The Power of Planning - Funnel 2012

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Bob Apollo's presentation from Funnel 2012: why, when it comes to B2B sales and marketing alignment, the plan is nothing - but planning is everything

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  • INTRO | This stream has been all about planning, and I want to add a footnote to today’s sessions by sharing some simple, practical experiences. We work with a number of B2B clients, helping them bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Now, of course that requires planning. But it also requires execution. And it also requires great alignment between sales and marketing. I’ve seen – as you probably have – many plans that simply gather dust. That don’t come anywhere close to achieving what was hoped for. In fact, they might lead you to ask a very fundamental question [ADVANCE]
  • Why plan? Why bother? Why not just get on with it and go with the flow? Years ago, one of my mentors at HP – in the days when it was a truly great company, and knew a thing or two about effective planning – made his point by illuminating the consequences of not planning [ADVANCE]
  • As he pointed out, with just a hint of tongue in cheek, one of the great benefits [READ] And we don’t like worrying, do we? For me, one of the primary benefits of effective planning is that it serves to bring together the different elements of an organisation. [ADVANCE]
  • In fact, for me, planning is mostly about achieving alignment. Alignment between sales and marketing and between a company and it’s customers. In fact, achieving better alignment is a top objective for many CEOs [ADVANCE]
  • So why is alignment regarded as such a good thing? [ADVANCE]
  • When the Aberdeen Group asked a group of senior executives why they were driving alignment within their organisations, they talked about improving forecast accuracy, about increasing sales conversion rates, and about shortening sales cycles. But most of all, they talked about increasing top line revenues [ADVANCE]
  • And, as the Aberdeen research proved, highly aligned organisations consistently do better in a series of critical metrics. For example, in highly aligned organisations marketing generates THREE times more pipeline value [ADVANCE]
  • And specifically when it comes to growing top line revenues, highly aligned organisations grew 39% faster than weakly aligned organisations. In fact, weakly aligned organisations showed revenue shrinkage rather than growth. [ADVANCE]
  • So, alignment is a good thing. It generates impressive benefits. But there’s a problem. [ADVANCE]
  • And that problem is in the quality of relationship that exists between sales and marketing in most organisations. Eloqua found… They heard sales people complaining about the lack of leads generated by marketing. And they heard marketers complaining that sales people never followed up on all the leads they were generating.
  • So why is this? Why does it sometimes seem as if the two organisations are on different planets? [CLICK]Is it – as one author suggested – because sales is from Mars and Marketing from Venus? [ADVANCE]
  • Is it because, as one recent survey suggested, because alignment means different things to the two groups? [CLICK]Is it because, when marketing talks about alignment, they want to be respected? [CLICK]And when sales talks about alignment, they want marketing to do as they are told? [ADVANCE]
  • Why is there such a dichotomy? When I was preparing this presentation, I first wondered whether I could use a dating agency as an example. I wondered if I could learn anything from how they implemented compatibility questionnaires. But – and I thought it important to make this clear – I have no experience of that process. So I decided to follow a different path of investigation. [ADVANCE]
  • And, rather than trying to learn lessons from romance, I thought I would see what I could learn from conflict [ADVANCE].
  • What could some of the world’s greatest military minds teach us about planning and alignment? Some of you may recognise this gentleman. Dwight D Eisenhower lead the largest invasion force ever assembled in the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944. You’d think an operation of that size would be planned down to the last detail. And is was. But Eisenhower said something very profound about the nature of planning. [CLICK]Of his experiences, he said “Plans are nothing; Planning is everything” What did he mean? [ADVANCE]
  • Another American General, George S Patton, perhaps the greatest tank commander the world has ever seen, understood something about planning as well. The plan is not the end in itself – even if some corporate planners behave as if they believe otherwise. The purpose of any plan is to inform action. And there’s no point in polishing a plan – knowing Patton he would probably have used more colourful language – to perfection. [CLICK]That’s why, as he told his subordinates, it is better to execute a good plan today than a perfect plan in the future [ADVANCE]
  • Our third and last military inspiration comes from the Prussian General Helmuthe von Molke the Elder. [CLICK].He observed that no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy. From that moment on, you are forced to react to events. [CLICK]I’d paraphrase the lesson as no plan ever survives first contact with the customer [CLICK]
  • So how does the military cope with this dichotomy? Their solution is embedded in what is known as the Commander’s Intent. The commanders intent recognises that no plan survives first contact with the enemy. It recognises that from that point on, it’s all about manoeuvring in the light of the unfolding situation [ADVANCE]
  • I interpret the Commander’s intent as enshrining three principles [READ][ADVANCE]
  • You see alignment isn’t just about aligning sales and marketing. It’s about [READ]And aligning the brand promise and the customer experience turns out to be particularly critical. Here’s why [ADVANCE]
  • You see, in the grand scheme of things, your brand image has relatively little effect on considered purchase buying decisions. Your product or service offering the same. Your pricing strategy even less so. What makes the biggest difference is the interaction with the vendor and their representatives. And if your sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned, aren’t planning together to deliver an outstanding sales experience at every stage of the buyer’s journey, you will fail. You will loose [ADVANCE]
  • So what do considered purchase buyers really value? [READ]You notice something? There’s nothing in here about being a product expert. Or about having the lowest price. Or the largest promotional budget. It’s about delivering an outstanding buying experience.
  • So I want to spend the rest of this session sharing some tips about how sales and marketing can plan together to deliver that outstanding buying experience [ADVANCE]
  • First: Sales and Marketing must agree on the organisations you’re going to target. If this seems like a statement of the blindingly obvious, I only make it because so many organisations fail to get aligned around this most basic of points [ADVANCE]
  • So – what does an ideal customer look like? And despite appearances, and particularly for those in the audience of a certain age, I would simply say that the ideal customer rarely looks like JOHN TRAVOLTA [ADVANCE]
  • Many vendors start and end their market definition with demographics – size, sector and location – and leave it there. But demographics by themselves are a hopeless way of targeting ideal customers in a considered purchase environment [CLICK]Structural factors – how they are organised – often give much better indicators. For example, if you’re a SaaS vendor, you’d want to know if the prospect had successfully implemented other SaaS solutions in the past [CLICK]Behavioural factors give us more important clues. Are they leaders of laggards? Innovators or conservative? Do they have constructive or confrontational relationships with their suppliers [CLICK]Most important of all, situational factors. What’s happening in the organisation right now? What’s just changed? What’s in the process of changing? These trigger events are the most powerful predicator of all [ADVANCE]
  • You see, the traditional approach of segmenting markets by their boundaries – whether those boundaries are geographical, size related or based on SIC codes – is much less effective than defining them by the high points of your ideal customers. You need to sell and market to the mountain tops, not the valleys [ADVANCE]
  • So what does an ideal customer look like. Well, let me illustrate by describing an ideal customer for our own organisation. [READ] [ADVANCE]
  • So here’s alignment tip number one: [READ] [ADVANCE]
  • Next: Considered purchase decisions involve multiple buyer stakeholders. So your sales and marketing teams need to get together to identify and profile these key stakeholders using buyer personas [ADVANCE]
  • In most complex, considered purchase environments, there are at least three groups of key stakeholders [READ]. You may have more [ADVANCE]
  • If you’re to satisfy their needs, you need to understand what motivates each key stakeholder type. You need to understand [READ]. [ADVANCE]
  • To illustrate the point, here’s a simplified stakeholder profile for the key influencer in most of our client relationships: the CEO/Founder of an expansion-phase B2B organisation. [READ] You get the drift, I hope. [ADVANCE]
  • So here’s the second alignment tip: [READ] [ADVANCE]
  • But there’s more [READ] [ADVANCE]
  • Next: if the buying experience is to be relevant, sales and marketing need to agree on the issues that are most likely to be interesting to your prospects [ADVANCE]
  • You need to understand that there are three types of issues: Interesting [CLICK] Important [CLICK] but only Urgent
  • Two, issues have consequences. Nobody invests time in trivial issues. They could spend ages talking about significant issues [CLICK] but at the end of the day, if the issue isn’t critical, the status quo wins [ADVANCE]
  • Last, there’s no point in raising an urgent issue with critical consequences if that doesn’t lead towards a unique capability that solves the problem better than any other option available to the prospect. Otherwise, you’re just educating the market for the opposition. And, for heavens sake, don’t descent into a long feature function list [CLICK] You’ve got to show how and why your approach is different nbfore you then go on to prove how you deliver superior outcomes [ADVANCE]
  • Your sales and marketing teams have got to get aligned around urgent issues, critical consequences and unique capabilities [ADVANCE]
  • Let me illustrate the point again with reference to our own business. We target organisations that match our ideal prospect profile [READ] [CLICK] [CLICK] [ADVANCE]
  • So here’s my third tip for getting sales and marketing aligned [READ] [ADVANCE]
  • And, by the way, make sure that your sales people are equipped to have consultations that build on and develop those core messages [ADVANCE]
  • My final recommendation for aligning sales and marketing: you need to behave as one team, to manage one funnel, and to implement one plan [ADVANCE]
  • Here’s what I mean by having one team. You don’t have to all report to the same person (but that usually helps). You need to have a common declared focus [CLICK]Common goals and metrics, based on outcomes not activities. I’m not interested in how many raw leads you generate, and neither should you be [CLICK]And you need to agree some simple common definitions for [READ] [ADVANCE]
  • Next, behaving as one team requires that you have clear roles and responsibilities [READ] [CLICK]That you have regular reviews at every level [CLICK]And that you have clear hand-offs and hand-backs that means – acknowledging our military friends from earlier – that no lead gets left behind [ADVANCE]
  • Next, planning for alignment must revolve around one funnel that spans every stage in the customer’s buying decision process – not separate sales and marketing funnels[READ] [CLICK]Let me give you an example of the outcomes you can achieve when this comes together [ADVANCE]
  • One of our clients approached us, in part, because they were frustrated with sales forecast accuracy and the impact it was having on revenue performance.Like the typical company in a recent study by CSO Insights, less than 50% of their forecasted deals had been closing as planned. We worked with them to implement a structured sales funnel with clear stage definitions and milestones, based on observed evidence of buying behaviour. I spoke to the CEO the other day [CLICK]To his delight, their recent month had been the best ever [READ] There’s no reason why you could not achieve something similar [ADVANCE]
  • To wrap things up: alignment isn’t just about having one team, and one funnel: it’s about having one plan. A plan that incorporates [READ] [ADVANCE]
  • So here’s how it all comes together: You start with a clear FOCUS, Define the core PROCESSES and then implement integrated PROGRAMMES.
  • In Summary
  • You see, it’s really simple: READSuccess doesn’t happen by accident – but if you follow the principles I’ve suggested, you’ll have a much better chance of standing on the winners podium in 2013.Thank you, and I’d be pleased to answer questions [ADVANCE]
  • The Power of Planning - Funnel 2012

    1. 1. @bobapollo #Funnel12PLANNINGBob Apollo | Inflexion-Point
    2. 2. @bobapollo #Funnel12WHY PLAN?
    3. 3. @bobapollo #Funnel12One of the great benefits of not planning is thatfailure comes as a complete surprise andis not preceded by a long periodof unnecessary worrying
    4. 4. @bobapollo #Funnel12ALIGNMENT
    5. 5. @bobapollo #Funnel12ALIGNWHY ISMENTA GOODTHING?
    6. 6. @bobapollo #Funnel12WHY GET ALIGNED?65%INCREASETOPLINEREVENUE38%SHORTENSALESCYCLES23%INCREASECONVERSIONRATES21%IMPROVEFORECASTACCURACYSource: Aberdeen Group
    7. 7. @bobapollo #Funnel12BENEFITS OF STRONG ALIGNMENT40%STRONGLY ALIGNED22%AVERAGE13%WEAKLY ALIGNEDPERCENTAGE OF SALES PIPELINE GENERATED BY MARKETING3*Source: Aberdeen Group
    8. 8. @bobapollo #Funnel12COSTS OF WEAK ALIGNMENT32%STRONGLY ALIGNED18%AVERAGE-7%WEAKLY ALIGNEDAVERAGE ANNUAL REVENUE GROWTH-39%Source: Aberdeen Group
    9. 9. @bobapollo #Funnel12BUT THERE’S A PROBLEM…
    10. 10. @bobapollo #Funnel12of the words used bysales and marketingto describe each otherare negative85%Source: Eloqua
    11. 11. @bobapollo #Funnel12SALESISFROMMARSMARKETINGISFROMVENUS
    12. 12. @bobapollo #Funnel12OBEDIENCERESPECT
    13. 13. @bobapollo #Funnel12WHY?
    14. 14. @bobapollo #Funnel12CONFLICT
    15. 15. @bobapollo #Funnel12Plans are nothing;planning is everything@bobapollo #Funnel12
    16. 16. @bobapollo #Funnel12I would rather have a goodplan now than a perfect plan intwo weeks time
    17. 17. @bobapollo #Funnel12@bobapollo #Funnel12No plan survivesfirst contact with theenemyNo plan survivesfirst contact withthe customer
    18. 18. @bobapollo #Funnel12THE COMMANDER’S INTENT
    19. 19. @bobapollo #Funnel12A clear purposeCommon principlesScope for creativity
    20. 20. @bobapollo #Funnel12ALIGNMENTSALESMARKETINGSTRATEGYEXECUTIONSELLINGBUYINGPROMISEEXPERIENCEALIGNMENT
    21. 21. @bobapollo #Funnel1219%BRAND 19%OFFERING 9%PRICE53%BUYING EXPERIENCEWHAT DRIVES B2B BUYING DECISIONS?Source: Corporate Executive Board
    22. 22. @bobapollo #Funnel12WHAT MAKES FOR A GREAT EXPERIENCE?“OFFERS UNIQUE, VALUABLE PERSPECTIVES ON THE MARKET”“HELPS ME NAVIGATE ALTERNATIVES AND AVOID OBSTACLES”“EDUCATES ME ON NEW ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES”“EARNS WIDESPREAD SUPPORT WITHIN MY ORGANISATION”“PROVIDES ON-GOING ADVICE AND CONSULTATION”Source: Corporate Executive Board
    23. 23. @bobapollo #Funnel12PLANNING FORALIGNMENT(AND A GREATBUYING EXPERIENCE)
    24. 24. @bobapollo #Funnel121: AGREE ON THEORGANISATIONSYOU’RE GOINGTO TARGET
    25. 25. @bobapollo #Funnel12IDEAL CUSTOMERS
    26. 26. @bobapollo #Funnel12DEMOGRAPHICS:Traditional segmentation by size,sector, location, etc…STRUCTURAL:How the company is organised, whatsystems they have in place, etc…BEHAVIOURAL:How the company deals withcustomers, markets, vendors , etc…SITUATIONAL:Issues, trends and trigger events thatcould disturb the status quoIDENTIFYING WITH YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS
    27. 27. @bobapollo #Funnel12Your target markets and customers are must bedefined by their high points, not by their borders
    28. 28. @bobapollo #Funnel12EXAMPLE: IDEAL CUSTOMERExpansion-phase B2B technology businessAnnual revenues in region of £2-20mLengthy, complex sales processMulti-location sales team(s)In markets that need educatingReady to “cross the chasm”Evidence of respect for processRapid growth becoming inconsistentStruggling to forecast revenues accurately
    29. 29. @bobapollo #Funnel12INITIATIVE #1: THE RIGHT CUSTOMERSTARGET YOUR SALES AND MARKETINGACTIVITIES ON AN AGREED SET OF “IDEALCUSTOMERS” DEFINED BY THEIR COMMONDEMOGRAPHIC, STRUCTURAL, BEHAVIOURALAND SITUATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS…
    30. 30. @bobapollo #Funnel122: PROFILE YOUR KEYSTAKEHOLDERSUSING ROLE-BASEDBUYER PERSONAS
    31. 31. @bobapollo #Funnel12TECHNICALCOMMERCIALFUNCTIONAL
    32. 32. @bobapollo #Funnel12TitlesJob descriptionResponsibilitiesMeasures and metricsKey initiativesIssuesGoalsMotivationsConcernsTrigger eventsInfluencers
    33. 33. @bobapollo #Funnel12EXAMPLE: KEY STAKEHOLDERCEO/FounderAmbitious to realise full potentialFrustrated by inconsistent performanceInquisitive, open to listen to othersAlready convinced they need to changeTried and failed internal initiativesPrepared to take decisive actionCOMMERCIAL
    34. 34. @bobapollo #Funnel12INITIATIVE #2: THE RIGHT STAKEHOLDERSGET YOUR SMARTEST SALES PEOPLE ANDMARKETERS TO COLLABORATE ON IDENTIFYINGAND UNDERSTANDING THE KEY STAKEHOLDERSIN THE BUYING DECISION PROCESS
    35. 35. @bobapollo #Funnel12INITIATIVE #2: THE RIGHT STAKEHOLDERSGET YOUR SMARTEST SALES PEOPLE ANDMARKETERS TO COLLABORATE ON IDENTIFYINGAND UNDERSTANDING THE KEY STAKEHOLDERSIN THE BUYING DECISION PROCESS … AND THENSYSTEMATICALLY TEST YOUR UNDERSTANDINGTHROUGH CUSTOMER CONVERSATIONS
    36. 36. @bobapollo #Funnel123: AGREE ONTHE ISSUESYOU’RE GOINGTO ADDRESS
    37. 37. @bobapollo #Funnel12ISSUESURGENTINTERESTINGIMPORTANTISSUESIMPORTANTIMPORTANTINTERESTINGINTERESTINGINTERESTINGINTERESTINGINTERESTING issues might get you consideredIMPORTANT issues might get you evaluatedOnly URGENT issues will get you bought
    38. 38. @bobapollo #Funnel12ISSUES, CONSEQUENCESCRITICALSIGNIFICANTTRIVIALCONSEQUENCESSIGNIFICANTSIGNIFICANTTRIVIALTRIVIALTRIVIALTRIVIALWhen the CONSEQUENCESaren’t CRITICAL, the STATUSQUO wins
    39. 39. @bobapollo #Funnel12ISSUES, CONSEQUENCES AND CAPABILITIESUNIQUEBETTERADEQUATECAPABILITIESADEQUATEADEQUATEADEQUATEBETTERBETTERADEQUATEShow how you’re DIFFERENT before you provehow you deliver SUPERIOR outcomes
    40. 40. @bobapollo #Funnel12ISSUES, CONSEQUENCES AND CAPABILITIESCRITICALSIGNIFICANTTRIVIALCONSEQUENCESUNIQUEBETTERADEQUATECAPABILITIESURGENTINTERESTINGIMPORTANTISSUESIMPORTANTIMPORTANTINTERESTINGINTERESTINGINTERESTINGINTERESTINGSIGNIFICANTSIGNIFICANTTRIVIALTRIVIALTRIVIALTRIVIALADEQUATEADEQUATEADEQUATEBETTERBETTERADEQUATE
    41. 41. @bobapollo #Funnel12EXAMPLEURGENT ISSUE:Inability to accurately forecast sales revenuesCRITICAL CONSEQUENCE:CEO starting to become concerned about their performanceCORE CAPABILITY:Buying behaviour focused, evidence-based forecasting process
    42. 42. @bobapollo #Funnel12INITIATIVE #3: THE RIGHT ISSUESDEVELOP INSIGHTS THAT CONNECT ISSUES THATARE URGENT FOR YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS WITHCRITICAL CONSEQUENCES FOR WHICH YOU HAVEUNIQUELY STRONG CAPABILITIES THAT RESULTIN SUPERIOR OUTCOMES
    43. 43. @bobapollo #Funnel12INITIATIVE #3: THE RIGHT ISSUESDEVELOP INSIGHTS THAT CONNECT ISSUES THATARE URGENT FOR YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS WITHCRITICAL CONSEQUENCES FOR WHICH YOU HAVEUNIQUELY STRONG CAPABILITIES THAT RESULTIN SUPERIOR OUTCOMES… AND MAKE SUREYOUR SALES CONVERSATIONS ARE ALIGNEDWITH YOUR MARKETING MESSAGES
    44. 44. @bobapollo #Funnel124: ONE TEAMONE FUNNELONE PLAN
    45. 45. @bobapollo #Funnel12ONE TEAMCommon focusIdentify, attract, engage, qualify and winmore of the right sort of customersCommon goals and metricsDirectly related to revenueBased on outcomes, not activitiesCommon definitionsMarketing Qualified Lead [MQL]Sales Accepted Lead [SAL]Sales Forecastable Opportunity [SFO]
    46. 46. @bobapollo #Funnel12ONE TEAMClear roles and responsibilitiesMutual, documented expectation-settingRegular reviews at every levelMonitor progressBrainstorm bottlenecksIdentify opportunities for improvementClear hand-offsNo black holes“No lead left behind”
    47. 47. @bobapollo #Funnel12ONE FUNNELBased on phases in buying behaviour, notstages of sales activityProgress measured by observable evidenceof buying behaviourIntense focus on measures, metrics andaccumulated learningPipeline velocity and conversion rateanalysed at every stageThe whole team focuses on identifying andobliterating obstacles
    48. 48. @bobapollo #Funnel12Best Month ever…13out of 14deals closed as forecasted**the missing deal was the lowest valuedopportunityLess than50%of deals closeas forecastedSource: CSO Insights
    49. 49. @bobapollo #Funnel12ONE PLANIdeal customersKey stakeholdersCore issuesIdentifyAttractEngageQualifyWinBreak down revenueand profit targets intorequired activities andoutcomes at everystage of the customeracquisition process
    50. 50. @bobapollo #Funnel12PULLING IT ALL TOGETHERIDEALCUSTOMERSKEYSTAKEHOLDERSISSUES,CONSEQUENCESANDCAPABILITIESBUYER-ALIGNEDSALES PROCESSMESSAGEMAPCONVERSATIONPLANNERSQUALIFICATIONCHECKLISTSPIPELINEMANAGEMENTREVENUEFORECASTINGCONTENTMARKETINGINBOUNDMARKETINGSOCIALMEDIAPHONEMARKETINGSALESTRAININGCOACHINGMENTORINGCRMMARKETINGAUTOMATIONFOCUSPROCESSESPROGRAMMES
    51. 51. @bobapollo #Funnel12IN SUMMARY:TARGET THE RIGHT CUSTOMERSAPPEAL TO THE RIGHT STAKEHOLDERSFOCUS ON THE RIGHT ISSUESONE TEAMONE FUNNELONE PLAN
    52. 52. @bobapollo #Funnel12R E V E N U E I S A T E A M S P O R TSUCCESS DOESN’T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENTONETEAMONEFUNNELONEPLAN
    53. 53. @bobapollo #Funnel12bob.apollo@inflexion-point.com | 07802 313300 | www.inflexion-point.com

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