Sometimes it doesn’t make any difference how much sugar you add to something it won’t change the outcome. Sprinkle a little or a lot of sugar on bull and it won’t change the taste; you can’t make it into candy. You have to start with meaningful ingredients. Let’s take sales lead management (yeah, I know it’s a stretch, but read a bit more).
C-level managers want to spend only enough on marketing to make forecast. That’s it. Anything more from their perspective and the money is wasted. CFOs and CEOs only have a hint of an idea on branding. To them branding is just another way for marketing to spend money without being held accountable.
For most companies adding a CRM and Marketing Automation System to the sales process is like sprinkling sugar on the problem. They know they need to do something, and heck, everyone else is doing it, but managing sales leads crosses so many department barriers that it resists change. Even the best CRM and Marketing Automation Systems can only do so much. Why is that?
We all agree that the fundamental purpose of a company is to create a customer
As Peter Drucker said, “A company’s primary responsibility is to serve its customers. Profit is not the primary goal, but rather an essential condition for the company’s continued existence. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.” That can only come about when marketing or sales creates a demand for the company’s products (when all else fails quote the master).
Creating and managing a customer when they have raised their hand and shown an interest, whether from a salesperson’s cold call or a marketer’s lead generation program will succeed or fail based on one single criteria: unfailing follow-up. Failure to sell is ultimately based on the old sales saw that says,
“All things being equal people buy from people they know,all things being unequal, people buy from people they know.”
If you fail to follow-up and start a conversation it isn’t a surprise when you lose the sale.
75-90% of all customers who seek information from a company are never followed-up with anything more than a brochure or an email. And yet the typical B2B product takes from 3-6 touches (conservatively) to turn someone into a customer.
To create a culture of unfailing follow-up requires a mandate from management to both sales and marketing, tracking systems (CRM) and information delivery systems (MA). Companies that have a 100% inquiry follow-up can cut their marketing budgets by 50% and still increase sales within 90-120 days. Marketing Automation programs are inexpensive tools (sugar) that provide insurance for lead follow-up when the salesperson fails.
Take a solid lead generation program that delivers qualified leads, mix in rules for 100% sales lead follow-up by salespeople, a CRM system for tracking and accountability, and sprinkle a marketing automation program into the mixture and you have the ability to create a customer at a faster rate than your competitors.
In this case you’ve sprinkled sugar on the process and it does come out as candy!