Thursday, March 23, 2006

Field Activated Marketing Excellence

Will Marketing and Sales Ever Get Along?

In one company after another, it seems sales and marketing departments spend more time fighting turf wars with each other than in winning new business. Even if company executives recognize the problem, attempts to correct the misalignment fall short. As counselors to many companies over the years, the fact that each department mistrusts or wants to one-up the other is too often a reason for the failure of marketing programs.

Research by the California-based Aberdeen Group indicates that as much as 80% of marketing expenditures on lead generation and sales collateral are wasted because these efforts are ignored by sales. There’s a significant lack of trust in the tools that marketing departments provide their sales teams, evidenced by the fact that many salespeople reportedly re-create their own materials. Typically, they spend 40 to 60 hours a month re-creating customer-relevant collateral material, research showed.

Field-activated Marketing Support

Field-activated Marketing Excellence is my way of creating trust and cooperation between marketing and sales. Marketing assigns managers to work with sales reps. Weekly communications. Account prioritization. Value-added services from marketing direct to the sales reps in the field. Continuous feedback to marketing from sales. It really is a simple solution … but difficult to make work if attitude and spirit are not positive. Both groups have to accept the fact that without cooperation, they are both doomed to failure.

The goal is to make sure all marketing programs produced get active support in the field … or know the reason why not. The goal is not to assign blame, but to get problems fixed.

Each week, after the marketing managers talk with their assigned sales reps, all the marketing managers meet to look for systemic issues and to develop campaigns that address field opportunities. The pipeline is reviewed and prioritized accounts get special attention –marketing works to help the sales rep move each prioritized prospect faster through its buying process.

Consistent definitions for lead prioritization lead to a common vocabulary.

As criteria are defined, the pipeline report and sales forecasts get increasingly more accurate. Campaigns work, or the Field-activated Marketing Support Process will find out why the failure … the problems are fixed and the next campaign works more effectively. The minutes of the weekly FAME Team Meeting are distributed to everyone involved – this written record increases accountability and allows managers to review progress or problems over time so they can lend their experience and improve processes.

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