The marketing lead conversion rate is not even close to a 30% revenue contribution. You double-check everything you’re doing; and find no root causes on your end. If you are like most CMOs, here’s the problem: You’re way ahead of Sales. The competencies required by Sales for Marketing to be successful are just not there.
Does the CSO/VP of Sales even understand how Marketing works? Does he or she understand the competencies required to support the new buyer?
Something needs to change for sales to benefit from your marketing programs. This means that a new set of competencies is required. Social prospecting, technology proficiency and content production are just a few. Download the complete list of 10 sales competencies required by reps for marketing to be successful.
The Last Mile of Lead Generation
How can you expect to close the “last mile” of lead generation? The plain fact is that the rep is a sales caveman. Accepting a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and maximizing the value requires new competencies. For most “A” player sales reps, this is how they continue to make the number. If you’re like your peers, only 30% of your company’s reps are “A” players. That means 70% of the sales team is unable to maximize the value from marketing.
There are many root causes for poor lead conversion. You need a way to identify the sales competency gap that’s causing your “last mile” conversion issues.
Before You Meet with the Sales Leader
Download the 10 sales rep competency requirements and review them. Then walk into the CSO’s office and have a frank discussion. Find out how the sales leader feels. Has the sales force kept pace with the market? Have they acquired the necessary modern competencies?
To be confident when walking into the CSO’s office you need solid evidence. Start with an audit of the sales team’s LinkedIn profiles and activities. Have they set up their profiles to reflect both their personal and the company brand? Is the profile set up based on your buying process maps? What’s the quality of the contacts in their network? Are they even connected to their customers? Have they tagged the connections in their network to reflect the personas you built? Have they leveraged their network to create referrals within new logo accounts? The audit will confirm that your hypothesis is valid. The sales team is not evolving at the pace of marketing.
Getting the Most from Sales Cavemen
As CMO, are you treating sales like cavemen? You should. Sales people are simple. Incent them correctly and you get what you want. Mis-align incentives and you get nothing. Help them sell more, and you gain adoption. But if you waste valuable selling time, you will certainly alienate them.
It turns out that the best CMO must also be a great salesman. You’ve built the Cadillac of marketing programs; now the challenge is to gain field adoption. This means that getting Sales to use the tools requires you to be the best salesmen in the company. Perhaps you’ve rolled out marketing automation, a new collaboration tool like Jive or Chatter or even a new CRM. Whatever the case, these solutions require the sales team to evolve to maximize your investment.
Your Situation is Unique
No two sales forces are alike. The depth and breadth of rep competency levels can vary widely. The specific sales competency requirements depend on your current sales evolution status. Here are 3 common sales transitions that impact the last mile and require an evolved sales team.
- Transition of Legacy Sales Force: Too often companies maintain the same sales force when launching new products or going beyond the legacy products. They cling to the folks that got them where they are today. In many cases they delay the tough decisions and it costs them their job. If you’re implementing a modern marketing program with a legacy sales force, you’re wasting money.
- New Vertical Expansion: The goal is new logo acquisitions from an untapped vertical. This requires the ability to perform social prospecting extremely well. Your efforts to launch marketing campaigns into a new vertical are at risk. Unless the sales team has strong social prospecting capabilities, you won’t see the close rates you need.
- Selling through the Channel: Let’s face it. The loyalty of most channel partners is dwindling. It’s an uncommon partner who will lose a deal instead of switching to a competitive solution. Brand loyalty is rarely the channel partner’s strong suit. This requires marketing and sales to get closer to the end customer. Social referral generation is an essential competency to sell through a partner. Your success in marketing directly to end users depends on an evolved sales force. If the sales team can’t generate social referrals, the marketing ROI will be unacceptable.
Take the Next Step
Download the 10 competencies required by sales for marketing to be successful. Also, I invite you to sign-up for our 7th annual research tour: “How to Make Your Number in 2014: A Sales Strategy You Can Execute.” There is only 1 week left to secure a spot. Participate and learn what marketing requires of sales to Make the Number in 2014.
Take the opportunity to learn more about what your peers are doing to make the number. If you have any questions or concerns contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll spend 30 minutes walking you through the Sales Rep Competencies required by Marketing and why you can’t be successful without them.