Over the past several year’s buyers have shifted their early stage buying process and sales operations dramatically. 70% of buyers prefer to learn about new products on their own or to learn about new solutions through an educational email that shares educational content. The new digital buyer then prefers to have a brief conversation with a sales rep if it is supported by additional educational content. This includes content that allows the buyer to evaluate if your specific solution can solve their business problem, pain, or need.
This means the skills you require for modern sales and marketing operations have changed. This blog article will outline the skills a small business now requires from their internal marketing operations, or the marketing skills they can leverage with outsourced sales operations.
Skills Required for Building Modern Marketing Operations (and skills you can gain with an outsourced sales team)
Strategic Planning: The number of tactics that can be leveraged to generate leads is now endless. It is critical that you have a leader and strategic thinker that understand how all the pieces fit together and the ability to craft a plan so sales and marketing work together as part of an integrated, strategic plan. It is important to budget correctly to produce the desired results. It is also critical to keep your marketing efforts aligned with your sales team’s hard quotas and goals. Your strategic plan requires the ability to conceptualize the marketing strategy, select a course of action based on key success criteria, and determine upfront what the core KPIs of that integrated effort will be.
It is also critical that your strategic plan has a clear understanding of how both sales operations and marketing can most effectively use content for both sales and marketing efforts. Your strategic planning also needs to include a strategy for how to use content.
Copywriting: Your marketing team now needs strong writers to tell a strong sales story. This team must be strong writers, as they construct the messaging that represents your company. They also write persuasively with an authentic and concise style. In addition, they are able to write in different formats including copy for websites, blog articles, video, webcasts and email marketing.
Video Production/Editing: Video is one of the most preferred ways for buyers to learn about and understand solutions. Your modern marketing and sales operations requires a resource that understands how to produce multiple types of professional and educational videos.
Graphic Design: Visuals are becoming more critical in modern marketing, and basic graphic design skills are key important to create value and social agility of your marketing assets. Similar to coding/programming (discussed below), modern sales and marketing requires someone on the team that understands graphic design or a outsourced sales partner.
Website Management: Your website is now a lead-generation and buyer education platform. In short, your website now needs to be a dynamic publishing tool that supports inbound marketing, outbound marketing, buyer development, and your sales team. The goal of your site should now be to carry on sales conversations with prospective buyers to generate new leads and develop existing leads into qualified buyers for your sales team.
Lead Management/Nurturing/Automation Systems – Simply generating leads with cold calls no longer works with the same level of effectiveness. Once you generate that initial lead from a call, a Pay-Per-Click ad, SEO, social post, or email campaign, you also need to leverage your automation system to develop the lead and score them for your sales reps. It is essential that you develop leads with automation, and organize them so your reps can focus on leads most likely to buy. This is essential to organizing and engaging these leads through the funnel. This requires personnel with both technical expertise and best practice experience in running CRM and automation platforms.
Coding/Programming: Unless you are a software company, most small businesses don’t need to staff developers full-time. But at least one member of your marketing team does need to understand the basics of coding/programming to get the most out of your automation technologies.
Email Marketing: Opt-in email marketing is an effective way to generate new leads and to develop leads with marketing automation. When executed correctly, it is the quickest and most cost effective way to jump start a lead generation program, and to develop leads without hiring expensive calling resources. Email marketing is also a great way to maximize your investment in content that you create. Email marketing requires multiple skills including understanding the buyers journey, how to build target lists, how to segment messages, and how to tweak campaigns based on data.
Data Analysis: There is a growing need to prove ROI in marketing investments. Marketers must have strong analytical skills—the ability to interpret website and marketing data, gauge the success of a campaign, and communicate meaningful results. They must be able to turn information into intelligence, and intelligence into action.
Paid Search Management: If designed effectively, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can drive results for your business. If left unmanaged, they can be a vortex that swallows budget. Modern sales and marketing operations now requires technical understanding of how paid search programs work, and how to continuously evolve strategy based on results.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): When you are using content to support campaigns, it makes sense to optimize that same content for SEO simultaneously. Just like sharing this content in social media (discussed below), a little extra effort by a marketer that understand SEO can go a long way to producing incremental results across an integrated campaign. As my grandfather used to say, “little snowflakes make big snow falls”. When you optimize your content for both social media and SEO, these little wins eventually turn into big wins.
Social Media: Social networks are becoming increasingly critical to sales and marketing success. Social media does not need to be complicated, but it does need to be leveraged in support of your content marketing, email marketing and outbound marketing campaigns. A little extra effort allows you to improve the results of not just social media, but all of your other campaign efforts by sharing messages used in one channel.
Sales Manager/Lead Generation Manager – Companies now need someone to manage this flow of leads and to ensure that the right buyer is being followed up by the right rep at the right time. In many cases, sales can now be managed and facilitated by an inside sales manager with skill in managing an automation system and the deals can be closed by domain experts and sales engineers. Or, in the case of lower-end SaaS products, by customer service reps, an account manager, or onboarding reps.
Buyer Development Rep – Generating new business now takes a more customer friendly approach. You need to focus on helping to educate the client first, understanding their needs second, and selling third. This means you can leverage reps that lack deep domain expertise to share educational content and to ask probing questions. When the buyer starts to give off buying signals, they can be introduced to the senior talent with scheduled meetings; saving both the buyer and seller time and money.
How Can an Outsourced Sales and Marketing Team Help You Build Modern Sales and Marketing Operations?
Most small businesses have the most critical pieces in place to scale which are:
- They have closers or executives on staff that know how to close
- They have deep domain expertise in the area of their solution
- They have a team that can successfully deliver the solution
- They understand the steps in their sales process (even if it is not documented)
What they typically lack is a blend of the new skills required to build and manage successful modern sales and marketing operations. It’s not hard to understand why.
To hire and find this talent is often difficult because most of these disciplines are relatively new, so there is not a large pull of experienced talent to pull from. Most small businesses can’t afford to staff full time resources in all these areas because there is not enough work to justify full time or even meaningful part time positions when the budget does not exist.
Because of these reasons, outsourced sales and marketing is an ideal solution for companies looking to scale. The company can focus on the delivery of the solution and rely on their outsourced sales team to provide a team of blended sales and marketing strategists, technologist, and sales and marketing execution specialists. You will get all the talent you need, staffed in the right amounts at a competitive price.
We invite you to visit our approach to outsourced sales and marketing. more about our proven methods and philosophy to building modern sales and marketing operations.