Agencies can help mediate in b-to-b

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Agencies can help mediate in b-to-b
Agencies can help mediate in b-to-b

The business-to-business buying cycle is complex. B-to-b purchases involve three to four more decision makers today than in 2001. Analysts estimate that closing a b-to-b sale takes 20% longer today than a few years ago. Part of that increase is due to the exponentially larger number of marketing channels that are available. Even though more channels means more ways to reach buyers, they also increase the chance of a disconnect between marketing and sales.

According to a national survey of 2,700 b-to-b sales executives, sales staff regard 80% of marketing expenditures for lead generation/sales collateral as irrelevant. Further, the metrics for judging marketing lead generation are often based on quantity, not quality. In a challenging economy, this kind of poor internal alignment could cripple any company. Companies should create a collaborative effort with realistic expectations. A third party like a marketing communications agency can bring sales and marketing together into a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship. As objective consultants, agencies can help your people look beyond their respective agendas. One can help your team speak the same language to define your unique selling proposition and differentiate "qualified lead" from "sales-ready lead." Use BANT (budget, authority, need and timeframe) as a starting point for identifying leads.

Establish goals using metrics that matter to the C-suite. Determine the are most appropriate messages and the best delivery method for each stage of customer engagement.

Agencies can help establish a process so no leads are lost or ignored. Marketing must provide appropriate documentation for the lead's origins. Sales must document where it went, actions taken and results. Any lead not contacted or not closed should be cycled back to marketing for further nurturing. You will also be able to set a schedule for separate and joint reviews and valuation against metrics at the beginning of your process, right when you set your goals.

rcarango@schubert.com

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