Identifying the Sales to Marketing Effort Relationship and its Modeling
Sales and Marketing are both working towards the same goal: securing business and helping their company grow.
Sales is a direct process in which the salesperson talks to the customer and steers them towards making a purchase. This might be in person, over the phone, or using a digital communication medium like email or even social media. The process might be very long, taking place over multiple conversations in which the salesperson learns about the customer and their pain points, and helps them understand how the product on offer can help solve them.
It could also be a very short process consisting of a single conversation in which the salesperson lays out the terms of the deal and processes the sale.
Marketing is a much more holistic process that is designed to increase awareness of a brand or product to the target consumer as a whole. Rarely will a marketer deal one-on-one with a customer.
The methods, tactics, and channels used by the marketing department look very little like they did even 15 years ago. It’s primarily digital, including (but not limited to):
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing (SMM)
- Email marketing
- Organic traffic and search engine optimization (SEO)
- PPC ads
- Influencer marketing
- Collaborate on sales content creation
A recent CSO Insights study showed that 32% of a sales rep’s time was spent looking for or creating sales content. Creating content that sales teams can use in their proposals and throughout the selling process is a major factor in an outstanding sales enablement strategy.
Both sales and marketing need to work together to understand their audience and create targeted content that speaks directly to customers.
- Inform outbound emails
In an ideal world, all sales would be inbound with customers lining up to get their hands on your product or service. But the reality is that, at some point, sales needs to be in charge of sourcing and contacting their own leads.
To effectively do this, sales should work with marketing to be knowledgeable on what marketing materials are already readily available. Marketing and sales can also work together to create new, dynamic material that focuses on the winning strategies of each department. This creates a unified brand image and voice.
- Systemize lead scoring
Marketing and sales teams need to have an ongoing conversation about lead conversion — what’s working, what’s not, who it’s working for, etc. Creating and converting MQLs to SQLs and, ultimately, to win deals is an always moving target — that’s why it’s important to ask these questions, to figure out why it’s working or not working.
Those changing results and targets of a company’s “why” increase the urgency for clear communication and getting on the same page. Both sales and marketing teams need to create one system for scoring and evaluating. The system is entirely conditional and depends entirely on the product, the audience, and the buying cycle. Turning an MQL into an SQL too soon can hurt conversion, so you need to find the sweet spot in the life cycle. This can only be found by trial and error, communication, and evolution.
- Develop buyer personas
Sales is the front line of any successful company. They know who’s buying and why those customers are motivated to buy in the first place. Marketing understands the industry at large and who they should be targeting. The best buyer personas are born from a mixture of marketing research and insights from your actual customer base.
The sales team can provide important insights and generalizations on the leads they’re interacting with the most, while marketing research can inform broader insights like patterns and commonalities. Sales and marketing must direct their efforts at the same prospects and be completely aligned on decisions and pricing.
Together, sales and marketing need to create comprehensive buyer personas to better target their ideal customer, increase acquisition, and create targeted ads and pitches that are symbiotic.
- Leverage marketing to showcase your sales team’s expertise
Ideally, sales teams are brilliant at lead generation and closing sales but aren’t always their own best advocates when it comes to selling themselves. That’s why they need your marketing team’s power to create materials that showcase their expertise.
- Hold regular meetings
Even the most amicable and aligned departments need actual face time to develop their internal relationships and sense of how the other works. Hold regular meetings to discuss new strategies, go over the results of current campaigns, and learn more about each team’s processes. An added benefit is getting marketing’s feedback and insight on the sales team’s agenda, and vice versa.
- Break down barriers
Aligning your sales and marketing teams may require more than weekly meetings, and it might take a refresh in terminology and perspective. Break down departmental barriers and replace the concept of a sales funnel with a revenue cycle.
Work through the foundation of what that revenue cycle should look like. This is the time when both sales and marketing get to flex their muscles and bring their expertise to the table.
Remember, some areas will overlap, but they may be called different things. The marketing department may be focused on digital assets and ROI, while the sales team may be looking at the same assets regarding what types of sales leads they generate. Work together to determine the best lead generation techniques and ROI as a team instead of by department.
- Use collaborative analysis
When you’re trying to align two departments, it’s not enough to just focus on KPIs and collaborative practices. When you’re breaking down departmental barriers, the lines will likely blur between what the marketing and sales teams are working on.
It’s important to analyze and measure the results as a team, which will help everyone get on the same page about ROI and understand how collaborative efforts are impacting your bottom line. Your team ROI may require both departments to analyze email campaigns or lead generation data to determine what’s working and what’s not. Looking at these numbers individually just pushes your teams back into a silo situation where the work becomes fragmented.
MARKETING MIX MODELING (MMM)
Marketing mix modeling (MMM) is statistical analysis such as multivariate regressions on sales and marketing time series data to estimate the impact of various marketing tactics (marketing mix) on sales and then forecast the impact of future sets of tactics. It is often used to optimize advertising mix and promotional tactics with respect to sales revenue or profit.
The techniques were developed by econometricians and were first applied to consumer packaged goods, since manufacturers of those goods had access to good data on sales and marketing support. Improved availability of data, massively greater computing power, and the pressure to measure and optimize marketing spend has driven the explosion in popularity as a marketing tool. In the recent times MMM has found acceptance as a trustworthy marketing tool among the major consumer marketing companies. Often in the digital media context, MMM is referred to as attribution modeling.
Marketing mix modeling is an analytical approach that uses historic information, such as syndicated point-of-sale data and companies’ internal data, to quantify the sales impact of various marketing activities. Mathematically, this is done by establishing a simultaneous relation of various marketing activities with the sales, in the form of a linear or a non-linear equation, through the statistical technique of regression. MMM defines the effectiveness of each of the marketing elements in terms of its contribution to sales-volume, effectiveness (volume generated by each unit of effort), efficiency (sales volume generated divided by cost) and ROI. These learnings are then adopted to adjust marketing tactics and strategies, optimize the marketing plan and also to forecast sales while simulating various scenarios.
Components of Marketing mix modeling (MMM)
Marketing-mix models decompose total sales into two components:
- Base Sales: This is the natural demand for the product driven by economic factors like pricing, long-term trends, seasonality, and also qualitative factors like brand awareness and brand loyalty.
- Incremental Sales: Incremental sales are the component of sales driven by marketing and promotional activities. This component can be further decomposed into sales due to each marketing component like Television advertising or Radio advertising, Print Advertising (magazines, newspapers etc.), Coupons, Direct Mail, Internet, Feature or Display Promotions and Temporary Price Reductions. Some of these activities have short-term returns (Coupons, Promotions), while others have longer term returns (TV, Radio, Magazine/Print).
Elements measured in Marketing mix modeling (MMM)
(i) Base and incremental volume
The very break-up of sales volume into base (volume that would be generated in absence of any marketing activity) and incremental (volume generated by marketing activities in the short run) across time gain gives wonderful insights. The base grows or declines across longer periods of time while the activities generating the incremental volume in the short run also impact the base volume in the long run. The variation in the base volume is a good indicator of the strength of the brand and the loyalty it commands from its users.
(ii) Media and advertising
Market mix modeling can determine the sales impact generated by individual media such as television, magazine, and online display ads. In some cases it can be used to determine the impact of individual advertising campaigns or even ad executions upon sales. For example, for TV advertising activity, it is possible to examine how each ad execution has performed in the market in terms of its impact on sales volume.
(iii) Trade promotions
Trade promotion is a key activity in every marketing plan. It is aimed at increasing sales in the short term by employing promotion schemes which effectively increases the customer awareness of the business and its products. The response of consumers to trade promotions is not straight forward and is the subject of much debate. Non-linear models exist to simulate the response. Using MMM we can understand the impact of trade promotion at generating incremental volumes. It is possible to obtain an estimate of the volume generated per promotion event in each of the different retail outlets by region. This way we can identify the most and least effective trade channels. If detailed spend information is available we can compare the Return on Investment of various trade activities like Every Day Low Price, Off-Shelf Display. We can use this information to optimize the trade plan by choosing the most effective trade channels and targeting the most effective promotion activity.
Price increases of the brand impact the sales volume negatively. This effect can be captured through modeling the price in MMM. The model provides the price elasticity of the brand which tells us the percentage change in the sales for each percentage change in price. Using this, the marketing manager can evaluate the impact of a price change decision.
For the element of distribution, we can know how the volume will move by changing distribution efforts or, in other words, by each percentage shift in the width or the depth of distribution. This can be identified specifically for each channel and even for each kind of outlet for off-take sales. In view of these insights, the distribution efforts can be prioritized for each channel or store-type to get the maximum out of the same. A recent study of a laundry brand showed that the incremental volume through 1% more presence in a neighborhood Kirana store is 180% greater than that through 1% more presence in a supermarket. Based upon the cost of such efforts, managers identified the right channel to invest more for distribution.
When a new product is launched, the associated publicity and promotions typically results in higher volume generation than expected. This extra volume cannot be completely captured in the model using the existing variables. Often special variables to capture this incremental effect of launches are used. The combined contribution of these variables and that of the marketing effort associated with the launch will give the total launch contribution. Different launches can be compared by calculating their effectiveness and ROI.
The impact of competition on the brand sales is captured by creating the competition variables accordingly. The variables are created from the marketing activities of the competition like television advertising, trade promotions, product launches etc. The results from the model can be used to identify the biggest threat to own brand sales from competition. The cross-price elasticity and the cross-promotional elasticity can be used to devise appropriate response to competition tactics. A successful competitive campaign can be analyzed to learn valuable lesson for the own brand. television & Broadcasting: the application of MMM can also be applied in the broadcast media. Broadcasters may want to know what determine whether a particular will be sponsored. This could depend on the presenter attributes, the content, and the time the program is aired. these will therefore form the independent variables in our quest to design a program salability function. Program salabibility is a function of the presenter attributes, the program content and the time the program is aired.