Forecasters are telling us that this year ‘s construction activity will be worse than last year. So how can construction companies weather the storm? In times of recession it is the weak companies which fail; the good companies restructure or reinvent themselves and improve the way they do business. There are plenty of examples. Recently half year profits have been announced by Persimmon (up 65%) and Carillion (up 69%).
Have you thought about Smarketing?
“Smarketing is the methodology and process that aligns sales and marketing funnels with a synchronized process, enabling each to collaborate and overlap where needed to delight customers.” http://tagdef.com/smarketing
Research by the Aberdeen Group demonstrates that alignment between sales and marketing teams can improve business, they state that “Sales and marketing alignment is critical for this growth as it encompasses the areas of common goal identification, defined responsibilities, and established workflows that are essential in producing optimal results.” This is also supported by the Fournaise Group sighting that 92% of prospects not closed in 2011 was mainly because of marketing & sales misalignment.
Goals – work as one team
Go on put your best foot forward and make friends! Look at how you can open the channels of communication between sales and marketing, can you change your office seating , plan regular meetings (at all levels of the organisation), look at ways to share information via internal mail, a noticeboard, CRM? Making small changes in the way you work can make big differences.
With your new found friends share your goals. Talk about what your objectives are, for that week, month, quarter, year. Work out how the sales and marketing objectives can complement each other. Perhaps putting in place an agreement that marketing will deliver a certain number of ‘quality’ leads and sales will aim to achieve a certain level of sales from them. This way your objectives or goals can work hand in hand and so be more productive for the business as a whole.
Once you know who is on your team and what your goals are you then need to work out who is playing what position.
Define roles – decide on your game plan
Marketing should be looking at generating awareness and so demand for a product. Sales should be looking for quality leads they can convert. And so between these two objectives lies the traditional sales and marketing divide. This is where communication helps bridge the gap, defining who manages what level of the newly formed ‘Smarketing’ funnel.
In a recent Marketing Sherpa Benchmark Report, marketers were asked to rank the most important challenges they face in achieving B2B success. 78% of respondents sighted “generating high-quality leads” as their top challenge.
Using the same language here is essential; what Sales consider a good lead may be different for Marketing. Equally what Marketing’s lead nurturing strategy is and the reasons behind it may be a mystery to Sales. All this needs to be discussed: will Marketing nurture early stage leads, to then pass them on when sales-ready? Have you agreed on the definition of sales-ready?
Leads – Share and play nicely
Once you are talking the same language, next you need to work on your ‘passing technique’. Once a quality, sales-ready lead has been created you need to agree how it is best communicated between Marketing and Sales.
It is a good idea to clearly document your lead hand-over, perhaps consider putting in place an SLA? This way there are no false expectations. Indeed each member of the new Smarketing team will be well informed and know exactly what is expected of them. So hopefully no more leads falling down the ‘sales and marketing gap’.
As part of your hand-over it is important to provide as much information as possible, including how the lead was generated, was it via a download on the web, or from an event for example? Consider what other information you can provide? Often it is the anecdotal information that provides a conversation opener for the salesman. This is where a comprehensive CRM system is worth its weight in gold.
Conclusion – creating team spirit
Communication is key, at the very least you should initiate regular meetings between Sales and Marketing, at all levels, allowing for open and honest discussion.
Using a comprehensive CRM system is essential for sharing of data, but also look at different ways of sharing, such as: ranking of leads, anonymous feedback, one to one discussions, sharing of reporting tools and KPIs, or even something as simple as a noticeboard. Remember communication is two-way and Sales should be providing information on what leads they are closing and which lead source is proving the most lucrative, as well as providing suggestions on how else Marketing can help them, such as a new piece of sale literature or new online sales tools.
To put in succinctly moving away from a ‘them and us’ mentality and working as one team means you can be more effective with your customer communications, so deliver better service and win more business. Adding value is critical in these austere times, it is the difference between being in business and not.
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Working with you we can create a business strategy that encompasses your end goals and look at how to implement this in practical terms.
Specification selling is a whole company activity, requiring technical input and involving the whole supply chain, not just the sales team.
Our specialist team have all been recruited from sales or marketing roles within the construction sector. Their commercial experience means that we are informed about current issues, familiar with the industry’s language and practices and understand the challenges you and your customers face.
We aim to provide high quality consultancy at an economic cost.