You Ask, I Answer: Marketing And Sales Reporting?

Jamie asks, “How can marketing help report on Sales and use analytics to improve sales?”

Watch, listen, or read to find out my answer.

You Ask, I Answer: Marketing And Sales Reporting?
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Christopher Penn 0:13

In today’s episode, Jamie asks, How can marketing help report on sales and use analytics to improve sales? Here’s the thing.

Marketing and sales are two different functions.

They operate at different points in the customer journey, they have different outcomes.

And except in really small companies, they’re generally very, very different.

Which also means that having marketing reporting on sales is kind of like having the sous chef reporting on front of house on on how you know, service is out front.

It’s kind of weird.

Marketing should be reporting on marketing and sales should be reporting on sales.

Now, if you’re at a company that again, is really small, or for some reason, you’ve lumped sales and marketing together, that’s really awkward, because on the org chart, it says s&m you you have to look at the overall outcomes, and do a lot of attribution analysis.

So sort of full funnel attribution, if you will.

Because what you’d be looking for in a situation like that is at each stage in your marketing operations funnel.

Where are the weak points? When I worked at this one, tech company, in the past, marketing, was responsible for marketing qualified leads, sales was responsible for sales.

And when we put the entire customer journey together, and the operations funnel, what we found was that marketing had like 20 ish percent success rate and taking a prospect and moving them to a marketing qualified lead somebody who went from like a newsletter subscriber to request a demo, or, or schedule a phone call.

And then sales would take over those leads, and close about 1% of them.

Now part of this was product marketing issues, product development issues, the product we were company was selling was half the quality and twice the price of its nearest competitor, which didn’t really bode well.

But even even still, sales could only close about 1% of the leads that were given, which meant that marketing had to continually shovel greater and greater volumes of leads, less and less qualified leads.

Until frankly, we ran out of runway, we ran out of qualified customers, because there’s only so many people who are going to buy that particular product.

And we said to the sales team, look, if you guys could go from like 1% to 2% of closing here leads, you would double your revenue.

Right.

And there was a lot of back and forth, there was a lot of discussion, vigorous discussion.

And what eventually happened was that the head of sales got canned because they were a terrible sales leader, and about half the sales team.

And we stopped restaffed and the company did much better after that.

So how marketing can help report on sales is building out that full funnel view what’s happening at each stage of a customer’s interactions with us.

Even though customer journeys are not linear, even though customers can move back and forth between different stages in a journey, there are still activities that occur at each stage in aggregate, right customers generally have to have some kind of conversation with you, at least for any product that requires having a sales team to sell it.

And you can look at the performance of each stage, look at the performance of each of the subsequent stages and figure out the conversion rate between the two.

And again, what you’re looking for in terms of maximum impact is the weakest stage, what stage do you have your lowest conversion rate? And then can you fix that because if you can fix that bottleneck, then you really open up the flow from top to bottom for getting more results, we’re getting better results and then of course, some other part will become the problem after you fix the the most problematic stage in your in your operations fumble.

But that’s normal.

That’s that’s okay.

What I see a lot is that there usually is one stage in that full funnel that is the most problematic and not by a small margin by a fairly large margin.

Again, you know, the example of the companies to work for, you know, 20% 15% 20% 1% you compare the numbers, the different levels of financing.

Okay, well that 1% We really stands out is not good.

Let’s figure out what’s gone wrong there first.

Christopher Penn 5:07

Other things that marketing can do with analytics and data to improve sales is a lot of qualitative stuff.

And this is where market research comes in super handy.

And it’s something that companies don’t invest enough in market research, qualitative research, answers the question of why.

Right, one of the challenges with analytics is analytics, particularly quantitative, focuses heavily on the numbers, what happened ads, they’re important not gonna say they’re not important.

But those numbers don’t tell you why something happened, you can look at your data and say, you know, marketing qualified leads were down 14%, last quarter, why you can’t tell them the data, it’s not going to tell it’s never going to tell you because you have to talk to people, you have to survey them, you have to do focus groups, one on ones, shadowing customers, depending on your industry, to figure out why people are not converting to the level you want.

And that requires investment requires time requires effort.

But if you do it, it can dramatically improve your sales because it improves the overall sales process.

If somebody says, Yeah, you know, your product just doesn’t have the features I need.

That can help your sales a lot.

Because you’re your sales team.

At that point, you can say, well, we don’t have this feature that customers really want.

So we have to, we have to find some other angle to sell, right? If you can’t beat features, and benefits, then you’re going to have to compete on something like price, because you don’t have what the customer wants.

You also should at that point, be talking to engineering and saying, Hey, can you know the customer wants a green handle on this? And can you please make a version has a green handle, or whatever it is that you sell? So that’s an area where marketing can use analytics to identify where are the spots in the customer process where we need to be asking customers lots of questions, we need to be talking to customers, we need to be interviewing them, we need to be watching how they behaved with our product or as they evaluated so that we can improve our marketing, we can understand why someone might just ghost us, right? They try out our products, it doesn’t do what they want.

They just they just ghost us because we didn’t meet their needs.

So those would be my suggestions.

And those are things that even in larger companies, where you have marketing and sales be separate having that market research capacity, that market research capability is really valuable.

Because an awful lot of the time when you’re using analytics, you’re looking for an answer why and you don’t have the data to support any conclusions with evidence about why something is or is not the way it is.

So really good question.

It’s challenging answer.

It’s an expensive answer.

Set expectations accordingly.

Market research is market research.

My friend Tom Webster says his best should be reassuringly expensive, like sushi and surgery.

You don’t want to discount surgery, and you don’t want to discount market research.

You don’t want DIY surgery, and you certainly don’t want DIY sushi if you don’t know what you’re doing with raw fish, right? You probably don’t want DIY market research unless you have some skills in that area.

If you don’t then like sushi and surgery, leave it to somebody who that they do have those skills and the necessary equipment and the experience to make it work.

So that’s that’s the answer to that question.

Thanks for asking.

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