Market Commentary: Sales and Marketing Observations
As I have progressed through the year and spoken to many business owners and Sales and Marketing Directors, I have formed the opinion that there is much for clients to sift through in selecting the right partner to work with to grow their business. We have written a couple of useful blogs to identify how to select the right sales and marketing outsourcing partner, available HERE.
I acknowledge that the digital and marketing agency market is a minefield to find the right fit – do you work better with a full service agency or a niche agency provider with specific skills?
The feedback provided by prospective clients is that they struggle to see and justify ROI with digital initiatives. This validates, in my mind, that there seems to be a silo approach to marketing growth, which causes a flow on effect for allocating further budget unless there is tangible success and metrics and KPI's which can be achieved.
I have observed that there seems to be less commercial or business acumen that goes into consulting with the client on real business strategy first, leveraging sales and marketing planning. Again from clients’ feedback, this ‘approach’ often comes with short-term tactics and/or costly monthly retainers without a focus on outcome based results and shared risk.
Tips for Digital or Traditional Marketing Agencies:
For the good marketing agencies out there who are trying to increase their value and lift their business, a clear differentiator is on having better sales enablement and go-to-market planning, without being a “me too or me also” and cheapest price proposition.
In a highly commoditised market for products and services, a transactional business model isn’t sustainable and lowest price usually still compromises quality if you aren’t willing to share the risk with the client for an agreed outcome or target KPI's.
Over the past 12 months, I have observed some of the following common challenges for smaller marketing agencies, which seem to be common in discussions out in the market:
- Ability to shift to value-based pricing and greater client focus
- Progressive Product & Services solution bundling for higher profit margins and to meet market demands
- Lack of investment with dedicated sales resources for Business Development and Account Management functions.
- Lack of defined standardised sales processes and sales enablement activities aligned to the strategic growth plan and clear target market and positioning around this.
- Awareness and implementation of a customer lifetime value model.
At the end of the day, clients want to and need to see ROI as an outcome for a set strategy, regularly reviewed for the most effective impact.
You may drive up the visits, CPC or PPC figures or website click and bounce rates rate to achieve new visits, contacts and conversion, however I believe the other half of the equation lies within the Sales function. This is still the real time living mechanism for opportunity conversion and unless you are able to provide solid qualified leads (Marketing – MQL, to Sales - SQL), then often there is a need to mature the sales and marketing process alignment which then develops into an integrated sales and marketing approach.
There needs to be both inbound marketing automation and also human interaction with outbound and client facing engagement resources to address the prospective clients needs whilst ensuring a personalise approach is provided with every touchpoint, contact and knowledge of your client's business and challenges. One of the cost effective methods is to consider engaging Inside Sales to assist with working the full marketing and sales funnel for lead generation and lead nurturing.
APAC market trend for Technology Companies
Over the last year, I have also spoken to many disruptive and start up global technology companies about New Market Expansion and New Market Entry – Many disruptive players in ICT sector are still looking to grow their market by coming to APAC region from Europe or US.
Some challenges we have seen from new market assessments is related to allocating realistic local budgets, talent acquisition expectations, not having local market insights without due diligence or preparation and expectations into market rates, localised pricing and go to market entry plans.
If you are looking at setting up in a new market within APAC or A/NZ region, it would be beneficial to consider having a chat with us and discuss your specific requirements. Our recommendation would be to consider a new market entry assessment.
In summary from our market feedback and client engagement, the importance of aligning sales and marketing strategy and process with suitable investment in this fast and dynamic changing market could be a key to increasing sales growth and your success.
For a detailed read of our latest Newsletter Q1 FY17/18 please click here