Lead to Money: Seven Tweets Underscoring Crucial SPM Lessons
By Peter Ostrow
Vice President and Group Director, Sales Effectiveness, Aberdeen Group
I’ve just returned from the C3 conference, which saw an enormous increase in social media commentary, wisdom and connectivity compared to the 2012 event. Everything was about the growing footprint of Sales Performance Management platforms and practices, particularly the great customer panel in which three practitioners cited below help me present a flesh-and-blood complement to Aberdeen’s deliberately more anonymous aggregated end-user Sales Effectiveness research. Among the many re-tweets, the following concepts stand out:
- 10% of US buyers take a second meeting with their seller. So where are the 90% of dollars going? This speaks to sales funnel management, and the linear, uni-directional flow of leads and opportunities that under-performing companies mistakenly manage. Best-in-Class firms are better at sending unfilled leads and unresolved pursuits back to marketing, for re-engagement and nurturing. When marketing and sales are aligned to the point that opportunities can be moved fluidly up and down the customer engagement funnel, everyone wins.
- Sales is the communications channel of choice for the most complex conversations, when other channels are insufficient. Sales is the most expensive channel you can throw at your prospective customer, so use it wisely. But be sure to value the power of this personal interaction early enough in the marketing/sales-aligned outreach, to build emotional connections. And don’t assume that once sales is engaged, that marketing’s job is done: for long sales cycles, the prospect needs ongoing reminders of the value you hope to deliver, from sources other than their sales rep. This includes social, of course: facts tell, but stories sell, and if you have passionate customers, they represent the potentially most lucrative communications channel in your toolkit.
- 19% of buyers enjoy their interactions with Sales: food for thought. Buyers want to be educated, not molested. Take a hint from all this social media activity with which you are engaged at this moment: if you teach someone something, they appreciate how you improve their life in some small way, and may seek to buy from you. And buying is always better than being sold.
- “Our competitors use our own sales comp issues to recruit our people away.” – quote from a sales comp survey. My recent research report “Motivate, Incent, Compensate, Enable: Sales Performance Management Best Practices“ shows that it costs over $36k to replace a typical B2B sales rep, as well as 7.3 months to hire and onboard them. With even the Best-in-Class companies reporting a 22.4% sales turnover rate, it’s crucial to minimize the hard and soft costs of losing reps to involuntary turnover. This means clarity and transparency in compensation plans, payments and dispute resolution need to be top priorities.
- “The ‘marketing shoving stuff at sales’ era is over.” In the old days we lugged brochures to shows and tossed them out at the end of the event, hoping that marketing would develop a better message in the next revision cycle faster. Today’s Best-in-Class enterprises use deal rooms and sales content management solutions that empower sellers with choice – assets and messaging they can easily tailor for individual accounts and deal pursuits – as well as a feedback loop to help marketing continuously hone their output to support what matters most…the customer. Thanks to Diana Weigand, Global Sales Enablement Director at Motorola Solutions, for her insight here.
- “Find yourself in the balance sheet.” You’ll know how successful you are. Panelist Anubhav Saxena, HCL’s SVP/Global Head of Marketing, provides this simple but spot-on validation that everyone in the enterprise should consider themselves culpable for driving revenue. If you’re in sales, it’s obvious; if you touch the customer in any way, it makes sense. But even back-office folks have responsibility to help maximize the health of the entire organization – it certainly will come back to reward them in due time.
- 28,000 hours saved per year? Well worth a trip to Vegas. Brian Greenberg, Director of Compensation for Verizon, implemented a remarkable sales commission transformation, turning from an IT-heavy homegrown system supporting over 6000 payees, to a commercial offering that easily handles the 2 billion daily pieces of order entry, quota, territory and CRM data required to get sales staff and partners paid accurately and fairly. That’s billion, with a B. The 28k in hours – not to mention the documented $17M in ROI – stem from a dramatic reduction in errors, disputes and overall friction that keeps sellers from selling, and companies from succeeding.
Ostrow, P. (2013, May 8). Lead-to-Money: Seven Tweets Underscoring Crucial SPM Lessons. Aberdeen Group Blog. Retrieved from http://blogs.aberdeen.com/customer-management/lead-to-money-seven-tweets-underscoring-crucial-spm-lessons/