As CMOs and agency executives, we thrive on marketing complex solutions to sophisticated Fortune 500 buyers. But regardless of the engagement generated by our social media campaigns or the number of eyeballs following our b-to-b videos, someone—most likely from sales—will still need to pick up the phone and get on a plane before a multimillion-dollar contract gets signed.
As marketing becomes ever more user-centered, engaging sales in our planning process is an increasingly critical factor for turning new-media campaigns into revenue growth.
Sales opportunities generated by today's marketers are different from back in 2005, when YouTube was just getting started. A prospective buyer will likely have interacted with our brand, pushed our message to her peers and we may even know how long she spent watching a commercial. In the right hands, this customer insight is the key to signing new business.
But these relationship-enthused leads frequently, and frustratingly, end up as a random list of names in an Excel spreadsheet that gets follow-up with the same excitement as a cold-calling list rented out at 10 cents a name.
Still, it doesn't have to be like this. New-media marketing creates unmatched opportunities to turn b-to-b campaigns into the measurable sales increases that make us all look good, whether we're an agency, CMO or the guy waiting by the fax for the purchase order to come through.
Sales attributed to b-to-b marketing campaigns can be maximized with three simple insights:
1. Expand the scope of your conversation. When planning a campaign, think about the conversation all the way from the first point of contact through to the new client coming aboard. Too often, we create amazing market dialogue but our creative thinking stops with the prospect filling in a Web lead form.
2. Educate sales. It's much easier for someone to close business if they understand how, why and when a prospect first responded to a campaign; with today's marketing technology, that intelligence is sitting at our finger tips.
3. Reuse and repeat. Premium brand assets like interactive video are usually retired after a few months on a company's home page. New-media marketing collateral has huge potential to be reused in sales calls and for high-impact meeting follow-up. What would you rather receive after an introductory meeting with a new supplier? A dry PDF languishing in your inbox or a passionate TV interview with their CTO addressing questions you raised during your meeting?
Integrating marketing and sales has never been easy, but the rewards in 2010 for collaboration are greater than ever.
Mark Dorosz is the CEO of Knowledge Screen. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.