Drinking from a poisoned chalice ….

…. or from a fire hose?

I love a challenge and an opportunity to use my skills to fix something….so I was both excited and nervous when I was asked to change roles and look after the Enterprise Marketing team. Quite a number of people had taken this role prior to me and I had witnessed the challenges they faced and success they delivered first hand.

So I took a deep breath and dived in.

The main obstacle the I needed to overcome was convincing the sales leadership team that marketing could add real business value beyond sales support with events & hospitality. Working in partnership with them I needed to prove we could be a true growth lever. Many marketers have faced this age-old problem! I knew that the only way to gain respect was by building strong relationships with the key sales stakeholders and together with my team secure agreement from them on what marketing success looked like e.g. value of qualified pipeline and percentage of business that marketing would sign up to deliver.

An agreement was struck and then the heavy lifting began.

We quickly found out promising qualified pipeline sounds easy enough, but it was at a time when there was no marketing automation and so we had to pioneer a manual process. This meant painfully designing, developing and hand cranking a system that collected each customer lead and then converted it to a qualified opportunity for the sales team to follow-up. An early experience of something that is becoming the norm in our digital marketing led world e.g. marketing being more about science than art!

The top 3 issues we faced in creating a leads to qualified pipeline process were ….

  1. All new leads would come from existing customers requiring an account based marketing approach and associated campaign management with effective sales & marketing alignment
  2. No existing processes or systems/tools to collect, track, nurture or convert leads – meaning initially a resource intensive solution would be required
  3. No agreements between the marketing team and sales account managers, apart from ad-hoc campaign by campaign examples.

My excellent team threw themselves into the challenges and worked with the existing IT & Data services group and were able launch the new systems, tools and processes required. The sales teams were very helpful and provided great feedback on what was working and not. Truth be known it felt like drinking from a fire hose! Some positive, some negative, all valuable and a fantastic learning opportunity.

We learned a lot, made a number of mistakes and ultimately achieved the seemingly impossible.

That is my experience, please share yours

What on earth are we good at?

What skills and experience do we have? Who would want to work with us? Why would they want to work with us? Would anyone be prepared to pay for services we provided? What services could we provide?

The list of questions you encounter when you are setting up a company are challenging to say the very least. It’s an incredibly humbling experience and not for the faint hearted. In attempting to keep your options open many people will take the approach “I can do everything , just ask!” Quite quickly I made and then realised this mistake. In offering generic services I lost differentiation and my unique value proposition.

I was pondering the benefits and drawbacks of generic vs specialist during one of my daily walks from Richmond to Kew along the Thames Path in England. I quickly came to the conclusion I needed to “Seek first to understand and then be Understood” Stephen Covey – Habit #5 in order to determine the specialist skills and programs I could provide to customers.

I spoke to a LOT of different friends and former colleagues. Lot’s of lunch’s and coffee’s and the odd glass of wine or two. 🙂 I asked for open and honest feedback and WOW did I ever get it. Some were polite and kind, others were not. I listened to everyone and I learned a lot. To all of you that helped me during that time I remain eternally grateful.

The result of these conversations laid the foundations for New Journey Marketing Ltd. Dedicated to MARKETING. Where everything we do is personalised, delivers tangible value and is FUN for you and your team!

Lot’s of companies provide Sales readiness Training and Technical training. Countless Marketing agencies offer Marketing services for advertising, digital, PR and the like. Educational institutions offer courses for Marketing professionals and team building, coaching and mentoring companies offer generic services for everyone.

Who looks after Marketing departments? Who focuses on Marketing Readiness? Who provides programs and services designed to enhance the skills of Marketing teams? Who offers coaching and mentoring for Marketing professionals? Who offers team building events designed especially for Marketing Teams?

I decided to explore this insight with Julie Kerry. Over afternoon tea we discussed the challenges facing Marketing professionals and teams. Discussing the programs and services they required and lamenting the fact that “Marketing Readiness” services were so hard to find.

So we decided to stand up for the rights of Marketing people around the world. No longer would we allow Sales and Technical teams to get all the readiness love. We would empower Marketing team with readiness designed especially for them!

Truth be known that’s not what we said. The actual conversation went along the lines of …… hey no one else is really focused on Marketing Readiness, let’s do it!

Six years later we have run over 75 Marketing Program deliveries in 30 countries around the world providing services to over 500 Marketing professionals. The results delivered are above and beyond our expectations. Our programs are always measured on a scale of 1 poor to 5 excellent and our lifetime average is 4.5.

The comments following anyone of our programs are consistent ….

  • “Very productive and useful for alignment and team building. Original and attractive delivery with fun exercises.”
  • “Fun & interactive session that brought great alignment across different teams & departments”
  • “I loved it! The best planning workshop I have experienced, really integrated approach.”
  • “Everything makes more sense. It gives a sense of direction and order to what we need to do and how.”
  • “Relevance. This is the first workshop with outcomes directly related to my job.”

We now proudly offer Marketing Services designed by Marketing Professionals for Marketing Professionals and Teams. So if your interested in Connected Marketing Planning, Optimised Partner Marketing, Sales & Marketing Alignment, Marketing On-boarding & Mentoring or Marketing Team Building & Development we would love to hear from you, contact New Journey Marketing!

Thank you for taking the time to read our inaugural blog post. We PROMISE the next ones will all be shorter and filled with insights we have learned over the last 25+ years in Marketing. If you would like to know more please take a look at our NJM Blog to read our views and have the opportunity to share yours.

 

Nick McGrath & Julie Kerry

 

I want to run an event ….

…. and we need a new logo and maybe some t-shirts!

If you ever want to upset a Marketing Director this comment is guaranteed. Equally if you ever want to upset a Sales Director pouring scorn on this type of request will bring you into immediate conflict.

So how do you get Sales and Marketing teams to work harmoniously together? Respecting each others ideas and suggestions at the same time as embracing new ways of working together.

I would always aim to start by establishing mutual respect and understanding on the numbers. Marketing needs to analyse the addressable market opportunity for the sales team. Understand the competitive landscape, drill down into the revenue (actual and forecast). Understand the drivers behind consumption and utilisation of the companies products, solutions and services. Above all else they need to take an active part in supporting the Sales team in driving pipeline velocity. Breaking down the barriers that are stopping deals in the pipeline and providing the sales team with tools and resources to over come blockages to deal closure.

Simply creating more opportunities and stuffing these into the pipeline isn’t necessarily going to deliver success. How many times have you asked the question “Where are we on the new leads marketing created for you?” only to receive the comment “The leads were c**p” or “Sorry haven’t had time to review them, I am far too busy.” Insert large sigh and groaning noise here!

So next time you are faced with this situation try something new. Listen to the sales teams suggestions and then build on their request. Transform it into a connected Sales and Marketing campaign by defining and agreeing the customer journey with everyone. Begin by asking open questions. “Who would you like to invite to the event? How many customer do you feel you can get to attend? What do you think they are keen to hear about? When would you like the event to take place?”

Once you have the basics in place then go away and design a Modern Marketing Campaign that identifies the lead nurturing stages involved in getting a customer from point of enquiry following an event all the way to a closed deal and invoice. Define a set of Service Levels and KPI’s assigned to Marketing and Sales on the costs and ROI from running the event. Make sure that everyone aligns on targets for BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timing) Qualified leads, Sales engaged prospects driven into the pipeline and ultimately signed contracts and deployments. After that hold EVERYONE accountable for the targets and results. Shared success between Sales and Marketing only ever happens when you work closely together.

Jointly celebrating success and openly acknowledging areas for improvement on all sides. I will let you decide the merits on the new logo and t-shirts! 🙂

That’s my view, please take a moment to share yours.