Having left Microsoft some years ago, I've kept myself occupied by offering industry best practice sales advisory services to ICT SMEs.
I've always been a typical "sales guy" - Sales did all the heavy lifting, Marketing MAY provide us with some leads, but you can't rely on them.
The more I interacted with modern buyers, however, the more my views changed.
It's no longer about "Marketing generating the leads and throwing over the fence to Sales". Even an old sales dog like me recognises that Sales & Marketing need to work together - and further they need to align with the new buyer's journey.
Such was my conviction - I put my sales managerial consulting efforts in my back pocket, and joined forces with Carpe Diem Consulting to leverage their IP around aligning Sales & Marketing with the new buyer's journey.
Disruptive forces in the ICT marketplace
While Cloud Technologies are creating huge opportunities for B2B ITC businesses to preach the transformation message, it also provides some significant challenges for them. While exhorting their customers to Transform, they struggle to DISRUPT their customers, causing them to go on a cloud transformational journey.
Customers need to go on a transformational journey - and ICT channel members have many methodologies to take them on that journey.
The problem I discovered? ICT Partners lack the Sales & Marketing "smarts" to disrupt their customers' thinking, to give the transformation journey a "kick start".
Transformational outcomes = Sales and Marketing alignment + Disruptive SellingTM + the B2B Buyer Journey
It has become a business-critical issue to crack the solution to genuinely integrate Sales and Marketing functions to address the way that B2B buyers buy today. At Carpe Diem we see it like this:
We need to help our customers to disrupt THEIR customers' thinking, so that they will even consider this transformational journey.
Benefits of Disruptive Selling™
- Ability to start new buying journeys at will ("I can feel a target increase coming on!")
- Being seen as a trusted advisor - as opposed to a sales rep - for showing prospects better ways of running their businesses
- At the point of status quo shattering, we have exactly zero competitors - our favourite number!
- We stop prospects fruitlessly going down a path of self-diagnosis - which they may get wrong, or indeed never realise they need to traverse.
SMarketing is not enough
The concept of Integrated Sales and Marketing has existed for years - often known as “SMarketing”.
I see organisations that appear to understand the benefits of:
- Truly integrating the Sales and Marketing function
- Getting ahead of new B2B buyer behaviours
- Enhancing their profile and credibility
- Building pipeline and improving close rates.
Some have started the process but many have not realised within their own transformation they are hesitating.
I see many of these businesses undertake:
- Disruptive Sales training (of various flavours)
- Business Insight workshops
- Productisation of existing offerings
- Defining Unique Value Propositions etc.
This is very reassuring but the issue is they are viewed as isolated activities and without a structured, cohesive plan to embed them into the business they fail to realise the benefits.
Speaking recently to someone in Sales in a successful Managed Services provider - the sales team had undertaken a Challenger™ sales training program and were ready to take their new found skills on the road. They had hired a marketing co-ordinator and, prior to this, invested a whole day of the entire Senior Leadership team’s time in a professionally facilitated business insights workshop. They had identified their differentiators, value propositions, gaps in offerings and recommended industry focus.
Unfortunately that is where it has ended.
The output from the insights workshop is sitting on a shelf somewhere. The sales team is back in the fray with no collaborative activity with Marketing to create disruptive messaging to fuel the new approach. There is still no formal FY19 Sales and Marketing plan…business as usual.
You need a plan
The trick isn’t just grasping and agreeing with the concept of integrated Sales and Marketing functions. It’s about having a plan to implement change and transformation in the business - and having the will to make it real.
This is why I’ve joined forces with Carpe Diem. Bruce and I have worked together over the years. He and I are completely aligned around bringing Disruptive Selling™ and sales and marketing integration to life within the day to day business of these teams - not just simply teaching and preaching it. Bruce has turned his years of experience into valuable IP that can be shared with ITC businesses to gain immediate traction and build pipeline with highly qualified leads.
For my part, I've developed a simple Sales Environment Assessment to see where you are now, what's working for you and what are your priorities.
Get your FREE assessment
Would you like an objective review of where you're at? It will take no more than 10 minutes to answer a few questions. Using your input I can build a chart that identifies the opportunities to optimise your team's performance.
Complete the survey today and I'll be in touch shortly to work through the results with you. What have you got to lose?