Numbers, Numbers, Numbers
The World of Sales has always been a game of numbers. Quotas, Activity levels, Win percentages, Sales Performance, Competitive Wins are all metrics that define sales performance. Sales is one profession where you can run, but you can’t hide. The best sales people are able to set a goal and work backwards by setting activities that allow them to achieve that goal.
Having visibility into sales metrics is even more critical today as sales teams work remotely and assessing performance has become one of analyzing data, since watching up close and personal in office settings are a thing of the past, at least for the foreseeable future.
How the Sales & Marketing game has changed over the years
Even though Covid19 has changed the way sales operates, this shift has been underway for a long time. Back in the early days of selling software, sales calls and demonstrations were done in person. Products were more complicated, and demonstrations meant installing software on a customer’s system to be shown in their environment.
It wasn’t until the late 1990’s, that remote demonstrations became capable by using products such as WebEx, the pioneer in the virtual conferencing space were introduced and proved to be a boon to sales productivity, allowing sales calls to be done virtually and cutting down the need to always be physically in front of the customer to sell and present your solutions.
Then Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions came into play at about the same time with first generation systems such as Siebel being installed on the customer’s hardware, and 2nd generation applications such as Salesforce running off premises in the cloud. CRM platforms provided sales teams to take their old style filing methods and back of the envelope approaches to managing their territories and computerize them, giving sales management broad visibility to the sales funnel.
At the same time Email marketing solutions came into vogue led by market pioneer Constant Contact and Mail Chimp both of whom provided very cost-effective tools to allow small businesses to get in front of their prospects, supplementing traditional phone and mailing efforts. Spam, junk mail, and overflowing inboxes became the topic du jour.
Marketing Automation takes selling to the next level
In the 2005-2010 timeframe, Marketing Automation Platforms such as HubSpot and Marketo were introduced and the notion of Inbound Marketing, jet propelled by Hubspot’s use of content based marketing and combining email marketing, web tools such as landing pages, and social media posting and scheduling capability. The introduction of an integrated platform led to multi-channel marketing and reporting capabilities on judging marketing performance put the former somewhat hidden function more front and center.
Digital Marketing led a shift of sales led revenue generation to more of a marketing based approach. And it became apparent which companies in high-tech were doing the best jobs of getting their names and products in front of prospects at the right time.
So what kinds of visibility are important to sales and marketing management?
For marketing, the prime driver is leads into the top of the funnel. Today, it is imperative to do multi-channel marketing to be able to reach prospects in the channels where they are most prevalent. These channels are inclusive of avenues like, Tradeshows, Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Google search and good old-fashioned Email marketing. All are areas that you need to take advantage of to promote your brand and then to monitor the results closely.
For sales, activity levels are particularly important. Typical metrics such as leads to deals, deals to demos, demos to closes, win ratios, all are a straightforward byproduct of a properly functioning CRM or Marketing Automation Platform.
As a long-time sales executive (pre-dating these systems), I have paid particular attention to both sales & marketing metrics. I look at marketing metrics as a leading indicator. Figures such as top of the funnel leads, active deals, website traffic, tradeshow visitors; all are indicators that you can track over time and see how they lead to demonstrations and how those demonstrations lead to sales.
At Zymplify we have shown a fairly steady range of 15-20% of deals that convert to sales. So that means that there are two ways to up our win rate. We either up the number of demos, or we convert at a higher percentage. Since we almost never make a sale without doing a demo and our sales cycle is relatively short, with those two numbers I am able to forecast on a monthly basis with relatively decent accuracy.
Activity levels are even easier to track by using our own platform. All calls and emails are logged in the system and at any point during the day or week, I can see how we stand against our activity goals. Regardless of whether a salesperson is working in the office, or at home, I can see their activity level and how many qualified prospects they are adding to the pipeline.
We set goals with our Salespeople and Business Development Representative for activities, and measure them against those goals. Of course, the ultimate goal is number of sales and we can see at any point in time how are sales teams are doing against that all important number.
The value of an integrated marketing automation platform like Zymplify has never been more apparent during these challenging times for businesses everywhere. We can help, just reach out.