DLT Solutions' Christine Schaefer on the Benefits of Cross-Training Your Marketing Team
TM: How does DLT determine what its sales goals are? How are the expectations for them incrementally increased? What is marketing asked to do to meet those goals?
CS: The sales division leaders set their revenue goals for each fiscal year, calendarized. They then share that information with marketing, which uses historical conversion metrics to determine the number of leads needed at the beginning of the sales cycle in order to achieve the sales goals.
A strategic marketing plan is created and tactical marketing activities entered into the system to calculate lead forecasts. If the forecast is insufficient to hit the lead generation goals, then the plan is adjusted and additional tactics are added to the plan. Similarly, as the campaign is under way, actual results (for example, Web hits) for individual activities are compared against predicted outcomes. If there is a shortfall, the campaign is then adjusted again to ensure success in achieving targets. Post-campaign lead conversion is monitored in real-time through the sales process to evaluate campaign effectiveness. Data on lead conversion from direct marketing campaigns that underperform are used to determine whether that campaign will be repeated again. Because the DLT marketing team is supporting multiple sales divisions, various campaigns and activities are starting and stopping at different points. Typically, campaigns run from three to six months. Because of the length of the sales cycle for most DLT products and services—whether it's Autodesk, Oracle, Google or any of our other brands—campaign effectiveness typically can't be measured until at least that much time has passed.
With thousands of marketing activities being completed by the team throughout the year, I have found that treating the marketing department like a factory (with input/output forecasting, real-time monitoring and production changes) has made their results very consistent in our lead generation from direct marketing. Leads are generated and processed through the sales cycle at a steady rate with rare peaks and valleys.