Inbound Leads Are Great, But Revenue From Inbound-Generated Leads Is Much Better
The world still thinks about sales and marketing as two separate functions. Only a handful of companies have a revenue team led by a chief revenue officer, and some of those CROs are really just VPs of sales with a fancy title.
Most business leaders continue to look at marketing as something you do to generate demand for your products and services, while sales is responsible for getting new customers. Most people continue to incorrectly think that while the two efforts are closely related, they don’t need to be seamlessly integrated. Marketing does what it wants to do and sales does what it wants to do.
If this sounds like your company, you couldn’t be more wrong, and the impact of being wrong is definitely pushing down your ability to realize revenue and hit your company’s goals.
Here’s why and what to do about it, right now.
I Only Care What The Prospects Want
I really don’t care what you want and I only care what the prospects want. This means if we’re going to think about a combined experience that integrates marketing and sales for the benefit of getting more customers, you need to start thinking like your prospects. What do they want? How do they want to work with you? What information do they need? How do they want to get that information? How do they want to be treated during the sales process? What do they want from the website? What questions do they have? How can you answer those questions in a compelling manner?
It's a similar question to the website questions clients ask me all the time. I don’t care if you like your website. I only care if your prospects like your website enough to click on it and convert. I’m trying to be harsh to make a point. This perspective helps us keep the right focus as we build out sales and marketing programs for clients.
I’m going to encourage you to have the same perspective. Change your sales process in whatever way is necessary to give your prospects exactly what they want and when they want it. Now, I’m not saying to do whatever prospects say. What I am saying is to create a process that gets executed every single time by everyone in a similar way, but build that process based on your prospects' needs — not yours.
The Numbers Don’t Support Any Argument For Keeping Sales And Marketing Separate
Marketing has become a precise science. Almost everything we do is now 100% quantifiable. Sales is moving in the same direction and once we have data on both sales and marketing performance, there are no scenarios where metrics decline when sales and marketing is pulled together.
Quite the contrary, the numbers can be improved very dramatically, and when you combine the improvements in marketing metrics with the improvements in sales metrics you get a dramatic improvement in your company’s ability to drive revenue.
Here’s an example: You're getting 5,000 visitors a month to your site and those 5,000 visits produce 50 leads (a 1% conversion rate). If 10% of those leads were qualified opportunities, you’d have five sales opportunities per month. You close 20% of those sales opportunities, so one new customer each month. Each new customer contributes $20,000 in monthly revenue, or $240,000 in annual revenue over 12 months. But let’s look at an improved sales and marketing effort over the same time period with the same average revenue.
If you could close 40%, you’d double your revenue to $480,000. But if you improve visitors to 8,000 and your conversion rate from 1% to 2%, you’d have 160 leads and 16 qualified sales opportunities a month. With your new 40% close rate, you’d have six new customers a month, totaling $120,000 a month and around $1.4 million in new revenue per year. That represents a 6X improvement in revenue from sales and marketing. That’s pretty impressive and this will continue to improve month over month if you’re continuing to invest in optimizing these numbers.
You’ll Gain Marketing And Sales Efficiencies
What you should really be thinking about is how you create a revenue-generating machine. This machine consists of a lead-generation machine (marketing) and a new revenue machine (sales). You want your machine to be scalable, repeatable, predictable and measurable. Inbound marketing produces the leads and inbound sales produces the new revenue.
Just like any machine, when you first turn it on, it’s not going to run as smoothly as after you’ve been using it for a few weeks. Just like any machine, you’re going to learn all the idiosyncrasies of the machine over time. You're going to learn how to service the machine, maintain the machine, optimize your interaction with the machine and, over time, it’s going to get better and better at producing its outputs.
The same experience is delivered with inbound marketing and inbound sales machines. Over time you learn how to optimize, how to adjust, what to configure and how to measure performance. As you do, the numbers above get even better. This optimization phase does take experience, skill and practice, but it is an important part of any inbound engagement.
A Revenue Team Is Strategic; Sales And Marketing Teams Are Tactical
What would the impact to your company be if you could generate a six to 10 times improvement in annual revenue generation? It’s going to change the entire company. It’s going to have a strategic impact on your business, as opposed to working on closing business one deal at a time, working on the company website or writing a blog article. These are all very tactical and will have little impact on overall company goals.
You should be spending your time not on the tactics, but on the strategic initiatives associated with combining the marketing and sales teams. You should be spending your time giving those teams, their leaders and their individual contributors the vision we’re outlining here. Then you should be spending your time helping them create the integrated revenue team, helping them start to execute, reviewing performance and providing guidance as you track toward your stated goal of exponential revenue growth.
The Impact Is Short Term And Long Term
Everything we’re talking about here probably sounds like it’s going to take months or even years to deliver. You’re not wrong. These changes take time, patience, commitment and vision. But you’ll see short-term gains, too. Redesigning your sales process today can have an impact on close rates, sales cycles and average revenue sold to new customers in as little as 30 days.
Yes, the compounding effect described above is going to take longer, but you’ll know you're on the right track when you see your close rate moving up and your sales cycle shortening. This should give you the energy to continue to work hard to make all the necessary changes to both your sales and marketing to drive website visitors, conversion rates and sales opportunities that flow into your new sales process with improved close rates.
I’ve had clients tell me this seems like a lot of work. I’ve had clients tell me they know they have $2 million territories and sales reps with $1 million targets, basically ignoring the opportunity to double the company because it was too hard. I know doing something new is uncomfortable, but this is happening folks. Your prospects are asking for this and if you don’t do it, your competitors just might.
By bringing sales and marketing together under one roof, you’ll see improvements in close rate. You’ll see your sales cycle shorten. You’ll see an increase in the number of sales opportunities. You’ll get more referrals from prospects who never hire you. And when all these improvements happen simultaneously, you’ll see a multiplier effect that will push you past your company revenue goals not by 10%, but by 50%.
All you have to do is match your sales and marketing to the way your prospects are buying today. It’s really that straightforward.
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