Monday, October 1, 2012

Three Things You Should Forget about B2B Sales and Marketing

Sometimes the things we forget are as important as those we remember.  Well, here's 3 things I think we would all do to forget in our B2B go to market strategies...

1) Demo only when qualified - NO - Buyers come in MANY shapes and sizes, with MANY email addresses, and in MANY states of readiness.  In all cases, they have come to expect to be able to see the service or product experience.   Since so many sales cycles are now 'hidden', if you don't "show me the money" early, you could lose and not even know it...

2) Enterprise sales are top down, always - NO.  Just ask Yammer, Atlassian or even and others.  Many enterprise sales cycles are now driven bottoms up by the line manager who has the problem to solve.  Now enterpise sales has ALWAYS been a combination of top down and bottom up selling, but today, the scales are tipping to the bottom up.  Velocity now requires trial, demo and value delivery EARLY and OFTEN.

3)Qualified leads matter most - NO, marketing must now deliver qualified buyers to sales.  Sales then must slam the door shut.  Marketing used to be the warm up act, and sales the concert giver.  Now it looks more like Marketing plays the first 2 acts and sales ends the show.   With hidden sales cycles and self directed buyers, marketing must not just find qualified leads, they must find the active buyers.

Each of these things to forget have broad and significant sales and marketing implications, on tactics, measurement, roles and org structutres...more of that to come in another blog...


  1. Hi Ken,

    As to your second point-" Many enterprise sales cycles are now driven bottoms up by the line manager who has the problem to solve."
    My observation is that if you intend to use a bottom up (viral) strategy where the target market is the enterprise, you need to be prepared and able to raise big capital-well north of $50M. That is because the failure rate of each viral sales cycle will be high.
    Exhibits: ($64M), Yammer ($142M)
    I doubt that many enterprise sales cycles are now driven bottoms because not many companies can raise that kind of investment. As David Sacks of Yammer said:"The key learning was that the viral model got them in the door, but they had to build an enterprise sales team to close the deals".

  2. Chuck, I agree whole heartedly that the viral model DOES NOT equate to an enterprise sales strategy. From trial to conversion requires a nurturing of experience, a clear communication of value and a closing process, ie, a sales cycle. I'd just argue that the days of enterprise sales are changing to a VALUE and EXPERINENC DELIVERY process vs. a convince and evaluate of benefits...