No matter how much value comes from the design quality of a company’s products or services, the fact is that “products don’t sell themselves”. Knowing how to build a sales and marketing campaign is as critical for engineering leaders to understand, as knowing how to build the right product or service for the right market.
Paul Nerger, veteran sales guru, industry fellow and Applied Innovation Institute Chairman, regularly shares his sales and marketing expertise in our engineering leadership programs. Paul suggests that a sales campaign should be designed with a few particular aspects in mind. The key is to start backwards or at the end, with the customer, and understanding the “buying” behavior. For example, if your goal is to sell 10 units of product for $100K each ($1M in product revenue), you have to work backwards to understand each of the buying steps that need to happen. That list of steps might include a) showing interest in the product, b) watching a video, c) speaking to a sales person, d) deciding to buy, e) going through legal, and f) delivering a signed Purchase Order.
For each of these “buying” steps, there is a corresponding marketing or sales activity. To continue the example, “a marketing advertisement” might be used to generate the “interest for the product”, and a follow-up e-mail may result in “watching the product marketing video”, which may result in a “sales contact call” and so on.
In the video clip below, Paul describes the design and modeling of a campaign. Although the model is only an initial hypothesis of the sales process, it’s incredibly valuable because it provides an estimated sales cycle (time to sell the product to a new customer), the cost of sales (i.e. how much will it cost you to sell $1M of product), and what can be done to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the sales process. The model can be continuously improved, as you accumulate more information on the likelihood of proceeding from one step of the sales campaign, to the next.
As you examine the model and process, you will see that a greater degree of sales and marketing integration is a possible outcome of developing the model. You can also see that a wider funnel with more leads is more expensive and less effective than a narrower funnel of more qualified leads. Follow the model described by Paul and do this exercise:
a) For a product or service that you are selling, develop a model for the campaign to sell a target number of initial units.
b) How many people do you have to reach initially, to achieve your target?
c) What is your anticipated cost of sales and your anticipated sales cycle?
d) Where can you get the data to increase model accuracy?
e) From the model, can you identify what marketing activities are required, what sales activities are required, how many marketing and sales people you will need and how the marketing and sales people should coordinate with each other?
For greater detail, and an extended version of Paul’s video, please follow this link – The Science of Sales Long Version