Tuesday, August 7, 2012

B2B Lead Generation – New Sales Skills Need Complimentary Marketing Support

B2B lead generation is a tool that offers sales not only opportunities but also insight on their prospect. That insight is critical given the rise of new sales techniques that are allegedly doing away with the old.

At least, that's what Lynette Ryals and Javier Marcos are saying on the HBR Blog Network. To summarize, they're echoing the beliefs of many other sales professionals that the old modes of traditional selling are making way for the type of selling that emphasizes on relationships prior to the sale. These in turn would require new skills from sales people and thus, marketing should be able to come up with complimentary support to help them meet these new demands:

Commercial skills and capabilities are about financial insight, business acumen and customer insight — specifically, insight beyond what the customer has articulated.”

This only raises the amount and grade of information that marketing services should acquire. The methods also need to be more subtle. Techniques like taking surveys need to ask questions that are formulated based on knowledge and analysis that's beyond the capability of prospects.

Relational skills and capabilities include the ability to manage multi-level, multifunctional relationships, to understand relational dynamics and to inspire trust.”

Establishing trust is one of the initial tasks in any marketing approach. You don't attempt the sale when you're first contacting a prospect. They have to be qualified first and more interest needs to be established. That interest however can be affected by the amount of trust that you gained. Acquiring said trust means you're helping sales to develop a connection and gain more and more permission to stay connected.

Managerial skills and capabilities needed by people in sales roles include people management skills (because so much business-to-business selling is now done in teams and cross-functionally); high ethical standards and integrity (growing customer demands in relation to corporate social responsibility and ethics are changing selling behaviors); openness to change and adaptability; and influencing skills.”

Now just because high managerial skills are necessary doesn't mean you can't make your marketing efforts easier to manage. If sales is willing to lay out clear-cut requirements, then the marketing approach must be ready to meet those requirements. The same goes for their ethical standards (make sure your practices are legitimate and acceptable). An openness to change also extends to marketing given that different forms of marketing are often the result of changes in market behavior.

Cognitive skills and capabilities include innovative problem solving; the ability to identify opportunities; ”

Seeing as how generating leads is all about indicating opportunities, any additional information from marketing should ultimately serve to assist in identifying problems. This is where it's most critical for sales to lay out specifications while at the same time, marketing strategies should end up delivering leads that meet these specifications. Some sales teams won't demand anything too complicated but others might. In the end, it's all about how one party coordinates with the other.

The new skills described in this article can apply to B2B sales in any industry. Thus, it's not surprising that you can demand complimentary marketing support for it from any type marketer out there. You can have these requirements for online marketers as well as professional telemarketers. A change in sales will always demand complimentary marketing support.

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