Oct 202010
 
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I’m pleased to share with TLOTL readers the Focus Experts’ Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel Models. This collection of 14 one-page funnel visualizations was created by sales and marketing leaders who are active on the Focus network. If you spend any time following thought leaders in this space, you’ll recognize most if not all of the other contributors. I’m truly honored to be sharing pixel space with this distinguished group!

You can download the guide here (PDF).

Focus Expert Guide

Below I’ve included some additional links and context:

  • The list of other contributors to the Experts’ Guide

Ardath Albee, CEO and B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions
Michael Brenner, Director of Online/Social Media at SAP North America
Michael Damphousse, CEO/CMO of Green Leads LLC
Christopher Doran, VP of Marketing at Manticore Technology
Barbra Gago, Social Media Manager of Cloud9 Analytics
Steve Gershik, CEO of 28Marketing
Sue Hay, CEO of BeWhys Marketing Inc.
Matt Heinz, Principal at Heinz Marketing LLC
Carlos Hidalgo, President of The Annuitas Group
Jon Miller, Vice President of Marketing at Marketo
Adam Needles, VP of Demand Generation Strategy at Left Brain Marketing
Matt West, Director of Marketing at Genius.com
Steve Woods, Chief Technology Officer of Eloqua

  • Craig Rosenberg, the leader of the Focus Expert Network, is currently running a guest post series with each of the contributors on his blog, The Funnelholic.
  • And lastly — for anyone who may still be reading  — here’s the back story on my entry:

I sent my picture to Focus at the end of August, right around the time my daughter attended her first few days of kindergarten. At the time, it occurred to me that I was participating in a kind of show-and-tell for grownups. Just like the objects that kids describe to their classmates, each funnel concept in this guide tells us a story. And the story isn’t just about the funnel as a business process. It’s also about how the storyteller thinks and solves problems.

Prior to submitting my picture, I had white-boarded it twice before for two different prospects. The first prospect said she really appreciated my (impromptu) illustration, as it helped her think differently about her problem.  We haven’t done a deal yet, but had we not had that meeting, I probably wouldn’t have drawn my picture.

The second time I drew it was in a meeting with a prospect who – a few weeks prior — had asked me to send him a “brief, high level write-up on how we’d work together.” I wrote out my proposal in text form, and, per his request, kept it really brief – barely over 1 page in length. But as brief as my proposal was, when I met with my prospect, I could see that I had made excessive use of that obscure, incomprehensible, buzzword-laden dialect: consultantese. Even in sanitized form, I’m embarrassed to share that original proposal verbatim. But I ran it through a word cloud generator (thank you Wordle) to show what I mean.

Scearce Market Development proposal wordcloud

Consultantese

Pretty messy isn’t it? The proposal wasn’t much easier to follow.

Once I drew a simple picture on my prospect’s whiteboard, our conversation became simpler, and we ultimately started working together.

No matter how long I work in this business, I still forget sometimes that consultantese has no place in my sales process. Plain English is better. And a simple picture is even better still, especially if it’s something my kindergartner might understand.

Mar 232010
 
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There’s a good conversation going on over at Focus.com about whether the sales concept of BANT — Budget Authority Need Timeframe — is no longer valid in light of how the modern B2B buying process works. The question has been asked: “Is BANT dead?”

I commented on the post, and as part of my continuous effort to drive my own personal “return on contribution” I’ve re-published my answer to the question in this space. But there are lots of great expert opinions from B2B marketing thought leaders in the original post, so hop on over and have a look!

— begin answer —

“BANT is not dead but it is definitely under the weather and needs better care from its primary care physicians (sales and marketing executives).

As a salesperson’s tool for measuring a prospect’s relative readiness to buy, BANT remains valid and useful to the sales process.

However, there are times (too many times, by my observation) that BANT is used as a rigidly applied internal service level agreement between sales and marketing (or between sales and pre-sales lead development). In some environments, BANT is set up such that the sales team literally can’t talk to buyers unless BANT is fully achieved, or until a certain score threshold has been satisfied. This is a good idea when every sales person’s time is fully utilized talking to BANT-qualified prospects. However, most of the time this is not the case. There is always some “excess capacity” in the revenue factory, which can actually be good thing. So to the extent that BANT is ever used to keep a less-than-maxed-out sales person from talking to a buyer who is less-than-fully-BANT-qualified, it’s not a useful metric.

I think BANT is most useful when applied at the level of the individual salesperson, who must prioritize his/her time as if it were money to spent (time is the salesperson’s most valuable currency). As an operational metric, BANT is not flexible enough for practical application, in my opinion.

BTW, marketers have their own version of BANT. It’s called Cost per Lead (CPL). It’s another metric that is useful in a narrow context, but can needlessly limit outcomes if applied too rigidly. For more on the perils of excessive adherence to CPL (and 3 metrics that are better to use), see this post:

http://www.focus.com/ugr/research/marketing/asdf/

— end answer —

Dec 222009
 
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Hey TLOTL readers: I just posted a discussion question on Focus.com that needs your expert opinion. Bring your A game – A stands for Answer or Advice – and see what leading B2B marketers have to say.

Here’s the question and background (the link to the question on Focus is below):

Question: What are the main barriers to a successful deployment of a marketing automation solution?

Background: By most accounts, 2009 has been a breakout year for the marketing automation space. And while the category itself is not new, we now have a robust and growing ecosystem of vendor solutions, resellers, agencies, consultants, integrators, and marketers with deployment experience. However, as we discovered over the 10-year evolution of the Hosted CRM market, there are always hard knocks and lessons learned on the way to excellence. So as we head into 2010, let’s hear from those who’ve been there and done marketing automation: what are the key issues for marketers to prepare for (and overcome) when implementing a solution?

http://www.focus.com/questions/marketing/what-are-main-barriers-successful-deployment-marketing/

Note to readers: I recommend you answer this question on Focus. (While I’d be honored to see your reply posted in my blog comments, there’s frankly a much bigger audience and more robust conversation over on Focus.) Oh, and full disclosure for our friends at the Federal Trade Commission: I do some work with Tippit, the owner of Focus.com, as Head of their Tippit Consulting group. But promoting/endorsing the Focus.com web property is not part of the scope of my relationship with Tippit.