How to use 99 Questions to Solve the “Sales Versus Marketing” Problem
It's no secret that Senior Executives frequently assess the performance of their Sales team and ask the question:
"What is Marketing doing to generate more leads for our sales team?"
Marketers are frustrated because they work on extensive content which is provided to potential customers via a company website, through social media, via advertising, trade shows, etc, etc. Leads come in via these channels, but it turns out that the CMO can't find out if they are monetized into sales or not! On the other hand, Sales executives frequently complain that Marketing provides "garbage" leads, and that Marketing doesn't support Sales people when it comes to communicating the "real story" to customers in sales calls. In the worst cases, what Sales people say to customers can even be in conflict with the content Marketing produces.
We can all agree that today’s Internet-driven buying process has created new behaviors where buyers assess potential solutions by doing Internet searches, viewing websites, reading social media reviews and comments, and finding analyst evaluations. Buyers no longer allow themselves to be subjected to sales prospecting tactics like cold calling and direct marketing. Given that this is the case, regardless of how leads are developed, Sales and Marketing must come together to ensure that the messaging delivered to potential customers is in alignment with what happens when Sales people must interact with those customers to close sales opportunities. This goes beyond what happens during sales cycles to a more fundamental level of agreement about how messaging and content should be developed. Sales and Marketing must both contribute equally to the messaging strategy to ensure there is agreement about what works to enage and enable strong customer interest that results in sales.
- First, Sales leaders and their Marketing counterpart(s) should place greater emphasis on current and historical customer interactions as a means to extract the value out of communications between the firm and customers about the business and its products. Yes, you should assess how and what you communicate with prospects and customers online, but equally important is feedback provided based on intereactions field sales people have with customers during sales calls.
- Second, you must listen to what customers ask you (or ask about you) when they use Internet search, social media, analysts, or other media as “filters” to understand what’s available for them to buy. Firms should also take away from their assessment of customer interactions the specific “answers” to the questions customers are asking – it’s building this content that drives the conversation a business has with the marketplace, and it can be used both to create marketing media channels (website, social messaging, blogs, etc.), and in customer sales calls.
This is what the 99 Questions Methodology does for your business. The 99 Questions Methodology is a simple way to assess how prospects and customers are guided to buy based on the content a firm produces and provides through both marketing and sales communications. Content created using the 99 Questions Methodology comes directly out of your existing interactions with prospects and customers. Also, it requires your Sales and Marketing teams to work together to define questions customers ask that identify the value in your products and/or services. What could be better than a strategy that uses your existing people and resources without investing one dime in “marketing” while finding new customers?
Below, I have published a 99 Questions Methodology overview, which you can download to learn more about this amazing process. A well-executed 99 Questions strategy will help you understand how to leverage today’s Internet-based buyer behavior to produce opportunities and create new customers.