Activity [the conference and the salespipeline]
It is twelve months since Neil and Maddison started their consultancy offering business-marketing planning advice. Initially, most of their clients were from Neil’s original marketing consultancy, however, slowly but surely they are gaining new clients. Now they have come to the attention of the National CMO – of a global company. The CMO is looking for inspiration to refresh the companies annual conference.
Maddison consider this as an exciting opportunity – Neil thinks setting up a new division with Maddison is starting to show dividends
In this activity we discuss the initial meeting with the client and a follow-up meeting. You will noticed that although most attention [in the general marketing literature] is given to the start of the salespipeline [attract], this activity is directed towards retaining clients, enhancing relationships, improving revenue, and reducing the cost of doing business.
Neil and Maddison have been invited to a meeting with Barbara, the CMO of a large global organisation with a national presence in Australia. The company specialise in building products at a B2B wholesale – their customers deal with builders, the trade, and hardware stores.
The CMO has a plan – she would like them both to attend the organisation’s national conference as ‘secret shoppers’. The CMO has given them an alias company to enable them to perform their roles. She asks if they are up to it and although Neil has reservations Maddison is keen.
The CMO’s plan is for Neil and Maddison to attend the conference ‘gather intelligence’ and report back on what could be improved. Neil thought that the CMO’s colleagues may be unaware of this plan.
One month later, after attending the conference, they came back to the CMO. After initial pleasantries – Maddison starts – ‘Look don’t get us wrong – this was a good conference and everyone said that they enjoyed it, they loved the food and the resort and certainly, some good business relationships were cemented. But, throughout the 3 days no one researched our alias, no one asked either of us for an order – yet 3 people asked Neil what AFL team he supported. Sorry – but it was a junket and it is my guess; that when everyone gets back to work and has to clear their in-tray the conference message will be quickly forgotten’.
Neil then asks Barbara – ‘are you open to a radical idea?’
‘Of course! that is exactly what I want’ states Barbara.
Maddison outline their plan. ‘Broadly speaking – next year we would like to plan and/or run the conference. You invite the same channel partners as this year and the key account managers from across the country. However, in the weeks before the conference you ask your state managers to audit the marketing metrics with a particular focus on their key accounts – by product, by month, by branch, by salesperson, order frequency and recency – your call on the metrics. Furthermore, the state managers will document the support that they have given each key account – training, cooperative advertising, rebates etc – your call.”
Neil chips in, ‘This information is probably already available it just needs to be reorganized’.
Barbara states, ‘Actually, I could get my staff to organise it from the monthly CRM reports and then send it to the state managers for verification’.
Neil states, ‘If each key account manager is responsible then maybe that will focus them than if you ‘spoon feed’ them.’
Maddison continues, ‘Getting back to the conference. The choice of speakers is important, because there was a number of negative comments about ‘the same old same old’ and ‘teaching us to suck eggs’. Neil and I will act as the MC’s, that way we can be more directive than your team. We think that one guest speaker should be a chief economist – the idea would be to provide overall market conditions CEMSTEEP projections for next year. Another speaker would be an analyst from a company that monitors building activity and can forecast next year’s building activity state by state. A leading architect to talk about trends in the housing sector – internationally and in Australia. Barbara, you would drop the sales training presentation as most delegates are managers and don’t interact with customers at a sales level, instead, outline this year’s sales by product group, show the trends over the last few years and indicate where you see the market going next year’.
Barbara states, ‘I have always felt that my presentations are missing the mark – thanks for being honest’.
Neil states, ‘Sales training is a state manager’s responsibility [not a CMO’s] to supervise the sales representatives that are undertaking the training – customer by customer, salesperson by salesperson – maybe introduce a marketing metrics that measures sales training activity’.
Maddison continued, ‘On the last day of the conference you had a golf day – yet less than 10% of the male delegates and 2% of the female delegates that we spoke with regularly play golf – so you talk about being ‘customer centric’ and then cater to the CEOs preference for golf. I propose you go to a local bowling green and play bowls – or something else – go-karting. Use the extra time to get your state managers and sales teams to sit down with each key account, one at a time, and discuss targets for the next 12 months – based on the economist’s predictions and industry trends. Identify what is the market share for each key account and find out what you can do to help each key account to increase their market share – what is working what is not – create a marketing action plan for each key account’.
Barbara is nodding, ‘Your right – we would rarely get a chance to get the key account decision-makers in one room and this will improve our forecasting’.
Neil states, ‘Barbara, sorry if this is a bit out there, but, I feel this approach will help your key accounts to also manage their business and help the state managers and sales representatives to better manage each account’.
Maddison continues, ‘Finish the conference with a big dinner, perhaps a comedian, some music and dump the golf awards and long speeches’. Pre-dinner drinks could be from a local winery – meet the winemaker and the chance for the winery to build their B2B mailing list – get local food on the menu – leverage the event through social media.
Just then David, the CEO, walks past Barbara’s office and recognises Neil and Maddison from the conference. David pops in to say hello, he is smiling as he sits down, ‘How did you enjoy the conference? – by the way, Barbara only told me about her devious plan this morning’.
Barbara sheepishly smiles back and states, ‘David, this is radical and refreshing – here is their report, I am sure you will find it interesting – ignore the bit about my presentation and your golf’.
A few minutes later David rises from his seat and walks to the door, ‘Barbara, employing you was the best decision I ever made – by the way, I just pretend to like golf – thanks everyone’.
Measuring marketing metrics according to the COMP factors is an important part of managing the salespipeline. Outline how this approach will help the strategic business planning group, the CMO, the state managers and the sales representatives to achieve the 9 key marketing objectives.
In the marketing action plan; Software for marketing practitioners the following marketing metrics are listed and linked to customer relationship management software.
Product sales analysis, total sales X product, total sales X territory, sales by [hour/day/week/month/year/ or other suitable unit of measure e.g., weather], Number of transactions, Average sell price, Margins X product, Cost of sales, Customer revenue, Average customer revenue, Customer acquisition costs, Average acquisition costs, Sale baseline rate, Suspect > prospect > sales lead conversion rate and time, Salesperson lead conversion rate, Allocation of sales to communication activity, Customer satisfaction rates, Net Promoter Score, Customer lifetime value, Average customer lifetime value, Customer retention rates, Customer retention costs, Customer frequency & recency, Average customer frequency & recency, Customer loyalty.