Waste and Inefficiencies in B2B Sales and Industrial Marketing

Posted by Ed Marsh on Sep 22, 2016 8:15:00 AM

 

3 Counterproductive Obsessions

The inbound marketing movement has led to lots of interesting discussion around sales approaches. That's understandable - after all, as buyers have more tools at their disposal to self serve and avoid sales people, it's reasonable that more than marketing needs to change. Foresightful companies are creating a continuum of prospect experience with an inside sales person as the quarterback.

Traditional silos of PR, marketing, field sales & customer service will be melded together into one complimentary revenue growth team. (For more background check out this 10 minute narrated picture book and this presentation on a prospect buying continuum.)

That's a tall order though. Org chart changes have to be CEO driven - and most of the work I see underway in companies is intra vs. inter departmental. In other words, the marketing department recognizes they have to adapt to digital and undertakes to do so. But the sales department, with a different perspective, leadership, and priorities continues down their narrowing path.

That's creating lots of waste and inefficiency - and companies can ill afford either.

While I see many examples of waste, three pervasive obsessions exist. These include:

  • Pipeline
  • Process
  • Checklist 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, b2b, smb

The Opportunity Cost of Outdated Non-Performing B2B Sales Channels

Posted by Ed Marsh on Aug 16, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Nice Folks to Drink a Beer With...

If you work with reps or distributors, you've probably got some channel partner teams that look more or less like this. They're good people, honest and loyal. In fact they've probably been representing your products for 20 years or more.

Most firms are basically a couple industry veterans who are coasting toward retirement. They have a rolodex (in many cases, literally...still) full of industry contacts in their territory. Many of their contacts are also coasting toward retirement.

You've probably ridden many miles with them between sales calls over the years, sharing stories of family and hobbies. You've stayed in the same well-worn motels and eaten mediocre chain restaurant meals together. You're buds. You've earned your service stripes as partners over years of hard work.

Recently, they may have brought in some young blood - perhaps a child of a founder - in hopes of keeping things going.

This was an awesome business model in the 80s & 90s. You probably made good money together.

But it's no longer a business model - you, your rep partner and their contacts are from a different era. These are legacy relationships with very low future value.

 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, b2b, smb

B2B Team Buying, Complex B2B Sales and Status Quo

Posted by Ed Marsh on Jun 9, 2016 11:15:00 AM

 

"Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."

You've heard that expression - and if you sell capital equipment or other complex B2B solutions you understand exactly what it means. Engineers and finance folks often feel safer going with the traditional solution. It may not be favorably priced and may not offer the best performance or highest value. In fact it may be a mediocre solution to the problem they have. But if it goes badly nobody can ding them for an experiment that put the company at risk.

Compared to that, if someone tries a really creative and untested solution and it goes really well - they're just doing their job. But if it goes poorly (and eventually one will) they're in a world of hurt. This isn't new - it's the traditional inertia that favors incumbents and market share leaders in B2B sales.

But that's the old inertia.....

 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, b2b, smb, global sales

Stories of Success and Struggle - SMB Global Sales

Posted by Ed Marsh on Apr 14, 2016 10:00:00 AM

I recently had an article on SMB global sales growth published on allBusiness. The original article appears here.

Key points that it covered included the huge potential for inbound marketing to "de-risk" the export process. Companies can now collect and interpret data which guides them in market selection and prioritization to ensure that resources are optimally allocated. That overcomes one of the largest traditional hurdles to export success - the huge speculative investment companies have traditionally made to enter and test a market.

 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, smb, global sales

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