Why Marketing and Sales Need to Work Together

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter For some reason there’s always been a disconnect between sales and marketing, and for the life of me I can’t understand why they can’t play nice. After all isn’t the objective of both is to increase sales? I recently read an article in Duct Tape Marketing, Counseling the Marriage Between Marketing and Sales to Generate Revenue that got me thinking of why they should work together towards the same goal. Most of the journey your contractors take is already over by the time they speak with a salesperson. That’s a tremendous opportunity for marketing to influence the sales process and dovetail together in creating a seamless experience. Here’s an interesting  statistic: 57% of the buyer’s journey is completed before the buyer talks to sales, according to Gartner. Prospects know more about you than you know about them. Mutual Expectations 12896read more >

Why aren’t sales leads followed up?

Today we have a guest post from Russ Hill, Founder of Ultimate Lead Systems. How often have you heard sales people say leads generated by marketing are just “literature collectors, college professors, students, lookers or tire kickers?” Or, “I don’t have time for sales lead follow-up.” Or the sales manager who says, “I know my sales people are following up. They just don’t have time to provide feedback.” I’ve worked with many companies over the years that made lead follow-up an imperative with their sales forces. In every case where it was required it yielded significant and profitable results reporting hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars in sales. There is much discussion in internet groups about “aligning marketing and sales” and lead follow-up is a critical part of this discussion. 12136read more >

Not Real, But Reality

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter By now, if you have a presence on social media, and are involved in sales or marketing, you’ve seen this: Well, bad news. "Fourth" isn’t spelled that way The National Sales Executive Association doesn’t exist There’s no study to be found that supports any of these statistics There’s a great blog here that goes in to more detail. But I’d rather focus on something else: Why do we want this to be real? 11937read more >

Call Reports & Sales People…the Reality!

OK, let’s get real about sales people for a minute. Sales people want to make sales calls. They want to make calls on qualified leads and on profitable customers who can generate sales and compensation. They are like gunslingers interested in the “quick kill.” You hire them to sell and that’s where you want them to spend their time.read more >

How to Help Your Sales Team Quote with Clear Guidelines

This post originally appeared on INSIGHT2PROFIT.com Does this sound familiar? A new customer promised they would place a $30,000 order, but only at an average price per unit of $0.16. The sales rep ran the requested price through their internal process, and because $0.16 was above the required 20 percent margin, the sales rep approved the discount. End of consideration. But here’s where the story gets interesting. After looking at the average price points for the top 20 customers of this product, the pricing manager determined that significantly bigger customers – with purchase volumes in excess of $100,000 – were paying $0.18 to $0.22 per unit on average. In fact, the third largest customer, at $468,000 in volume, was paying a $0.22 average sale price. What was the justification for the lower price for the smaller customer – other than the fact that the customer simply asked for it? For many companies, pricing decisions are largely made in a vacuum, without regard to pricing data, market circumstances, product value or customer differentiation. The situation is usually exacerbated by a compensation structure that rewards revenue and volume over margins and profitability. The solution, therefore, typically requires a completely new mindset for the sales team and organization—one focused on margins over top-line revenue. It All Begins with Pricing Data Visibility The beauty of the role of data in pricing decisions is that it lends an important clarity to difficult choices. A sales rep is naturally inclined to want to make the customer happy. But if you are armed with the right data, you can not only rationalize why a price discount might be a poor decision, you can also provide informed alternatives the sales rep can present to the customer – providing an opportunity for the sales rep to save face, the…read more >

Managing Pricing Exceptions in Sales: Employing the 80/20 Rule

This post originally appeared on INSIGHT2PROFIT.com It’s a common knee-jerk reaction for salespeople to focus on increasing volume by offering discounts on every sale – even if it means sacrificing margins. One way to mitigate the risk of excessive discounting is to establish a pricing system that balances volume incentives with well-defined boundaries that sales staff must operate within. Ideally, in an effective pricing system, the framework should provide guidance for as many as 80 percent of sales. This guidance should consider a comprehensive range of factors, including the type and size of the customer, the market and the nature of the opportunity. The direction should be clear and unequivocal, providing sales staff with “guardrails” that establish minimum and maximum prices or margins. Sales staff can bounce between these guardrails as appropriate, but they should not be allowed to go above or below the established boundaries. For the other 20 percent of sales, be prepared to manage the pricing exceptions. For these outliers, the framework allows pricing managers to enter the conversation and work with the sales staff and perhaps even the financial team to develop a strategic price appropriate for a specific situation. By limiting exceptions to no more than 20 percent of the time, you’ll be able to equalize the competing interests of volume versus margin far better than a one-size-fits-all pricing system. Sales staff will still have the flexibility to manage the majority of sales on their own, allowing them to meet the needs of specific customers as well as their own particular quota goals. But the boundaries you set will prevent those individual goals from overriding your company’s high-level goals. Every business is different, so the 80/20 framework that’s right for your organization will depend on the type of selling you do. If your business is list-price driven, your…read more >

Are You Using Content Marketing to Understand Your B2B Audience?

If you're into social media, you're doing it with a purpose in mind. You have a story to tell and you want to tell it to a certain type of person. But when you're developing you content do you ever consider at what stage your reader is at in the buying cycle? By segmenting your content to include all stages of a buying process(awareness, consideration,evaluation and purchase) you'll be sure to hit all your potentials at their stage in the buying process.read more >

LinkedIn Webinar: Best Practices to Get the Most out of this Networking Tool

The LinkedIn Webinar shows the ins and outs of LinkedIn for businesses. The Webinar shows manufacturers and marketers how to harness the power of this social media tool by teaching how to grow contacts, join groups and use it to promote your thought leadership and ultimately generate leads. If you are in sales, customer service or general management, LinkedIn knowledge is a must in the toolbox of business tools.read more >