer them for years]
- Sales organizations are beginning to put in place Next Generation Sales Operations teams to drive greater improvement in sales productivity, taking a more strategic approach than in past years [translation: marketing, you now have a "buyer" that is interested in what you have to offer and is willing to collaborate with you at the intersection of marketing and sales - i.e., strategic planning, lead/pipeline management, sales enablement and customer intelligence for sales
- At no time in history have we had so many applications focused on improving the interaction between marketing and sales in a more automated and productive fashion - bringing value to sales reps(and channels) in addition to management.
Opportunity #1: Sales Resource Planning
- Sales is plagued with a lack of information to help them make more informed resource planning decisions. (e.g., overall staff investment, local staff allocations based upon market share and growth) Marketing is in an ideal position to add value here. For example,
- Reach out to your VPs of sales in each region to determine how the market segmentation data you are already buying from IDC can be leveraged to help identify the number and mix of sales teams at the local level
- Provide your VPs of sales with an opportunity to tap into your marketing analytics team for a territory planning exercise. (start with one region.. .or better yet, one country as a pilot test and a way to demonstrate impact)
- The most productive sales organizations have shifted their traditional account planning process into the next generation of account planning. . . . . . one which taps into the intelligence of their entire company and ensures that the account planning process is dynamic and supports more tactical opportunity management activities throughout the year. Be there for your sales organization as they make this transition. For example:
- Insert your team into sales’ annual planning and regular opportunity management processes, providing in-depth market and customer intelligence that is targeted and relevant to them.
- Provide share of wallet data to help sales identify the greatest potential for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities