B2B marketers don’t own the quarterly revenue target. That responsibility belongs to the VP of Sales. Most of us B2B marketers are focused on generating leads, leads and more leads.
As long as we produce our lead targets, we’ve done our job, right? It’s the sales team’s responsibility to reap the harvest from the seeds that we’ve sown.
This kind of thinking – that the marketing and sales functions are separate, as opposed to being a single revenue-generation process – can hurt our performance as marketers. Sure, we can generate leads, but if our sales team isn’t closing the leads that we generate, we don’t earn a positive ROI on our campaigns, and nobody wins.
The Typical Chaos in Sales and Marketing Departments
Unfortunately, the word “chaos” can too often be used to describe how the marketing and sales teams operate at most mid-market and small-market companies. You know what I’m talking about, right? Marketing is scattered — trying new ideas each month, hastily throwing together campaigns, sending shotgun email blasts, and creating half-baked promotions — hoping that some of them stick.
The sales team is off doing their own thing, ignoring marketing leads, repurposing our messaging and presentations, and doing whatever it takes to book the deal before the end of the quarter.
The chaos this frenetic activity creates is extremely costly, causing companies to pour money into untested marketing programs, hire expensive hotshot sales reps, and try all the latest marketing fads, while searching for that silver bullet.
Our friends at The Revenue Game call this The Cost of Chaos – the penalty assessed for failing to align a principle-based revenue strategy throughout your organization.
They argue that the costs tied to sales and marketing comprise one of the highest expense numbers on the income statement, and that companies can reduce these enormous costs by up to 25% by adhering to a principles-based revenue strategy in the organization. (Check out the Cost of Chaos series to learn more.)
One Simple Component of Chaos
One area of chaos for most B2B companies resides within the sales arena — how the sales team members allocate their time. Have you ever calculated how much time your sales reps spend on actual selling?
The Revenue Game says that best-in-class sales teams spend only 8-10 hours per week actually selling. The average sales team spends only 4 hours per week engaged in true selling activities.
That doesn’t mean that sales reps aren’t busy. It simply means that they’re busy with non-selling-related activities – meetings, reports, proposals, customer service, and client support.
But busy doesn’t equal effective.
Sales reps are paid for one skill – their ability to persuade and to close deals. Efficient organizations understand this and have organized their marketing and sales functions to optimize the sales teams’ skills.
Eliminating chaos in your sales team is a simple, straightforward way to give your sales team more time to sell. More time selling = more sales, and a higher marketing ROI (if you’re tracking sales back to lead source). Here’s how to approach it:
- Ask your sales reps to list everything they do in a typical week, and how long each task takes them. Or, shadow one rep per day for a week, if your reps won’t make the list themselves.
- Organize the activities into categories, such as prospecting, researching, sending fulfillment materials, writing proposals, servicing existing customers, attending meetings, and issuing reports.
- Determine how many of the categories you could delegate to other people in your organization (such as a sales admin), and how many additional hours of selling time that would provide your entire team.
- Calculate how many new deals the additional selling time will produce, per week, per quarter, per year, and add the average deal size to calculate the total new revenue added.
Step #4 can be challenging, depending on the size of your sales team and the complexity of your sales function. If you’d like help, download our Sales Rep Efficiency Calculator. Open worksheet d, and enter all of your inputs to determine the total revenue increase generated by eliminating your sales process chaos.
Share the results with your sales team, and you’ll find that you’re contributing to improving your marketing campaign ROI, your relationship with your sales team, and your company’s top line.