The New B-to-B Fundamentals (1,907 words)
Therefore, the focus of most marketing activities (and budgets) should be to measurably acquire customers, grow the customer base and retain customers. Marketing increasingly will share these goals with the sales group, thus for many companies, marketing will become part of sales.
This is particularly true for small- to medium-size B-to-B companies. But even large companies need to rethink the role of marketing to achieve substantial productivity gains. Large firms, with salesforce headcounts numbering in the hundreds if not thousands, cannot continue to afford the cost associated with fielding such a large number of salespeople whose efficiencies are fast declining.
Mind the Gap
The gap between marketing and sales is best exemplified when it comes to the area of sales leads. Marketer's say, "We sent good leads to the sales force, and they went into a 'black hole'—we have no idea of what happened." Salespeople will retort, "We got another bunch of lousy leads from marketing—I picked out the ones that looked promising and tossed the rest." This gap and resulting inefficiencies in the inquiry-to-sales process cannot continue for companies to meet revenue projections.
Closing the Gap
Now that we're aware of the gap between marketing and sales, and that it needs to be bridged, the real issue is how to do it. There are many entrenched processes and traditional views of how sales are made. The assumptions need to be squarely addressed and clarified for marketing and sales to combine forces effectively. Here's a five-step approach that not only will close the gap, but also identify specific activities required for success. This process is critical because there are many different B-to-B market situations. No one solution will fit all of the product and service value propositions, so any new sales coverage model must be customized to a company's unique market situation and business model.