I don’t think you can do without a marketing/prospecting model in the B2B space. Others, like David Skok , have written about the topic in detail, better than I ever could. I’ll add this to the conversation through… There are corporate efforts that can benefit both the sales and marketing teams.
Content is, by far, the biggest thing. I don’t know how far a company can go anymore simply on the brute force of cold calling and it’s marketing equivalent: advertising. Content is more sustainable, cheaper in the long run and builds trust with the audience. In the 1970s when Hare Krishnas walked around airports giving out roses which in turn increased donations, they demonstrated the power of gifts.
Articles, white papers, webinars, videos, infographics are all gifts prospective clients enjoy/seek.
Cold calling and advertising are still part of mix. Sometimes you need that boost; that short term influx of leads. But whether it’s marketing or prospecting, there’s more impact calling someone offering a gift than calling for a sale.
The content game has gotten tougher. There’s more out there than ever before. The content needs to resonate. That’s where definitions come in.
At the core both the sales team and the marketing team need common definitions of what a lead is, what a warm lead is, what a hot lead is and what an opportunity is.
In my experience this is the toughest thing to accomplish. Some just want to execute, others love the theory a little too much. A great coach is the best person to lead this. I say a coach, because the best analogy I can think of is a sports one: the definitions, how you identify where a prospect lies and how you bring them closer to a sale is theory – it’s the game plan, the team’s system. A good execution only happens when the team members follow the system.
Whether they’ve been prospected or found by marketing, some leads go cold. Instead of dropping them, engaging them in an automated process of emails and other reach out points, can help convert them and reduce the strain on the sales team. That process is 100% scalable.
As Jeffrey Gitomer says,
“All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.”
Work on getting the two teams to be friends. They’ll buy more from each other. It’s better they both point fingers at the system and its flaws than each other.
Prospecting and marketing go hand in hand. Work on supporting both.
(Photo credit: Hilde Skjølberg)