You recognize your responsibility to advance the competency and maturity of your sales and marketing organizations through technology (See: “Seek Innovation and Optimization in 2010 at the Intersection of Business and Technology”). Entire industries realizes the inefficiency in sales and marketing while expecting the best possible performance. For decades organizations have been using now-aging applications for sales force automation and marketing automation that often had also been put together in a generic packaging called customer relationship management (CRM) that looks for integration on specific tasks of automation and pays less attention to the management and oversight of operations to goals and objectives. That has to change if these functions are to improve performance. Marketing needs to invest into brand and category management applications that can improve coordination and effectiveness in the mission of advancing market share, profitability and customer value. A new generation of applications has appeared in the last five years to help organizations optimize and manage to desired results. In sales, the portfolio of applications are brought together in what is called sales performance management, which includes sales-related applications like pipeline, forecasting, coaching, incentives and territory optimization, which together can drive up effectiveness for sales executives, sales operations and individual sales managers. Now the challenge is to balance these improvements from presales activities that assist in managing opportunities to the close and then the post-sales activities including sales compensation and customer fulfillment.
Marketing executives need to reassess their processes and associated metrics to ensure they are not laggards in these efforts. New means of expanding the brand and connecting with customers and consumers are available through social media channels and other methods on the Internet that can be enabled via task-specific information applications. Marketing executives in all industries must see that automation and the use of forward-looking as well as historical analytics are relevant to their revenue contribution and ultimately their career survival. A resurgence in marketing and sales is possible with lead nurturing through scoring and automating interactions with prospects through advanced marketing automation solutions. Using data to establish metrics for insightful key performance indicators is an essential tool for advancing organizational maturity; another is being effective in adding geographic contexts to marketing and sales through location intelligence. Acquiring a view of activities outside of the organization, along with competitive and market-related information, will assist optimization of marketing strategies and operations. Marketing executives need to take a leadership role, ensuring accuracy in marketing and sales products and services through product information management (PIM) tools. Joint activities and improvements through technology will help align marketing and sales to reach their objectives much more efficiently.
It’s time for the art of marketing and sales to become the science of best practices and processes that arm the entire organization with information and capabilities to meet specific customer and revenue objectives.
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Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research