We’re looking for people who want to change everything in sales and marketing

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We can do it posterI recently started a LinkedIn group, Sales and Marketing Technology. I hope that you’ll join us. Here’s why:

Over the last 20 years the Internet has changed everything in so many industries (I don’t need to go into detail).  Although email/newsletter marketing and the shift of advertising dollars to digital (and especially away from print) are significant, sales and marketing have been a little late to the party. But we’re starting to catch up now.

On this blog I describe the new world as “’whole brain sales and marketing’: the combination of fact-based insights possible as a result of the firehose of data provided on digital channels, and the intuitive connections and leaps that only people can make.” The world of 2014 is dramatically different from the sales and marketing world of only 10 years ago; adapt or die.

Using data, Big and small, in sales and marketing is not new. While David Ogilvy is perhaps best known for his love of the Big Idea, he actually was a huge fan of data-driven direct response advertising – what he called his “first love” and “secret weapon”.

But the Internet makes massive amounts of information available to consumers. And that has changed everything about the buyer’s journey in retail and B2B.

  • In retail it’s led to companies like Amazon, Walmart, Netflix, Sears, Office Depot, Apple, Dell, Best Buy, etc., selling hundreds of billions of dollars of products directly to consumers, and upselling and cross-selling them through predictive analytics
  • 75% of consumers report using smartphones as part of their retail experience, either to buy directly or to do comparison shopping and pricing while in the store
  • In B2B, customers are 60% through the buying cycle before they contact a sales rep, and consequently their expectations of what they want from that rep are dramatically different from a decade ago. Now they want information and consultation that put their needs, not the seller’s story, first.

For sellers and marketers the Internet and high-speed computers makes the instant collection and analysis of massive amounts of data now possible. So the sales and marketing tools for identifying and marketing and selling to these new B2C and B2B buyers are not just dramatically better, they offer entirely new, previously inconceivable capabilities. These include:

  • Early applications such as CRM databases and sales force automation packages
  • Tools to help with the buying, placement, tracking and optimization of online ads (Internet advertising is now second only to television for dollars spent)
  • Email and e-newsletter tools that track opens, clicks, forwards, etc., and automate follow ups and segmentation of future emails based on those actions
  • Ecommerce packages that support upselling, cross-selling, and dealing with abandoned shopping carts, as well as reviewing, rating and sharing – and then automate integration with shippers, tracking, and sending updates of status to customers
  • Marketing automation packages that include email marketing as well as real-time personalization of website content and sending of alerts to sales people based on the buyer’s behavior. Through lead scoring companies can further segment and target consumers with the most appropriate and wanted messages.
  • Social media tools for listening, moderating, publishing, tracking and analyzing social media channels
  • Predictive analytics for B2B that uses internal data combined with third-party data to identify the top sales prospects and to help segment suspects for marketing campaigns
  • Deeper, easy-to-use analytics software for analyzing all of the data going into and coming out of these programs so they can be acted on quickly

And much more. The proliferation of sales and marketing technology is astonishing. Some companies, such as Adobe, Salesforce and Oracle, have brought together “marketing clouds” of tools, and software vendors increasingly overlap features with other types of software, such as a CMS adding marketing automation features.

And that’s not even getting into the huge, direct-response databases that retailers, credit card companies and others have used for decades – one of the tools that Ogilvy so loved.

But buying the software is not the end of the game, it’s only the beginning. Although some companies have adopted the new software tools, most have not and far fewer are using them well or to their full capabilities. How a company implements and uses the software really is the difference between a waste of money and a huge ROI. I’ve worked with companies of all sizes where people in sales and marketing have told me that they’re not even doing the 101things, like having marketing score and confirm leads and sending only the good ones to sales. The failure of just this one step can lead to the failure of the entire implementation of a marketing automation system, but getting this right can set the foundation for great future success.

So in the Sales and Marketing Technology group we want to look at both best products and best practices. We want to know what’s working and what’s not, what the biggest challenges are and the best tools and practices for dealing with them.

There’s an old saying, attributed to marketing pioneer John Wanamaker, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” That’s no longer acceptable in marketing, which is increasingly being held accountable for its spending and results. And through that greater accountability it is making itself a more valued player. And it’s not acceptable in sales, which is moving towards relying less on art and more on science.

This should be fun. And we won’t run out of things to talk about for a long, long time.

Please join us.

Did you find this post useful? You’ll find dozens of actionable strategies and tactics in my interviews with 10 sales and marketing leaders.

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