Sales and Marketing are your two primary tools to expedite your growth.
These tools work hand in hand to produce your best sales results. Although both tools have been around for decades, marketing outpaces direct sales calls, in terms of producing your best growth results nowadays.
According to DuctTape Marketing a 'cold call results in about a 1-3% (2%) success rate for getting an initial appointment and it's generally abusive to both parties." Vorsight says that "at any given time, only 3% of your market is actively buying." With buying cycles being affected by the complexity of adding new or replacing existing products, in one's total solution. Forrester's Reseach says that "nearly 2/3 of B2B marketers identified engaging key decision makers as their top challenge." Which I can attest to. If you get an audience with someone in a company, you're most likely getting an audience with one person of the buying committee, or someone who reports to the committee, and not the decision makers in total. "An average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions in a company of 100 to 500 employees according to Gartner Research. And you can calculate up and down from here, to estimate how many folks would be on these committees in larger or smaller organizations. Truly, what are the odds of calling on a company and having a discussion with the right person, at the right time, about the right solution, when they are ready to buy?
Ages ago, a salesperson could call on an owner or operator of an organization. Today decision are made by committees. Plus, buyer's "believe that sales reps are 88% knowledgeable on product and only 24% on business expertise" ( Corporate Visions) Buyer's want to solve business problems, not listen to how their product works. Buyer's are looking for a partner in the success. Someone they can trust and who can help them solve problems. If only it was a simple as a porduct. Good sales people ask questions, learn about a prospect needs, develop a dialogue, identifying where, how or if your products resolve their issues. My experience is that this is a process, that can take time to accomplish.
Salespeople who develop new leads and new sales have their challenges to sell anyone's products. I've watched organization give sales people six months to bring in new sales, letting them go if they haven't hit "their dream quota in thier dream timeframe". To me, this completely unrealistic and does harm to a prospects relationship with your company. How can a trusting relationship be built between your comany and a buyer, if the rep keep changing? Upselling an existing customer can be significantly easier than developing a brand new customer, as the buyer already has trust in your company, products and/or your salespeople. Good sales leadership, training, support and listening to the sales person challenges will go a long way in improving your sales results. Sales knows what your buyer's think about you, your products and your company.
If we agree that new sales development is complicated, then what can you do to increase you closures? "Companies that nurture leads, make 50% more sales at a 33% less cost than non-nurtured leads." Forrester Research. What is a nurtured lead? Lead nurturing is the process of developing a relationship with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel and along the buyer's journey. It focuses on marketing and communications efforts, related to your prospect's needs through providing information and answers that they need. Companies who nurture and use "lead management, see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months." Gartner Research. Businesses using marketing automation (a lead nurturing tool) to nature leads, experience a 451% increase in qualified leads." Annuitas Group. Of course, statistics like these don't deliver the same result for everyone but they do deliver imporved results. "Companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate" (CSO insights).
Regardless of the exact numbers, it's safe to say that lead generation and good communications with your leads will bring you better sales, which is ultimately the goal of every company. First, you have to have a database of prospects, customers, and new leads that you'll be developing content for. Develop your messaging with your sales professionals, as they know your prospects thinking the best. Qualify the industries and the needs of these prospects. Define their business challenges, identifing as much information as you can about them, so when you send content it is related to their interests. Be selective on what you send to whom.
Marketing isn't telling the prospect what you want them to know. It's talking to prospects about what they want to know! A sales person who shows up and throws up what they want to tell, won't get another appoinemt and they will hit your spam filter in seconds. I used to unsubscribe to data that annoyed me. Today. I block it. I don't have time unsubscribe! Plus half the time I still get what I unsubscribed to.
According to Jupiter Research 95% of buyers chose a solution that "provided them with ample content to help them navigate through the stages of buying" Relevant email click-through rates impoved by 14%" (Aberdeen Group) and "personalized emails improve click-throughs rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. Personalized emails including the recipient's first name in the subject line have higher open rates." (Retention Science). There are many ways to increase the likelihood of lead or prospects reading your content. But unless you are actively marketing to your prospects through a compelling lead nurturing system, you are leaving money on the table. There are also many ways to garner good leads.
Your website must also be up-to-date, continue to be relevant, stay active and be compelling because "57% of a buyer's journey is completed before they even talk to sales!" (Corporate Executive Board) In fact, buyer's are genearlly well educated before they get to your sales person!
In sure that sales and marketing work together to make things happen for you. Sales knows your customers concerns, what motivates them to and what. Marketing messages are designed to deal with issues, manage concerns, alleviate fears, turn around objections and convince your prospects to trust your brand and your products. There is a "67% better closing ratio when sales and marketing teams are in sync." (marketo)