Sales Archives - Klaxon

TOFU, MOFU and BOFU – The Latest Marketing Acronyms

If you’ve been around for a bit and clocked up some grey hairs (like me), you’ll be no stranger to marketing acronyms.

Just when you think you’ve heard them all, you come across something new. An acronym that makes you cringe; or in the case of TOFU, MOFU and BOFU, one that actually puts a smile on your face.

If you’ve not been acquainted these little beauties before they are:

TOFU – top of the funnel

MOFU – middle of the funnel

BOFU – bottom of the funnel

They refer to the different stages of the sales funnel and where your target audience is at any given time. The idea is to alter your marketing tactic mix according to how far along the buying cycle, or sales funnel, they are.

Need to get more prospects over the finish line? You’re targeting BOFU. Need to educate existing prospects? You’re targeting MOFU. You get the idea.

With advances in digital advertising, the opportunity becomes ever greater. You can now base this targeting not on manual decisions using sales or CRM data, but based on online behaviour.

It’s not a new model of course. We’ve blogged about the sales funnel and the importance of aligning different marketing tactics to where your audiences are in the buying cycle a few times previously.

But it is a little more fun to use TOFU, MOFU and BOFU for a change.

I have to credit Brad Insight with introducing me to these smashing marketing acronyms.

The Importance of Measuring Your Sales Funnel

The sales funnel. The opportunity funnel.

The sales funnel visually describes the sales process from initial contact to final sale. The stages of a sales process refer to a potential customer’s degree of readiness to commit to a deal. You can manage the sales funnel by developing sales metrics appropriate for your business. As you gain experience in working with customers and sales processes, you can create your own version of the sales funnel, complete with specific steps and actions to move your prospects from stage to stage. Over time you will find that some sales metrics prove more critical for your business than others.

Read on and I’ll reveal 6 reasons why it’s uberly-wise to analyse and proactively measure your sales process.

A quick snapshot of why pipeline measurement is so important:

  1. You can identify where your sales funnel leaks
  2. You can identify which prospects can be ‘recycled’
  3. You can create more accurate sales forecasts
  4. You can find out early whether there’s a risk you’ll miss your sales targets
  5. You can assess how individual team members/departments are performing
  6. If you can measure it, you can manage it

As you may well know, your sales funnel is an important tool in your pocket which visualises how your customers move through your sales process. So, effective sales funnel management is important for your company. Let’s go into a little more detail and discuss how you can measure your sales funnel.

To accurately measure the true shape of your sales funnel, you need to know a number of things. Some are obvious – the volume and value of opportunities at each stage and the conversion rates from stage to the next; others however are less obvious, sales velocity for example. Sales velocity refers to the time taken for opportunities to flow from one stage to the next.

What’s next? You then need to identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s); some traditional KPI’s to measure could include,

  • Inbound traffic by source
  • Web form conversions and inbound calls by source
  • Prospects who want to talk
  • Prospects who have a project need and budget
  • Proposals
  • Close deals
  • Revenue

Thus tracking the entire funnel. This can be done using a combined integration of web analytics, marketing automation software, CRM software and experienced data analysts. Reporting which is built-in to your company is no longer just a competitive advantage, but is paramount to sustaining and growing your company in today’s market.

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

Do You Understand Your Prospects Buying Cycle?

Have you considered, or mapped out, the steps your prospects go through to making a purchase decision, aka their buying cycle?

Did you know much of the B2B buying cycle occurs before a prospect even contacts you. In fact two-thirds or more of this journey takes place before the buyer reaches out to a vendor at all.

As marketers we are overwhelmed with data. We’re tracking web traffic, impressions, click-through rates, lead capture, page views, re-tweets, impressions, followers and more. While us marketers are fuelling the pipeline, sales teams are often frustrated waiting for qualified leads to be provided to enable them to hit targets.

However the biggest concern for both of these teams is that the B2B buying cycle/sales funnel is getting longer as buyers linger in the research phase. Typically a traditional sales cycle is broken down into four distinct steps:

1. Awareness

2. Interest

3. Desire

4. Action

This model is commonly known by the acronym ‘AIDA’, but for more complex purchases in the world of B2B marketing there may be 5, 6, 7 or more steps.

A variant on AIDA adds a ‘C’ for Conviction or Confidence. The idea is that prior to a final purchase, a cognitive state of understanding the value is needed that matches the emotional state of desire. This may appear before Desire (AICDA) but sometimes after (AIDCA), demonstrating two alternate approaches:

One which starts with getting a logical agreement and then moving to emotional desire, comparative to creating desire first and then reaching the state when the purchase also makes logical sense.

An even more extended version is when the letter ‘S’ for satisfaction is added, indicating the fact that happy customers will buy more.

A quick Google search will reveal numerous and very different (often conflicting) sales funnel models. Let’s rein this in and remember what the sales funnel is meant to be,

‘The purchase/purchasing funnel is a model which describes the theoretical customer journey from the moment of first contact with your brand to the ultimate goal of a purchase.”

(Marketing Made Simple, 2007)

There are some new factors to consider when using the funnel in a contemporary context (e.g. social media). Do not be fooled into thinking purchase decisions are simple, particularly for large, complex and expensive decisions.  McKinsey (2009) believes the traditional, old-school sales funnel could do with a few tweaks here and there and identified a five step process as follows:

1. Awareness

2. Familiarity

3. Consideration

4. Purchase

5. Loyalty

McKinsey also propose a purchasing loop to include an initial consideration trigger, active evaluation and information gathering, the actual moment of purchase and finally the post-purchase experience.

This stage, arguably the most paramount, is where the loyalty loop can be established – referring to whether consumers opt to repeat purchase from the brand, dependent upon if their initial purchasing experience with the brand was a positive one.

What is important is to identify the key stages in your own unique funnel and then decide how you can maximise the chances of progression towards a sale.

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

Closing the Gap between Sales and Marketing

Getting sales and marketing to work more closely presents potentially the largest opportunity for growth in B2B marketing today, but what steps can you take to close the gap?

Marketing and sales teams have fostered an age-old rivalry which is commonly known as sales and marketing mis-alignment. For decades now marketing teams have accused the sales team of not following up on leads and sales teams have blamed the marketing team for providing poor-quality leads. Arguably similar to school ground bickering?

Marketing teams want to maintain control over the messaging whilst tracking everything; sales want to get something out the door because they need to sign off a deal.

It’s no secret: marketing and sales often than not struggle to work cooperatively.

But, arguably the single most important topic for marketing is how to align with the sales team.

A significant reason for a sales and marketing divide is the difference in objectives and their measurement of success. Within a B2B setting these differences are notably more obvious – the main objective of marketing is to generate leads and of sales to convert these into closed business, and so the departments are measured based on the number of leads generated and the number of contracts closed, respectively.

Still bewildered as to why mis-alignment is so common? Further examples which detail why mis-alignment is present include:

  • Management does not understand the full contribution marketing can make to a business.
  • Marketers are not sufficiently trained to be true partners with sales in the revenue generation process.
  • There is not an integrated planning process to enable marketing and sales to create unified strategies and tactics.

The disconnect that exists between the two departments poses serious challenges and it is widely recognised that there is a real need for marketing-sales alignment.

The good news? There is light at the end of the tunnel, as the three situations discussed above can be remedied in a short-period of time.

How? Firstly a willingness to change needs to be present.

Ultimately to kick start a change, sales and marketing need to realise that they are on the same team; they should not view one another as the competition, not when they could work together to create value for the company and for customers. When it comes to improving relations between the two functions, inevitably improving communication is paramount. It’s not as simple as just increasing communication between the two groups. Instead more disciplined communication should be encouraged; holding regular meetings between sales and marketing which focus discussions on action items that will help to resolve problems could be beneficial.

As the functions become better aligned, its important that opportunities are present for both marketers and salespeople to work cooperatively. This will make them more familiar with each other’s ways of thinking and behaving. Its useful for marketers to occasionally go along on sales calls; in turn salespeople should help to develop marketing plans and preview sales-promotion campaigns. Planning events together should be encouraged; a liaison, someone both groups trust could be appointed to help with the alignment process.

A lack of workforce alignment should not be one of the biggest obstacles a company faces to achieving revenue growth. Ending the feud between marketing and sales departments through an end-to-end integrated solution is needed; when marketing and sales align around the revenue cycle, the enterprise can improve ROI, sales activity and growth.

The feud between marketing and sales doesn’t have to continue; after all, marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin right? To find out more around this topic, get in touch; we would be delighted to talk.

You can also leave your top tips in the comments section below.

8 Steps to Aligning Sales and Marketing

Does your company have tight alignment between sales and marketing?

Most of us would agree that neither sales or marketing can afford to be a separate entity. In fact, according to a 2010 report by Aberdeen Research, companies that are best-in-class at aligning marketing and sales, experienced an average of 20% growth in annual revenue, compared to a 4% decline in “laggard” organisations.

In addition at many of these companies, both the sales and marketing departments report to one senior executive who’s responsible for both lead generation and closing business.

So what does that mean I hear you ask?

It means that sales and marketing share goals, they share technologies and they also share processes that in turn allow them to monitor and optimise each stage of every sale, from first touch to closed deal.

True marketing and sales alignment requires a fundamental shift. We know that aligning marketing and sales can be challenging. That’s why we’ve crafted a post specifically designed around solutions to help organisations achieve true marketing and sales alignment. Read on to learn more.

Our 8 steps to aligning sales and marketing teams are:

1. Identify a starting point

Both departments need to mutually agree that change is required; this will enable an important bridge to be built between the two teams facilitating better communication and cooperation, it will also go a long way to resolving entrenched conflict.

2. Adopt the correct goal – which is integrated

So.. the marketing strategy should ‘pre-emp’ the sales focus. Realigning both teams toward the same revenue goal is a good initial step but the strategy for getting there needs to be defined together. Sales and marketing need to come to the table together and clarify the following: lead scoring, lead generation metrics and SLA’s (read on for further detail). Breaking down these common communication barriers will pave the way for both teams to work together as one team.

3. Create a shared pipeline

In most organisations pipeline are treated as separate processes; there is little visibility into how each side gets things done. With the creation of a single pipeline, both the sales and marketing team will understand how each stage in the process works as well as why each is important to the business.

darts4. Define the ‘Sales Ready’ lead

The process of handing off a lead from marketing to sales is critical to both sides. It’s the point where the marketing team proves its value and where the sales team gets the raw material for closed deals.

I hear you ask “How?”. 

For example by using lead scoring techniques you can define which leads need prioritising for follow-up, or those that should still be nurtured by marketing (marketing automation technology like Marketo or Pardot are very good at this!)

5. Create a clear process for handling off leads

Establish a process for handing off leads to sales and also for sales to establish a closed-loop reporting relationship with marketing. This could be done by using an integrated sales and marketing CRM system like Salesforce and Pardot.

6. Agree on common metrics and definitions

Ensure each team is speaking the same language; set agreed-upon performance metrics.

7. Establish SLAs

The Service Level Agreement (SLA) is an important way to define the relationship between your sales and marketing teams and to hold both sides accountable for their commitments. Targets needs to be set; separate SLAS for your sales and marketing teams can be created, with each team making commitments to agreed-upon ‘quarterly’ goals.

8. Follow up, review and refine your efforts

Alignment is a lifetime process for an organisation. Ensure you follow-up on initiatives, track progress, create accountability and encourage continuous improvement. With shared performance metrics and SLAs, your sales and marketing teams will have sufficient feedback on their efforts. This in turn will help build motivation to improve on their performance.

Even after marketing and sales have reached a point whereby they are on the same page, it’s vitally important for them to revisit their responsibilities annually to ensure they’re still relevant in dynamic environments.

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

How to Sell to C’Suite Execs

This is a question we hear a lot. How do we sell, or market to, people at the top level of an organisation?

Networking expert Andy Lopata interviews Phil Jones, Country Head & Deputy Managing-Director, Brother UK in the short video below. Phil reveals some interesting insights about how to approach a senior decision maker from a large organisation.

Worth taking a look at Phil’s blog too for more great ideas about marketing and sales.

Upselling – What’s That?

Are you looking for a marketing tactic that won’t cost a bomb. Well here’s a cracker which when applied well can work wonders. It’s called upselling and is basically when you try to sell additional products or units at the point of sale.

 Read more

Cold calling tips

I just came across this article about cold calling on Business Week’s website.

It makes interesting reading and has five essential tips for getting better quality cold calls. If this is something you’re using to grow your business – and I’d imagine 99% of you are – then these few simple tips may help.

To my mind the most important of which is to qualify quickly. Make sure you know the person you are talking to has the budget, the authority and the need to buy your product or service. If he / she doesn’t, you either need to move on to another contact within that organisation, or to a different target altogether.

Read Business Week’s cold calling tips by clicking here.