- Executing for Marketing Excellence in 2011 by Rich Vancil
- Start – or accelerate – your social business transformation
- With communication cycle-times dropping and the purchase decision influence continue to shift to buyers, a shift to "social business" is imperative for your success
- 41% of businesses have already implemented an enterprise social software solution
- Focus on building "peer-to-peer" connections, not "vendor-to-customer"
- Make a deeper investment in intelligence and operations
- Drive marketing operations and market intelligence initiatives and investment down through the organization, across the business units and into the regions
- Better establish and govern the processes for sales enablement and data quality to improve sales intelligence and their ability to leverage insight and resources.
- Build a better budget (IDC CMO and Sales Advisory clients should refer to IDC's combined marketing and sales investment benchmarks data)
- As marketing budgets recover, allocate new investments with the needs of a new reality – digital marketing is here to stay, and is only increasing in its ability to drive awareness building and demand generation; and greater alignment with sales will require continued investment in campaign management, sales enablement and lead management extending into what has traditionally been considered sales' domain
- Building the Intelligence Sales Organization by Michael Gerard
- Listen to your buyers:
- Technology buyers indicate a desire to reduce their buying cycle time by 40%
- Two-thirds of the delay between desire vs. actual buying cycle time is the result of buyers' internal funding and decision-making processes; however, vendors' sales teams can impact this part of the delay!
- Drive sales to be more strategic by investing in a next generation sales operations team which focuses on: 1) sales strategy; 2) productivity; and 3) automation
- Team with marketing, your learning and development organization and IT to close gaps in sales intelligence – customer intelligence for sales and sales enablement
- Push the limits on sales performance measurement (refer to IDC's Directions presentation for detailed operations staff profiles and benchmarks data)
- Establish a sales analyst function to better measure sales productivity
- Improve data quality with the aid of other parts of the organization
- Analyze the sales pipeline, rep performance and the impact of sales productivity improvement initiatives to facilitate strategic and tactical decision-making
- The Sales & Marketing Automation Imperative by Gerry Murray
- Investment in sales and marketing automation continues to increase as companies recognize the value of technology in adapting to new market realities
- However, sales and marketing need to better align across their own teams as well with other parts of the organization to create a more holistic experience for customers (e.g., marketing, sales, finance, services, support)
- Your company should establish a customer data czar, with team members in sales and marketing, to execute and govern data quality processes
- Evolve to a more comprehensive sales enablement platform (i.e., beyond a content portal) centered on integrated customer experience management
March 21, 2011
IDC's best and brightest analyst teams were in Boston and San Jose for IDC Directions during the past two weeks to present their latest insight and guidance for creating the global intelligent economy; focusing specifically on the impact of social, mobile and virtual technologies on this vision. Morning speakers discussed how to position for the third wave of IT industry growth driven by mobility, clouds, big data and intelligent industries. In the afternoon, one of the many tracks included presentations by IDC's Sales and Marketing Advisory team about the vision of the intelligent sales and marketing organization and the key success factors required to achieve this vision. A few key take-aways from each of the presentations in this track are provided below:
Clients of IDC's Sales Advisory Service and CMO Advisory Service should contact us for a full overview of any of these areas as well as access to our latest research schedule and listing of published research.
Please do provide any comments on this topic below or reach out to us to participate in upcoming sales and marketing research.
March 11, 2011
I was fortunate enough to be a Day 1 Keynote speaker for Selling Power's Sales 2.0 conference in San Francisco earlier this week. With almost 500 attendees across sales and marketing, a great line-up of speakers and topics and good representation from the sales automation space it was an event not to be missed.
Key sales-specific themes based upon Day 1 of the event:
Key sales-specific themes based upon Day 1 of the event:
- New sales automation technologies continue to increase the potential for companies to drive productivity improvements across sales.
- However, sales organizations are only just starting to put in place the organizational structure, skill-sets and processes needed to better leverage these technologies; and to be a more strategic contributor to companies' successes.
- Sales' continued collaboration with marketing at key intersection points will greatly facilitate improvement of companies' customer creation processes and buyers' experiences. (e.g., lead management, sales enablement and competitive intelligence)
- Jennifer Rakiey, Sr. Business Operations, Mercury Computer Systems, described how she has leveraged Qvidian's sales playbook technology to improve sales productivity at Mercury.
- Jennifer presented Mercury's SF.com "ecosystem", including all of the SaaS vendors that they utilize for different sales and sales operations needs (e.g., iCentara, Qvidian, Cloud9, Oracle as back-end, etc.) [Great to see sales operations developing a current view of all of their current applications and associated vendors. Good first step for assessing gaps, reducing redundancies and creating an automation roadmap for the future vision.]
- Mercury has embedded Qvidian within their SF.com deployment, enabling sales reps to follow specific steps within the sales cycle in an automated fashion. Reps get value from the process by ensuring that they're following the necessary steps of a successful sales process, and they're exposed to strategically placed assets and coaching wizards during the process. Sales managers can then track their reps' progress across opportunities within the pipeline.
- Mercury's use of Qvidian has given their first line sales managers the ability to understand what stages the reps are at, analyze that data prior to weekly meetings, and give them the ability to have more targeted conversations with sales reps based on facts vs. only hearing reps' "stories".
- Mercury serves as a great example of how Qvidian can add value to reps' selling processes and sales managers' management efficiencies. A good question posed by Gerhard in a later session was right on target. . . "Are sales playbooks more liberating or confining for sales reps?" [As with many of the best questions, the answer is 'it depends'. . . on the company's use of playbooks, their value and relevance to sales reps and the level of maturity of those reps.]
- Session: Accelerate Sales and Streamline your Processes with Smarter Sales Metrics (moderated by Gerhard Gschwandtner; panelists included-Brian Frank, Head of Global Sales Operations, Linked-In; Tyler Sloat, CFO, Zuora; Kamlish Gandhi, Dir. Global Deal Ops with Brocade)
- Brian has had to rapidly focus his sales teams on the more important sales metrics and related SFA reports. One somewhat unique metric tracked by Brian: pilot conversion rates.
- Tyler: "we like that Xactly (sales compensation vendor) ties to salesforce.com: We want sales reps to 'live' in SF.com" [Good goal to reduce the complexity of sales reps' lives: Minimize the disparate applications that they need to go to throughout their "average" day = productivity improvement]
- Tyler: "One metric we track and pay on is "cash collection'". [With cash management being one of the greatest challenges in a smaller company, this sounds like a good strategy for Zuora; however, do you really want your sales reps spending their time with collections vs. your account receivable team doing this?]
- Kamlish: "We've built in a margin component for sales analytics"
- Kamlish: "I tell my team, don't produce any metrics or reports that won't get consumed. Therefore, we determine upfront what our sales leaders/stakeholders need from a metrics perspective." [Nice strategic thought by a sales operations team!]
- Kamlish: "We leverage 'rear view mirror' metrics to identify trends; however, we don't depend solely on these metrics for our strategy." [More forward-looking metrics I suspect being used at Brocade include forecast data, sales pipeline related information, etc.]
- [Not a lot of unique metrics discussed beyond the more traditional financial metrics; but some great process-related issues were brought to the forefront. Refer to IDC's Sales Performance Measurement Study for a framework of unique sales and sales operations related metrics. Clients of IDC's Sales Advisory Service have full access to this study.]