Erratically swerving to avoid obstacles. Narrowly missing collisions. White-knuckling your way through the unknown.
Am I describing what it’s like to be trapped in a car driven by Mr. Toad?
Or are these the feelings of a business owner who does not have a sustainable revenue generation system in place?
Trick question! It’s both.
Mr. Toad, if you are unfamiliar, is the impossibly reckless driver in The Wind and the Willows. His dangerous driving style even inspired a ride at Disney.
Sitting in the passenger seat when he is at the wheel is anxiety-inducing and easily escapable: Don’t get in the car.
Your business is a different story. There is no quick fix for the panic you feel when you lose a client to natural attrition and don’t have a new one to replace them.
The anxiety of making the wrong hiring decision won’t disappear with a snap of your fingers. Your frustration that you never seem to make progress with sales and marketing, no matter what you try, is a long-standing feeling.
Honestly, you should look skeptically at anyone promising rapid solutions to those problems, because you’ll likely get a set of activities to implement when you need a proven process.
Finding a lasting solution starts with adopting a B2B revenue generation mindset.
The Lead Generation vs. Revenue Generation Mindset
A lead generation mindset sounds logical. Bringing in new business requires generating B2B leads, and lead-driven organizations can succeed. However, when you narrowly focus on leads, you blind yourself to obstacles and miss business opportunities.
Obstacle and missed opportunity: Leads do not automatically convert
Prospects who reach out to you are either in the late stages of their buy cycle or desperate for a solution.
A nurturing marketing strategy captures prospects earlier in their buy cycle. As they engage, salespeople follow up, build relationships, uncover unmet needs, and close leads.
Missed opportunity: Marketing plans focused on net-new leads ignore clients
Meetings with prospects detail all the ways you help businesses like theirs. Your prospect selects the services they need at the time and becomes a client.
Then they promptly forget all the other solutions you offer. Unless you remind them, you forfeit opportunities in existing accounts.
Educate and nurture clients.
When your marketing plan addresses prospects and clients, you:
- Maintain a healthy pipeline
- Strengthen current relationships
- Uncover opportunities in existing accounts
Obstacle: Parallel teams
It’s undeniable that:
- Prospect outreach is more effective when the sales team reads the campaigns Marketing develops.
- Marketing writes stronger custom content when Sales shares what they hear in prospecting calls.
These logical, basic truths are often ignored because people take the difference between lead generation and prospecting to the extreme. While they are distinct tactics, you should not run the departments as parallel teams.
Integrating sales and marketing is at the heart of each guiding principle of your revenue generation system.
3 Guiding Principles for Your Revenue Generation System
1. When you market intentionally and optimize efficiently, you get seen.
Intentional marketing gets the right solutions in front of a receptive target market. Email lists are segmented. Web pages are SEO-optimized for specific keywords. Social posts speak to target decision makers. Ads focus on key prospect issues. All enable you to write tailored, on-point messaging that generates awareness and interest in your company.
Optimize each campaign using data and input from the sales team.
Look at key metrics, the language used, and the results of A/B tests to find effective messaging for your target markets. Sales provides feedback and a distinct perspective, based on what they hear during prospect and sales calls.
2. When you market intentionally and sell consistently, you get heard.
Your tailored marketing plan adds opportunities to the pipeline. Sales outreach continues the conversation Marketing started and increases conversion rates. Prospects are listening and your pipeline grows.
Have reps review marketing materials before calling or emailing leads.
This familiarizes them with the specific pain points the prospect responded to first. When they reference these issues on the call, your salespeople quickly grab and keep the contact’s attention.
3. When you sell consistently and optimize effectively, you get traction.
Consistent sales process makes your team’s efforts more predictable. From cold calling through close, they know the sales approach to follow to maximize results. Conversion rates and opportunity win rates increase. Your pipeline is full and healthy.
Establish your sales process.
Define the sales process that works for your company and target markets. Implement systems and develop tools that make your sales process more efficient. Set expectations that provide guardrails so your team knows when they’re on or off track.
All 3 principles are essential
1.Target market visibility alone does not guarantee conversions.
Marketing efficiency is constrained when there isn’t a follow-up process in place, because even the most qualified prospects may not convert on their own. According to marketing guru Ryan Deiss, only 3–5% of prospects are ready to buy now and will take action on their own. A conversation with Sales is a necessary part of bringing on new clients.
2. Seeing is not the same as hearing.
Remember that saying about how you never notice the billboard with the car on it until you need a new car? You pass that billboard every day. You look at it, but you don’t pay attention.
Prospects do this with marketing all the time.
They pay attention, but they don’t necessarily recognize a need. Sales moves contacts from passive observation to engaged prospects, qualifying they really have a need, then opening their minds to where their businesses would benefit from your company’s help.
3. Optimized sales and marketing are effective, but only if you have the right mix of strategies.
Marketers reach hundreds or thousands of people with one email.
A salesperson reaches one person with one email.
But do you know if those emails are the right message or the best communication method?
If you focus only on activity optimization, but ignore marketing and sales strategy, you’ll do whatever activities you select well, but may not have the best process, tools, or team for your company.
Answer These 3 Questions To Build a Reliable Revenue Generation System
1. Are you appealing to your target market?
I mean this in three senses of “appealing.” Does your target market want to work with you? Does it have pressing needs your offerings solve? Are you targeting the right audience with your messaging? Here’s how to find out.
Step 1: Talk to sales.
Identify the top 2–3 problems that prospects are grappling with right now and want to talk about.
Step 2: Honestly evaluate your solutions.
Determine if your products and services solve the problems your sales team described.
If yes …
Move on to marketing and analyze your strategy and campaigns based on what you heard from your salespeople.
If no …
Dive deeper. The misalignment could be caused by:
- Marketing appealing to the wrong target market
- Marketing and/or Sales targeting the wrong audience
2. Do you follow an established sales process?
Pay close attention to the wording of the question above. It isn’t “the established sales process”; it’s “an established sales process.”
Company A and B could be nearly identical when it comes to company size, their target market, and the solutions offered. But they have completely different sales processes. Both can be equally successful if their respective processes are:
- Repeatable and work for the company
- Followed by the entire sales team
- Supported by the CRM (and you have metrics for it!)
7 actions to establish a sales process for your company and get traction
- Train reps on How to Cold Call and Sell Consultatively.
- Document and enforce your process.
- Be consistent.
- Create an annual sales and marketing plan.
- Review and refine your annual plan every quarter.
- Identify and track key metrics.
- Hold everyone accountable for their goals.
3. How do you analyze and optimize efforts?
Regularly conducting thorough analyses of your sales and marketing eliminates problems that emerge from “Set it and forget” systems. If that sounds tedious to you, consider two ways you impede progress when you don’t monitor and update processes.
Example 1: Zero Sales Hunters apply for your job opening.
Your sales job postings receive zero interest from top-tier applicants because you have an unclear commission structure with a low base salary. The resulting sales team is full of average performers, not the skilled sales hunters who make an immediate impact on an organization.
Example 2: Spam filters kick you out of the inbox.
Spam filters ensnare your marketing emails because no one is paying attention to the latest email deliverability best practices. Your target market remains unaware of who you are and what you do. It’s difficult for Sales to set meetings and few prospects want to engage in meaningful dialogue about your solutions.
It’s not all about metrics
Benchmarks are a useful way to spot problems and hold people accountable. But numbers only tell part of the story. Alongside metrics, you want to pay attention to outside market forces (like what job seekers want and how email systems are screening emails).
Observe workflows with a critical eye.
Look at where you regularly miss goals and examine if your processes are no longer effective.
One workflow that is never effective is letting Sales and Marketing exist in silos.
How Sales and Marketing Silos Block Success
Sales lacks critical information
One of our sales coaching clients is continually frustrated with their internal marketing team because they don’t share information Sales needs to succeed.
Marketing will run webinars, without telling Sales about the event. When the event is over, the marketer gives Sales a list of participants to follow up with but doesn’t share any information about the event.
Even the most talented sales hunters cannot succeed under these circumstances. The reps might hit on a similar theme but, most likely, they’ll rely on their own messaging, and that can be perplexing for prospects.
Inconsistent messaging confuses prospects
Sales has a prospecting message it thinks will work. Marketing has marketing messages. When they aren’t in alignment, this creates confusion for prospects who hear and see both but can’t easily grasp what you do and why they should work with you.
How to foster alignment between Sales and Marketing
Alignment is a two-way street (hopefully, Mr. Toad is not on the road). Sales and Marketing are equally responsible for creating a collaborative, supportive environment.
Marketing is responsible for:
- Strategizing with Sales
- Sharing marketing plans and campaigns
- Soliciting input with an open mind
- Preparing Sales for their role in event and campaign activities
- Providing support for MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads)
- Sharing marketing metrics with Sales
Sales is responsible for:
- Planning strategy with Marketing
- Sharing target market knowledge
- Requesting campaigns and content, as needed
- Assisting with tweaking content
- Involving Marketing in Sales meetings
- Sharing marketing follow-up results
Misalignment between Sales and Marketing manifests itself in many ways, and all point to weaknesses in your system.
Signs You Have a Weak Link in Your Revenue Generation System
Close analysis is the best way to diagnose problems in intertwined systems. You may think you have a visibility issue only to discover that you have no problems getting impressions on social media, yet no one clicks through from your posts – AKA You are seen but not heard.
You aren’t getting seen if you have:
- Low website traffic
- Low visibility on social posts
- Low open rates on email campaigns
- Unawareness among contacts in your primary target market
You aren’t getting heard if you have:
- Low conversion rates on your website
- Low MQL to SQL conversion rates
- Impressions, but no clicks or likes, on social media
- Opens but no further engagement in email campaigns
- A weak sales pipeline
You aren’t getting traction if you have:
- An inconsistent sales pipeline
- Poor sales conversion rates
- Few inbound leads
- Low win rates
Break Through Commoditized and Saturated Markets
Marketing with intention, selling consistently, and continually optimizing maximizes the impact of your sales and marketing strategies.
Sales and Marketing speak in a cohesive, powerful voice. Your well-defined solutions and refined messaging differentiate your organization from competitors. Your sales team converts and closes new opportunities while also identifying more. The consistent focus on optimization of your sales and marketing organization, processes, and skills allows the whole company to evolve and grow.
You stand out, even in saturated and commoditized markets. This is the power of the Revenue Generation System.
Drive Your Business Forward With a Sustainable Revenue Generation System
You are not Mr. Toad’s helpless passenger. You can implement a sustainable Revenue Generation System and take the wheel of your own car.
Work with sales and marketing experts
If what I outlined above is daunting, let’s talk. At KLA Group we meet you where you are in your revenue generation journey to take you to the next level.
Consider us your passenger with the map. You’ve laid out where you want to go; we help guide you along the way. As long as you want support, our experts will serve as an extension of your team implementing, coaching, training, or consulting based on your needs.
Call us today and steer your way into the future with a sustainable revenue generation system.