This blog is a roll-up of all the posts from analysts who serve Sales Enablement Professionals. Individual analyst blogs are listed below. Visit Forrester.com to learn how we make Sales Enablement Professionals successful every day.
I’ve been having a lot of conversations, recently, about sales and marketing alignment. (Well, honestly, who working in B2B marketing hasn’t?) In Forrester’s most recent Marketing Organization and Investment Survey, we asked the respondents (522 B2B marketing execs from companies with more than 100 employees) about the quality of collaboration between sales and marketing. Fifty-seven percent of marketing execs reported weak or mixed collaboration with sales when "defining lead qualification criteria" and "administering leads and lead pipelines." Those numbers underscore the much-storied rift between marketing and our colleagues in sales.
For a while I have been saying that a managed lead-to-revenue process will catalyze a new collaborative relationship between sales and marketing. It makes sense to the point of being incandescently obvious; calibrating sales and marketing around a shared revenue goal is the basis for true alignment. But, until there is proof, it’s a hypothesis. And, now there’s proof.
In our study, we found that companies who have implemented a marketing automation solution (a proxy for a more managed process) reported significantly higher levels of collaboration between sales and marketing, across a number of different dimensions.
Last week, Forrester hosted a channel roundtable in Singapore on theevaluation of channel models in Asia Pacific.The goal was to create a common platform for tech vendor senior channel executives and Forrester analysts to discuss key changes faced by the channel leaders and how best to adapt to them. The briefing was attended by 26 senior channel executives representing 21 tech vendors.
All of the channel leaders agreed with a Forrester report which indicated that channel models are under great pressure due to the growth of mobility and the devices that power it, as-a-service computing models, and the decreasing influence of IT departments on overall tech spending. As they cope with these changes, the key challenges they identified during the interactive roundtable were:
Identifying and engaging with those channel partners that can adjust to market shifts. This emerged as a major challenge, not only for some of the new cloud-based service providers but also for traditional tech vendors venturing into new solution areas. A shortage of skilled channel professionals within Asia Pacific exacerbates this challenge. Several also identified the challenge of high turnover within their channel base and the frustration of investing in the skills of a partner executive and having him shift to a competitor’s channel.
I (writes Peter O'Neill) have just published the Organization report for our lead-to-revenue playbook. My colleague Lori Wizdo is writing most of the 12 reports that form this Forrester playbook, but I get to write a few and we are both excited that Laura Ramos, now back at Forrester, will contribute the Business Case report.
In my report, “The Skills And Structures For L2R Success,” I have avoided suggesting a standard org chart for L2R process management because our client inquiries on this topic show that one size definitely does not fit all. Instead, I have focused on how to organize a team to design and manage a buyer-centric L2RM process. And I discuss the many new job titles, roles, and responsibilities that are now appearing in marketing organizations as more and more enterprises adopt an L2R strategy. I also consider the important interfaces to many other departments that are needed to ensure L2RM success.
I recently stumbled upon a very old quote from Peter Drucker, which completely nonplussed this lifetime marketer. Mr. Drucker observed (in his 1973 book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practice) that the fundamental purpose of a business enterprise is to create a customer. And because of that, he said, “The business enterprise has two - and only these two - basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”
Today’s B2B marketing execs know that Drucker’s statement is a fragile hypothesis that gets tested at least every budget cycle and often every quarter. You know that if you are not able to quantify the business impact of the budget dollars spent on advertising, trade shows, and promotion, your CFO looks at marketing as a cost center: one of the first places to cut when the business indicators dip, and one of the last to be renewed when things turn around.
Revenue is the lingua franca of the modern enterprise
That’s why demonstrating the revenue return on marketing investment (ROMI) is the No. 1 issue for B2B marketing executives. In Forrester’s most recent B2B Marketing Organizations And Investments Survey, when we asked marketing execs to identify the most important metrics for their marketing organization, 56% identified a revenue-related metric — compared with 44% for customer satisfaction and 40% for brand awareness.
Three years ago, we asked our CEO, George Colony, to interview other CEO’s about their opinions of their sales force. One of those questions he asked was “are you satisfied that your sales force is getting your company to its strategic objectives?”
What do you think the answer was?
Out of 40 CEO’s he interviewed, 39 said “No.”
We spent a lot of time asking our clients – who are Sales and Marketing leaders – what they thought that meant, and the bulk of them believed it was about the sales force not delivering quarterly results.
This highlighted a big gap in perspective.
You see, in many ways what the CEO is selling is different than what the rest of the organization is – he’s selling the stock, which is a reflection of the future, whereas the rest of the organization is focused on selling the various products and services in the company’s portfolio with a quarterly event horizon. Thus, if the people carrying out the strategy are more focused on the here and now and the CEO has a more forward lean in his head – you can see how this can create the recipe for major friction in the execution of the business strategy.
At the beginning 2011 we framed this problem like this: The selling system is not adapting quickly enough to accommodate the changing business strategy.
Throughout 2011 and 2012, we spent a tremendous amount of time investigating what a “selling system” really means and the implications of the rate of adaptation. Here are some highlights:
During my keynote presentation, I will talk about new ways to bend the sales productivity curve and take a more strategic view of sales enablement – as always, the goal is to focus on bridging the gap between strategy and execution.
One of those “new ways” involves thinking about “different patterns of perceived value” that your customers have about your organization and the role it plays in solving their problems. Based on those patterns, you can create segments of “revenue streams.”
Why break it down like that? Well - not all of your clients want you to be their strategic partner – some even just want you to supply them with the same old products and services that you have been selling them for years. You bend the productivity curve by matching the right sales model to these patterns of buyers and then optimizing the value chain behind sales to meet that value exchange requirement.
Here’s what tends to happen – it’s one thing to realize this kind of segmenting is necessary, to move past the fantasy world that they are the strategic, trusted advisor for a majority of their customers, and realize they are stuck in different pockets (for example – in reality, they struggle to move outside of procurement, are stuck inside groups of IT buyers, or sales teams are told they don’t have permission to speak with executives).
When you put the word “sales” and “enablement” together – it sure can mean a lot of different things – to a lot of different people.
As the Research Director on Forrester’s Sales Enablement team – it’s a problem I see every day.
What’s entertaining about this (or aggravating, if you are a sales enablement professional inside a large company) is that not only do many people view those two combined words differently – many of those people are extremely confident their own perspective is the right one. Given what we publish, the number of presentations we give, all of the cross-functional group settings we run into – you might imagine we’ve heard our fair share of strong opinions.
Here are a few highlights of my favorite “certainties:”
· Sales enablement is just lipstick on a knowledge management pig.
· Sales enablement is the new label for sales training.
· Product marketers have been enabling sellers for years, what’s the big deal?
· Sales people should be enabling themselves with all of the resources we provide them.
· Marketing should own sales enablement, because it is clearly a content issue, and the sales force doesn’t have access to good content.
“Letter From Germany” Feb. 2013 – Marketing Automation Is Hot In Europe This Year
Peter O'Neill here with the latest edition of my (somewhat) regular blog in which I highlight important information for you about B2B marketing in Germany. This time, I have exclusive details for the German market on marketing automation; the data is taken from the survey used in my upcoming report entitled “European B2B Marketers Will Invest In Automation In 2013.” The report will have two pieces of research for Forrester clients:
1. Data from our Q4 2012 US And Europe B2B Marketing Tactics And Benchmarks Online Survey.
2. An update to our list of innovative marketing automation vendors that have headquarters in Europe.
Many of the leaders at international marketing automation vendors we speak to have been wary of seriously setting up in Europe, as they believe firms in that region are late adopters of marketing automation. But we have important news for them: It’s now high time to show more presence in Europe! Our survey shows that the rate of investment is actually higher in Europe than in the US for nine of the 10 categories of marketing automation about which we asked. In the graph below, we show the aggregate of those planning to implement the technology or expand/upgrade their system.
Hello Fellow B2B Marketers, this weekly blog post highlights our ongoing research focused on B2B revenue acceleration, as well as an exclusive look into what outputs you can expect in the coming weeks. Kick off your week here every Monday to get a burst of support for your professional success.
Forrester hosts its Sales Enablement Forum in Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 4 and 5, 2013. Attendees will engage as a community with a shared focus on driving revenue, hear success stories in process from leading practitioners, become immersed in the latest research outputs and survey data from Forrester, and enjoy one-on-one conversations with analysts and each other, all in the comfort of the Camelback Inn Resort & Spa. This week, Marketing Mondays spotlights some of our guest speakers.
Yes, the headline is a bit blunt…we are working so hard these days, weaving together our program for you, that my creative juices are a little fried.
If you’ve been to one of our Sales Enablement forums – you know we put a lot of effort into ensuring a core event theme and message that’s solid, consistent, and woven throughout every presentation and session. You also know we strive to create a cohesive community experience where you and your team can leave with strong new perspectives, a rolodex of new contacts, and a sense of purpose to help drive success at your company.
What I’d like to do is share with you some of what we have in store.
The title of our forum is: Accelerating Revenue in a Changed Economy. Is this just hyperbole, or are we really up to something?