The New B-to-B Fundamentals (1,907 words)
3. Marketing efficiencies also have decreased, evidenced by declining response rates for direct mail, e-mail and advertising. On the telemarketing side, connect rates have dropped. Business people are too busy today to respond to or even hear marketing messages.
4. Therefore, the cost of acquiring customers has increased at a faster rate than price. These trends and pressures will not disappear and, in fact, are just a continuation of what has been occurring all along—you just didn't notice. The big question is: What can you do to stem the tide, and improve sales and marketing productivity? How can you sell more and spend less?
A New Sales Coverage Model
Cutting-edge companies are moving toward a "new sales coverage model." Instead of organizing sales and marketing separately, forward-looking companies are fully integrating them in a much more productive and accountable way. The primary media for this sales coverage model are the four targetable contact media of e-mail, mail, telephone and face-to-face, which are now deployed across all customer life-cycle phases.
I purposefully have not mentioned advertising, since most B-to-B companies cannot afford to get their message to their target market using general advertising. And I'm also not ignoring activities such as trade shows and public relations. However, these tactics mostly are "surround sound" and can't reach specific individuals in targeted companies with relevant messages and offers. Only the four primary direct media can deliver on this objective.
Marketing Will Become Part of Sales
To suggest that marketing should report to sales is a strong statement, but to meet the demands on revenue growth and profitability, more activities need to be measured by their affect on sales. Marketing departments largely have been given a free pass in accountability for sales results, but I think those days are coming to a close.