Whether you are new to your marketing role or have been leading marketing teams forever, you have probably built an overwhelming list of marketing duties and responsibilities wondering where to start.
I would suggest that you always start with your highest order objective, and for most marketing leaders that objective is to identify and qualify prospects for your company’s solution. Every decision should align with that goal to ensure that your marketing team, the sales team, and the overall company are successful.
Once your main driver is clearly defined, consider these important steps to build a marketing system for prospecting to your target market. Following these steps will help your team better target prospects and qualify more leads for the sales team to convert into customers.
Salesperson is Striving for 1 of 3 Outcomes
When you are building your marketing system, you need to understand the mindset of a salesperson. This way, you can build your system to generate leads that give the sales team a greater chance of success.
Essentially, a salesperson is looking for one of three outcomes when engaging with a prospect:
1. Secure a meeting. Now the sales process can begin. However, there may be other circumstances that prevent this from occurring.
2. Good fit, but wrong timing. The prospect has been qualified for your solution, but the timing is off. In this case, the individual should be handed back to your team to be placed in a nurturing campaign to stay top-of-mind with periodic outreach calls and emails. Then, when the timing is right, the sales team can re-engage with the prospect.
3. The prospect is disqualified. Unfortunately, the salesperson determined that the prospect is not a fit for your company’s solution and no longer needs to be pursued. Perhaps your team did not gather enough information to make this determination before handing off the individual to the sales team. It’s important that your team note this information in your marketing database to ensure that you build complete profiles.
For the sales process to flourish in your company, you also need to understand the sales team’s process for reaching out to prospects. This way, you can help support the sales function when building your marketing system.
The Most Important Prospecting Elements to Consider
The sales team in your company should have an ideal cadence for reaching out to prospects. This is critical to increase the likelihood of conversion and helpful to measure the success of their activity.
Also, by having an established plan, the sales team can make controlled changes manipulating variables. They can also test theories over time to identify the most effective process for converting prospects.
How does the sales team arrive at their prospecting cadence? They consider four important elements that you should also be aware of when building your marketing system.
1. The complexity of the solution. There is a massive difference between selling a $2,000, $20,000, $200,000, or $2.0 million solution. The greater the value, the longer the sales lifecycle. This requires prospects to understand the nature of what your company is selling, the sales team to understand the length of the buyer’s journey before making a purchasing decision, and how these factors come together to impact the frequency and nature of contacts with the individual.
2. The prospect’s level in the organization. The sales team will pursue a CEO much different than a mid-level manager within a larger organization. When your team is building the prospect’s profile, it is essential to identify the role of the individual in the organization. Otherwise, the strategy will be misaligned with their position, decreasing the opportunity to convert the prospect into a new customer.
3. The size and complexity of the target organization. Targeting a large enterprise company is much different than targeting a small business with 10 or fewer employees. Both companies might require the same solution, but in order to build an effective plan to reach individual prospects, the sales team needs to consider the size and complexity of the organization.
4. The industry being targeted. The prospect’s industry will dictate the method and frequency of contacts. How the sales team targets a local restaurant is much different than pursuing a large global technical services company. Your marketing team has an important role incorporating industry details into the prospect profile.
All of these factors need to be thought about so the sales team can build out their strategy. Information from your team helps fill in the knowledge gaps and prepares the sales team for the next important step.
Help the Sales Team Develop a Strategy
With the help of your team, the sales team can build their plan to reach prospects, which typically falls into one of these two schedules:
- The 7/30 cadence calls for seven touches over a 30-day period. At the end of this 30-day period, the sales team will have either advanced to a sales meeting, determined that the prospect should be placed in a lead nurturing program, or should be cycled out of your marketing database.
What does each of the seven touches look like over the course of one month? Consider this sample plan:
- First Phone call (with a voicemail)
- First Email
- Second Phone call (with no voicemail)
- Social Media: make a contact request through LinkedIn
- Third Phone call
- Social Media: engage with their Twitter profile (like or re-tweet appropriate posts)
- Second email to close out the campaign
- The 20/90 cadence applies to a longer sales cycle calling for 20 touches over a period of 90 days (or three months or one quarter depending on the sales team’s classification). Because of the longer cycle, it’s important to stretch out each of the touches over a period of time.
Then, once the prospect is reached, the sales team will advance this person to a sales meeting, place the individual back in a lead nurturing program, or disqualify the individual.
Pro Tip: If the prospect does not engage after 90 days, the sales team will decide whether to place the individual back in the 20/90 program or cool off for a period of time before revisiting next month, quarter, or year.
How Marketing Can Support The Prospecting Cadence
Now that you understand the framework of how to support the sales team, it’s your turn to feed the marketing system. This is accomplished in a variety of ways that increase the likelihood of the sales team converting prospects into customers.
1. Create email templates for the sales team. Each of these emails should be specifically built for the target personas the sales team is pursuing. There should be a different message for a manager, CEO, CFO, or another decision-maker in the organization. That is why it is vital to understand the role of the target prospect.
2. Create good content to share in emails or phone calls. Marketing should have compelling, informative content ready to be shared at a moment’s notice. This could be a relevant blog, white paper, or one-pager to share in an email or social media interaction. Or, relevant website links should be easily accessible for a salesperson to reference over the phone with a prospect.
3. Communicate industry or company developments to the sales team. Your team needs to stay up-to-date on the latest industry or company news affecting your target prospects. If your company is selling a high-dollar computer software solution to a prospect whose company is buying a competitor, the sales team needs to know that. This type of information needs to be communicated to the sales team on an ongoing basis so they can leverage that information when engaging with an individual.
4. Analyze the trends and communicate important information. Marketing needs to watch closely for the latest industry trends and information, then be able to determine short-lived or long-term trends. You should establish communication channels with the sales team to arm them with valuable information from reliable sources to discuss with a prospect. This also helps the sales team stay top-of-mind with a variety of messages to communicate as part of their strategy.
Remember to Always Add Value
The last nugget I will share with you to build a powerful marketing system for prospecting is to make sure your team is always adding value. For example, if your team comes across an industry report affecting a prospect, don’t just share the link with the sales team; have your team go to the next step of drafting an email template that the sales team can utilize.
There are other important ways to build this philosophy into your system, such as matching your team’s activity to the prospecting cadence (e.g. one blog for every email contact or one industry report for every phone call).
Be sure to take advantage of your role in the marketing manager seat to build this process to target prospects for your company’s solution. It will produce long-term benefits for your team, the sales team, and overall organization for years to follow.
Do you need guidance on how to increase the productivity of the sales team you are working with?