Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

Looking in the Wrong Place for Sales Performance?

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Sep 06, 2011

In the past year we have generated hundreds of inbound leads using our HubSpot system and I've noticed an interesting trend that I thought I would share. I have come to realize that many sales and marketing leaders are looking in the wrong place for sales performance.

Many of the leads I receive are from individuals around the World, who either want to know more about WhiteboardSelling or are interested in our marketing messaging ideas, or in inbound marketing and HubSpot and how we have perfumed using HubSpot over the past couple of years.

Advanced Marketing Concepts- Inbound Visits to Leads

visit to lead graph

We also get a healthy number of leads from senior sales and marketing leaders in technology and service companies, both large and small and from all life-stages, some of whom are looking for ideas to improve sales performance.

They see whiteboarding as a potential tool to help close more sales....which it can; whiteboarding when done well with a clear value creation story that revolves around the customer is an excellent tool for improving close ratios. 

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Qualifying Inbound Leads

My sales qualification process starts by identifying the individual on LinkedIN and visiting their Website. This is often very revealing. In a couple of seconds I can usually tell if they have an inbound lead generation problem and I follow this gut feel with a more accurate assessment of their propensity to generate inbound leads with a Website Grader report. 

I have found that there is a high correlation between sales executives wanting to know more about WhiteboardSelling and who convert into leads by completing a form for a download - and an under-performing Website, which is often the root cause of the lack of quality and quantity of leads problem.

This is a cause and effect problem and I believe many sales executives are looking in the wrong place for sales performance improvement. The effect is weak sales and poor sales conversion...the cause is weak quality leads as a result of unclear messaging and a weak Website.

 

Weak Sales is often a Symptom of Weak Lead-flow

 The real problem that creates the weak sales effect is often upstream in marketing, caused by weak inbound lead-flow. Weak inbound lead-flow is usually caused by a combination of the following four factors.

  1. An ineffective Website
  2. Outdated outbound marketing thinking and process
  3. Poor alignment between sales and marketing
  4. Weak messaging and unclear customer value proposition
Weak inbound lead-flow means sales people have to waste their own time sourcing their leads by cold calling or networking, or working leads of dubious quality sourced through telesales.

In a recent survey of executives in Global 500 companies published by Andy Moorhouse, the biggest sales challenge is in creating value.

 Survey: Most Important Sales Development Areas

  1. Identifying new ways to add value for the customer
  2. Moving from ‘vendor’ status to become a trusted adviser (x2)
  3. Gaining access to executive decision makers
  4. Getting involved earlier in the customer's decision making process
  5. Transforming reps from information providers into ‘value creators'

Advanced Marketing Concepts Sales Performance Model

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Take-Aways

  1. Sales Performance is a complex and multi-layered problem and there are no magic bullets.
  2. The process starts with clearly identifying how buyers use your products to create value and by identifying buyer issues that you can help address with your products and services.
  3. When you have created this messaging framework, it needs to be flowed into your Website as part of an inbound marketing lead generation strategy...to help generate quality and quantity of inbound leads
  4. When you have created a clear value creation message, converting it into visual storytelling and enabling the sales team to tell your story on a whiteboard, flip-chart or back of a napkin will help your sales team gain confidence to move up the value chain and engage buyers in conversations around their issues - earlier in the sales cycle.

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Topics: inbound marketing, sales and marketing alignment, sales performance, whiteboarding

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