Today’s leading Global B2B Enterprise CEOs and CMOs target two specific areas for increasing top-line revenue and profitability:
- Tightly aligning Marketing with Sales revenue goals.
Traditional Marketing metrics of website visitors, email opens, time on website, MQLs, etc. remain important indicators in funneling qualified leads to Sales. The top key metric now for successful B2B CMOs is contribution to revenue.
- Adopting Value-Based Selling
C-suite executives, including the CFO and CSO, understand today’s customers are more knowledgeable about a supplier’s company background, products, features and pricing by accessing information online via vendor websites, social media and industry analyst reports. Customers and prospects want to hear from supplier sales teams the financial value your offering has delivered to typical companies in the same industry. Your CFO justifiably expects average discounts by sales will be reduced when presenting “Customer Value” for strategic and new products especially. CSOs expect targeted content from marketing addressing the “right messages, at the right time in the sales process, to the right stakeholders” with simple to adopt sales tools.
Unfortunately, many B2B Enterprises are clinging to traditional feature and benefit type presentations developed by marketing in static PowerPoint decks of 40-50 slides thinking that’s best for sales. According to Aberdeen Research, when B2B sales teams were asked how marketing can best help their sales efforts, 52% responded “differentiation in messaging and sales presentations to tell a better unique story”. Corporate Overviews are accomplished nicely on your website so please don’t expect the sales team to satisfy senior buyers with a repeat of what they already know.
A B2B Enterprise sales process is lengthy, requires expensive sales resources and 60% of the time ends in no decision. So qualifying customers early is critical for winning sales opportunities. Aligning marketing and sales with Value Selling have proven sales cycles are reduced, competitive wins increased and average discounts lowered by presenting customer value. SirusDecisions states, “B2B organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales achieved 24% faster revenue growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period.”
3 Ways How Marketing Contributes to Growing Revenue and Profitability
- Create Winning Value Propositions for Sales Presentations
Sales teams desperately search for winning success stories, competitive presentations, and any proven ways their peers have achieved success with customers or prospects. Value Propositions communicate to executive buyers how typical existing customers in their industry have achieved tangible financial results, such as, reducing costs, increasing revenue and/or mitigating risks. By focusing on the typical financial outcomes for our other customers, supplier sales teams establish early credibility and enable collaborative customer conversations.
- Create a Repository of Value Propositions
According to SBI, 59% of a sales reps’ time is spent on searching for content and other information to prepare for customer calls. Cloud technology allows marketing to store updated value propositions which are easily accessible on-demand by worldwide sales teams. Reps using value propositions are more confident going into senior buyer meetings knowing peers have successfully qualified a new opportunity, eliminated a competitor, or closed a deal using this same value proposition.
- Collaboration with Sales Teams and Product Management
A tight closed-loop communications process is normal for successful collaboration between marketing and sales. Marketing provides an added benefit to sales by working closely with product management communicating results from sales, customer reactions, competitive pricing data, and more. Value propositions are readily improved with new information and data from actual customer meetings and product managers gain consistent feedback about what customers like (or not) about a product or service offering. Many times product managers positively assist in the sales process when requested by sales teams to communicate directly with customers on a specific technical issue that swings the opportunity to a win!
The process sounds simple, however, it works only if marketing and sales keep it simple to create and adopt. CSOs and VP of Sales have little interest today in sales enablement projects requiring months of effort, pulling reps in for training, changes in sales process, etc. Time is of the essence to compete. The best results by leading B2B marketing organizations are achieved by testing a single winning value proposition for a specific key product and making it available to a small group of sales teams. It helps if a sales management advocate is a willing participant and when a respected presales systems engineer is on board. After all, have you ever heard a sales rep reject an opportunity to use the same winning value proposition that closed a $500,000 deal for Joe or Mary?!