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Where Did Life Science Innovation Go?

Posted by on Apr 19, 2019 in Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The good old BHAG had quite a run in the ‘90s, but in large part it seems to have disappeared – along with true innovation in larger companies.

I’m not seeing larger life science companies shooting for Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) anymore. Lately, it seems the only growth plan large companies have is acquisition. They’ve left their vision at the door. Instead they watch and wait. They let all the innovation happen at small and start-up level companies. Then they buy them.

Psst…acquisition is not a BHAG.

I think we’ve missed an opportunity, or we’ve lost sight of the opportunity. When Collins and Porras wrote Built to Last, they included visionary companies such as Johnson & Johnson and General Electric but look at where we are now. Did we not follow the rules of Built to Last? Did we not pay attention to the value of BHAGs?

I’ve been wondering why this is happening. Are you?

A Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

Granted, it’s not the most appealing of names but it does deliver the concept of outside-the-box thinking and long-term objectives quite clearly.

In 1994, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras introduced the business world to the BHAG in their book “Built to Last.” The book set the business world on fire and got companies thinking – and acting.

As Jim Collins states:

A true BHAG is clear and compelling and serves as a unifying focal point of effort—often creating immense team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal … A BHAG engages people—it reaches out and grabs them in the gut. It is tangible, energizing, highly focused. People “get it” right away; it takes little or no explanation.

Passion/Best in the World/Economic Engine

The bottom line is your company’s BHAG has got to have passion. It’s got to be ‘best in class’ and it’s got to be a financial driver.

Where Have All the Good Times Gone?

While every goal has an economic driver, are we developing ones with passion? Are they high energy goals with clear finish lines?

For some companies, marketing plans aren’t approved until mid or end of Q1. Due to the delay, marketing teams struggle to get plans in place, editorial opportunities are missed and overall marketing momentum is lost.

Large companies seem to be simply playing with numbers and managing to stockholders’ expectations, shooting for quarter-to-quarter earnings.

You can say BHAGs were a 90’s thing, but I disagree with that assumption.

You can still find companies shooting for BHAGs. Some may be small start-ups who have created their entire culture and product delivery based on BHAGs. And then there are large companies like Netflix, Virgin and other visionary companies shooting for their own BHAGs.

When Built to Last was published in the 90’s, we – as a nation – were doing well. We had great economic growth, the stock market was thriving, and we were building funds in our treasury. In 2000, we had a surplus. So, what happened?

When did goal-setting move from long-term vision to quarter-by-quarter earnings? I have a feeling maybe we got lazy during the good times. It escalated when we had the bubble, and shifted after the dot-com bust. Then everyone started thinking, “Okay, what’s the next quarter? What’s the next quarter?”

Unfortunately, we are living in a month-to-month, quarter-by-quarter environment. I get it. Everyone is hanging on the earnings report. The market is volatile and worldwide trade uncertainty seems to be the order of the day.

But somewhere there has to be a vision for what a company needs to look like 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now.

There’s got to be a roadmap.

Long term economic growth doesn’t come from stockholders whose sole focus is “What’s my return on investment? How much did we make?” It comes from C-suite vision and shareholders who are willing to care about the long-term health of the company they have invested in.

But really, would you need stockholders’ goals if you had Big Hairy Audacious Goals?

Is This Our Opportunity for Big Hairy Audacious Goals?

I think when companies stop striving for BHAGs – whether in product development or larger global impacts, like the moonshot – we all lose.

Here we are in 2019 and it’s the end of the first quarter. Half of the companies out there probably haven’t had their marketing budgets approved yet, and many companies don’t even have their sales quotas out for their sales teams.

Now is the time. You’re planning what you are going to develop during the course of the year. What big challenge needs to be overcome?

It’s time to think about that next revolutionary product or service. It means you need to start to do your homework and create that product based on real information and research. Then market it.

What are we waiting for?

Set Your BHAG

The great thing about big hairy audacious goals is you can set a BHAG any time you want. It’s not driven by a start of the year; it’s not quarter-by-quarter. A BHAG has nothing to do with the quarter.

It has to do with vision. Passion and vision.

These projects can take longer than a year to achieve. But the results will impact future years.

It doesn’t matter when you set them.

Netflix was founded on a BHAG and has continuously set them as part of their growth plan. From “becoming the Amazon of something” at their founding, to transforming movie viewing through streaming to their latest BHAG of “becoming HBO faster than HBO can become Netflix,” Netflix is a perfect example of industry innovation through BHAGs.

Go Get ‘Em

Right now it’s all about enabling your teams to have BHAGs – to want to have BHAGs. So, perhaps now while you’re putting your budget together, you put some money aside to explore BHAGs. And this year, you say, “In 2019, I’m going to encourage our teams to come up with a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.”

You could say, “Look, I want each division to pitch me a BHAG. What’s in your back pocket that you’ve been thinking about that you’re too afraid to talk about?”

Start small, or start in a small market, but encourage your people to think outside-of-the-box. It’s your team that will come up with the Big Idea. There might be a voice in your team that’s very quiet, but there’s a BHAG in there and you’re missing the opportunity.

Are You Ready to Create Opportunity & Innovation?

What are your thoughts about BHAGs? Where do you think we should be going?

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 3: 4 Best Ways to Generate Leads from Trade Shows

Posted by on Mar 11, 2019 in Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

We’ve covered a lot of territory on the topic of maximizing trade show attendance in my two previous posts in this series. We talked about the value of choosing the right shows and conferences and how to prepare for them. We also discussed how to drive traffic to your booth.

But let me ask you this.

What is the single, most important result of attending a tradeshow or conference?

It’s solid sales leads, right?

With 84% of trade show attendees looking for products and services – and also able to make a buying decision, a successful trade show is critical to your company’s sales cycle.

Lead Development Before, During and After Trade Shows

Lead development is a process. There are actions you and your sales team can take in the weeks prior to the show, at the show and following the show to ensure that your company’s attendance has a significant ROI.

It’s helpful to view a trade show or industry conference as one big sales meeting. You wouldn’t walk into a sales meeting unprepared, would you?

Before you head out to your next trade show, make certain you put your lead generating plan in place.

Make Connections

Few people are comfortable working a trade show, and conference promoters know this. That is why virtually every industry gathering has networking tools attendees can use before the conference.

Sometimes these tools allow you to meet fellow attendees and engage in conversation using messaging channels. Some trade show promoters provide matchmaker services using the criteria you give them. And sometimes the show promoter provides private networking groups on social media channels such as LinkedIn or Facebook for attendees to connect with each other.

You know who makes the buying decisions for your product or service. Get into those pre-conference apps and start looking for your target audience. Start your conversations now so by the time you meet in person at the show, you’ll already have a relationship in place.

Ask for the Meeting

Now is not the time to be shy. There is no need to be obnoxious either. Everyone attending a tradeshow is there for a purpose. Most attendees are looking to purchase products or services to solve a problem and they want to do business.

Prior to the show is a perfect time to reach out to your prospect list and re-start conversations by inviting them to your booth. If they will be attending, ask to schedule time with them. Check in with current customers too.

Work through the list of attendees the conference promoter provides and reach out to your decision-makers. Whether you send personal emails, tap the conference networking apps or use social media channels, request a meeting to discuss the challenges they face.

With almost half of all face-to-face meetings converting to a sale,  asking for meetings is critical to your success.

Walk and Work the Floor

Your booth isn’t the only place connections can be made and conversations can convert to sales (or at least take the next step in the sales process). There are many networking opportunities – from cocktail parties to educational sessions where you can meet prospects.

Have you considered how easy it is to strike up a conversation during a lunch break? Get out and get involved in the show’s other activities.

Meanwhile … back at your booth … staff should be focused on diving deep with booth visitors – and taking good notes. It’s not enough to scan a badge and call it a lead. Everyone needs to be trained in asking questions. Here are a few that can move the sales conversation forward:

  • What product or services are they interested in?
  • What challenges are they experiencing that drive them toward this product or service?
  • What timeframe are they envisioning for their purchase?

It’s critical after each interaction booth staff make clear notes which can be entered in your sales database. These notes provide the key steps to personalized tradeshow follow-up.

Nurture Your Relationship with Meaningful Follow-up

I talked about tradeshow follow-up in Part 1 of this series and I simply can’t stress how important meaningful follow-up actions are for your trade show ROI.

Before you leave for the show, you should already have a follow-up plan in place. Your marketing department can create an automated series of segmented emails targeting people you may have missed connecting with or new contacts. They can also build nurturing email campaigns for prospects with longer purchasing lead times. In addition, they can craft follow-up emails that can be adapted by your sales force.

When you return to the office, it’s easy to take pre-scripted follow-up emails and add personalization. By including key information discovered during your conversations and sending targeted whitepapers, case studies or product information, your conference follow-up becomes a valuable email your prospect will be happy to receive. It helps deepen your relationship and move your sales conversation forward.

Your company has invested significant budget in exhibiting and attending trade shows and your team needs to produce ROI. Be sure you use every tool in your toolbox – as well as the conference promoter’s toolbox – to maximize ROI.

What are your most successful trade show tactics for lead gen?

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 2: Make Your Trade Show Booth the Most Popular One in Town

Posted by on Feb 20, 2019 in Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Have you ever noticed that there’s usually one or two booths at every trade show that always seem to be mobbed by attendees?

Maybe it’s the giveaways (who doesn’t want the latest VR glasses!) or the cool free t-shirts, but it’s usually because a company got their pre-show promotion plan right.

Why Should Anyone Visit Your Booth?

The reason to visit your booth shouldn’t be because of what you’re giving away.

You need to make your message compelling. Let’s think about the question “What’s in it for me?” Only, let’s turn that around a little and ask instead “What’s in it for my customer?” Why should they visit my booth? When you answer that question correctly and turn that answer into your exhibit messaging, you have a compelling reason for your prospects to visit.

Your booth should allow your potential leads to quickly self-identify. Your message needs to target those who are looking for what you offer and draw them in.

Some other ideas that give your potential customers a reason to visit your booth include:

  • introduction of a new product or service
  • show-related discounts
  • sponsored events at the trade show
  • presentations

Present Your Expertise

Most trade shows have educational tracks providing ongoing learning opportunities for attendees. One of the best ways for you to gain visibility at a show is to lead a session or present research to establish your thought leadership. Look into signing up to be a presenter, teach a session or an exhibitor workshop.

Demonstrations and lectures can also occur at your booth. You should consider designing a short presentation educating potential customers about your product or service. Plan to deliver the presentation several times during the show and post the schedule at your booth. Don’t forget to invite people to attend. You may even want to hand out your presentation schedule at the show.

Contact trade journals and let them know about any new products, services or research you’re rolling out at the show. When you have news to share, you should always send out a press release and invite the press to your booth for interviews. An article about your company published after the show is a great way to keep your visibility high and new leads coming in!

Make it an Event

High energy, fun – and knowledgeable – staff is your first ingredient to making your booth the place to be. A great theme and ongoing interactive events provide visitors with an enjoyable experience they won’t forget.

You can offer a demonstration of your product or service which is always valuable. But have you thought about providing an interactive tour of your facilities or a key piece of equipment? Or how about setting up a white board and asking booth visitors to comment on a question?

Don’t forget simple things like games, giveaways and drawings. These are always excellent ways to draw traffic to your booth and and gather leads for your sales staff. Creating an overall theme for the show that relates to your offering gives you a unique opportunity to make your booth an event.

How Do You Drive Traffic to Your Booth?

You can have the best message in town, but if you don’t promote it no one will know you’re exhibiting – and they won’t visit and engage with you.

As I mentioned in last month’s post on how to exhibit at trade shows, communicating and promoting your attendance at a show is critical to getting the foot traffic you need.

It’s all about the pre-show prep and how you carry out your plans while at the show.

Trade Show Tools
Your first step in driving traffic to your booth is using the tools trade show promoters make available to exhibitors. Typically these will include:

Exhibitor lists
Show floor maps
Company listings
Show-branded email campaigns

Make sure that your listing and all information you submit to the show promoter is correct and up-to-date. You’ll also want to be sure that your benefits messaging is clear and concise. This should be a very short elevator pitch – what benefit does your product or service give your customer. And don’t forget to include a persuasive reason why they should visit your booth!

Many trade shows also offer the option for exhibitors to send customized email campaigns to their email list before the show. This is an important tool to consider since it provides a way for you to promote your booth & services to potential customers who are not already on your own email list.

Let’s not forget that conference attendees are at the show for a reason. They are looking for the products and services their companies need. They are serious about identifying the companies that can deliver the right products and services.

That means they’ve been scouring the listing of exhibitors, researching your company and putting together a short list of companies to talk with at the show.

You need to be on that list.

Use Every Promotional Channel
Promoting your trade show booth goes beyond using the tools the promoter has available. There’s a reason why the phrase “an oldie but goodie” exists. It’s because the ‘old’ ways of promoting events still work – and work well.

Direct Mail Campaigns
I think we can agree that scientists and lab personnel are probably not spending every day glued to their computer screens. Even those of us who are glued to our digital lifelines still respond to direct mail campaigns. Once you choose your trade show theme, put your graphics department to work and create eye-catching direct mail pieces that start a conversation with booth visitors.

Email Campaigns
In addition to the custom emails you can often send through the show promoter, you have a very valuable email list of your own. Your CRM holds targeted lists of your customers and prospects you’ve identified and email is the fastest, easiest way for you to get the word out about your trade show attendance and your booth.

Create interest in your booth with a series of creative, informative emails that invite your customers and prospects to visit and participate in your activities.

Social Media
Have I told you about the company who put up a single post on a social media channel and expected the world to see it and show up? It doesn’t work that way.

Social media is an excellent channel to use in concert with email campaigns and direct mail campaigns.

We always recommend an integrated approach to promoting a trade show presence. Social media can use the theme, images, and can re-purpose the content from your other campaigns to create a campaign that will extend your reach beyond your mail and email lists.

A social media campaign is not limited to just one post on one channel. By using multiple posts on multiple channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can reach new audiences, reinforce your direct mail and email campaigns and build interest in the activities you have planned for the trade show.

In addition to concentrated efforts using these 4 promotional avenues, don’t forget to promote your presence on your website as well as through digital ads and print ads. Putting your pre-show plans in place and executing on them is a sure-fire way to see the booth traffic you want and to ensure that you haven’t wasted your marketing budget.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 1: How to Exhibit, Promote & Network

Posted by on Jan 22, 2019 in Integrated Marketing, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

What is the one event that makes even the sales and marketing departments work together in complete agreement?

A trade show.

Did you know that the minimal cost for a 10×10 booth at a tradeshow is $10,000- 15,000? Think about it – by the time you reserve the booth space, book hotels, ship your booth & products, and add your team’s travel costs, your all-in cost is around $10 – $15k. That’s not a small expense in the budget so it’s important to make it work for you.

Managing a successful presence at a conference or trade show has staff from every level of science-based companies working towards a common goal. (Click here to find out why this shouldn’t be the only time Sales and Marketing work in harmony.)

Why Trade Shows are Valuable

We can all agree that while email and other digital marketing efforts provide a solid return on investment, the value of face-to-face sales & marketing meetings (such as those at trade shows and conferences) is enormous.

It’s at in-person meetings where you build trust and engage deeply with your audience. Rob Murphy’s article cites a Meeting Professionals International report which states that “40% of prospects are converted to new customers via face-to-face meetings.”

How to Choose the Right Conference or Trade Show

Trade shows and conferences are key events where your company can get that valuable face-to-face time with prospects. In the U.S. alone, there are hundreds of science, medical and pharma trade shows each year. But with so many available to you, how do you choose which shows and conferences will be most beneficial for your bottom line?

To identify the best events for your company, you first need to look at your business goals. Are you focused on the U.S. market or is your market international? If it is U.S. only, you’ll need to build a list of all the relevant conference and trade shows in the U.S.

If you want to reach other markets, you’ll need a list of all of the international events applicable to your product/ service. Get a demographic list from the show organizers to ensure your target audience will be there.

These lists give you a starting point. The real work starts after you have the lists in hand.

You’ll want to research each event. Before you decided to exhibit, you should consider attending and walking the show to ensure that your audience is there. You’ll also want to make sure that the show has a good reputation in your industry and that it delivers:

  • Large numbers of attendees in your target audience (although what you’re really looking for is the right audience – quality versus quantity. Remember, some shows are for niche audiences and can the best ones!)
  • Attendees who make buying decisions

Once you’ve identified the conference or trade show to attend, you’ll need to put a plan in place to:

  • properly prepare for your attendance
  • take advantage of all the networking possibilities at the show
  • keep conversations going through follow-up after the event
  • build your follow-up campaign.

How to Prepare Before Attending a Trade Show

Of course, you’ll need an exhibit booth. (Make sure that your booth has both clear signage and excellent brief messaging- no one is going to stand and read your booth.)

Beyond putting your booth together, there are significant pre-show marketing actions to take in order to maximize your company presence.

  1. Communicate. You need to get the word out that you will be attending the show. Create postcard, email, & social media campaigns along with press releases to communicate to your list and your social media audience that you will be available to meet at the show or conference. Add messaging to any advertising you are doing before the conference. If no one knows you’ll be there, you won’t have visitors to your booth.
  2. Let your audience know where to find you. (I’ve seen companies tell their audience they would be at a show only once via social media – and then not give out their booth number!) But just telling everyone your booth number is not enough.

You’ll want to investigate the marketing options the show’s organizers have available to attendees. This may include marketing opportunities such as renting the list of attendees, sponsoring events or content in the pre-show communications or – depending on the conference – attendee swag. Send out newsletters to your list offering the option to pre-schedule meetings at the show. Create press releases highlighting new products or events and presentations you’ll be hosting while at the show.

If you don’t communicate and promote your presence, you won’t see the foot traffic you expect at your booth.

Need help putting together a comprehensive trade show promotion plan? Contact Brandwidth Solutions.

Take Advantage of Trade Show Networking Opportunities

Being in attendance at a trade show is not the same as attending a trade show. Your company has invested a great deal of time, energy and money to be at the show. Therefore you need to do more than sit in your booth and hope that leads drop by for a visit.

You want to have your A-list staff working the booth at the show. You want staff that engage prospects and expertly move them forward along the sales path.

The booth isn’t the only place you need your sales staff engaging with prospects. Make sure they are attending the cocktail receptions, presentations, education sessions, breakfast events or other special events being held at the show. Check whether the show’s organizers provide a ‘matchmaking’ service connecting potential buyers or partners with sellers.

Follow-Up Leads to Success

None of these trade show attendance efforts will mean anything at all if your company doesn’t follow-up effectively. If you don’t follow-up with leads you’ve collected, it will be marketing budget wasted.

After you’ve entered prospect information into your CRM, you’ll need to design a communications plan to ensure that your new contacts don’t feel you’ve forgotten them. (Although you should have created your first follow-up communication before you even leave the office to attend the show!)

Nurturing leads is critical to the ROI of trade show attendance. Be sure you have marketing assets such as white papers or case studies to send your prospects as follow-up. Once you return to the office, you may want to create webinars addressing audience needs, additional white papers and newsletter content to further nurture your leads and reinforce that face-to-face connection your team built at the trade show.

Trade show or conference attendance may be a bit more complex than most companies realize. But with a strong plan you can implement for each event you attend, your company can achieve a solid ROI from trade shows.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

4 Tips for Choosing the Right Life Science Marketing Agency

Posted by on Dec 17, 2018 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The trend toward outsourcing marketing activities among B2B companies continues, with marketing budgets climbing higher for the third straight year. But how do you protect your marketing investment and ensure you get the greatest value possible?

The first step is finding the right life sciences marketing agency for your organization. Choosing the best partner isn’t easy, and there is a great deal at stake once the decision is made.

Here are the top 4 things to consider when you are shopping for a new marketing agency:

  1. Work with an agency experienced in your market space & sector.

Easily the most important tip on this list is working with an agency that has experience in your space – and preferably has actually worked with your customers. If the agency has operated in that space then they know how to develop solid value propositions and precisely target your customer base.

  1. Find one agency that can handle all of your marketing communications needs.

The key reason for finding an agency that can expertly create and manage every type of marketing communication you’ll need is simple: you don’t want your message diluted. You need your message to stay strong and not be filtered through too many different companies, all of whom are creating marketing assets.

When you have one agency handling just PR and another who does your digital advertising and yet another creating social media, your message can become very disjointed. If you’re working with four different agencies, managing them will require significant time & effort to keep everyone on point and knit everything together – time which could be better spent elsewhere. This also means that all four agencies probably won’t be able to do as good a job as they otherwise could due to that split in focus.

From an agency perspective

It’s difficult to cleanly integrate all marketing assets when four companies are doing different pieces of the work.

How we integrate all the marketing communications to power your marketing is the key. When a customer uses someone for PR, someone else for layout and a third person for content creation, how do any of the agencies know what’s happening in all of those other buckets if the customer does not communicate it?

The person tasked with those communications is typically a Marketing Communication Specialist or a Director of Marketing, and neither have the time to clearly communicate all of the details to me. You’ll want to avoid inadvertent blind spots. That’s why it’s important to find an agency that can handle all of your marketing communications needs.

  1. Know how the agency measures results.

During your exploratory conversations with a new agency, you’ll need to have them explain how they measure results – and how they course-correct based on those results.

It’s not enough to just build an ad and say: “Look how great the ad is. We sent it out and it’s gotten an award.” Awards are wonderful, but if I were you I’d want to know how my marketing agency was measuring the ad’s performance and what they would do if it doesn’t work.

For example, at Brandwidth Solutions, we recently worked with one of our clients on digital ads. We did a side-by-side comparison of Google AdWords and Display ads. The AdWords per click cost was $2.80 and the Display Ad cost was $0.50 per click.

We ran the two ads and looked at the data for one week. For the AdWords ad, the client received 77 clicks. You’d say that was a really good result. With the Display ad, in 48 hours the client had 111 clicks – and they paid a lot less for those clicks.

So can we course-correct? Absolutely.

But without measuring these digital ad scenarios, I wouldn’t have the data to prove to the customer that the Display Ad was a better route to results.

Remember that testing is also key. You have to test things that you might think may not be as effective. You might be surprised by what you learn.

Sometimes you have to test for a longer timeframe than one month. We did a Google Display Ad for a client. One ad was designed using red and the other was designed using blue. During the test we rotated the ads. (We never keep the same one in place so that when a visitor returns to the page it looks different.)

The results were interesting. One month the blue ad did far better than the red one. The next month the red ad did markedly better than the blue ad. What this told us was that both ads are working and we didn’t need to change the color of the ad.

If I had only looked at one month’s data, I would have said we shouldn’t be using the red ad at all. But by testing longer and looking at all the data, we understood that both ads were working. And since they alternated we didn’t need to make any program changes.

So be sure to dig into how the agency measures results – and how they plan to correct course when the marketing activities aren’t delivering results.

  1. Understand how the agency will integrate all of your marketing needs.

The final tip I give people on choosing the right marketing agency is this: have the agency explain in detail how they will integrate all of your marketing tactics.

This can be difficult to do on paper. Clients will ask me, ‘Can you write down how you’re going to integrate all of our marketing activities?’ It’s hard to take these three dimensional activities and translate that onto a one dimensional surface. For us, it’s far easier to explain the integration in a conversation.

Having that integration conversation with an agency you’re considering gives you a chance to ask specific questions and work through marketing channels you may or may not choose to use. But one question you definitely want to ask is: How are you going to create an asset (such as a white paper), and what are you going to do with it once it is created?

If you’re comfortable with the relationship you’ve built with the agency through the exploratory process, you’ve found the right marketing agency for your organization.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

The Sales & Marketing Departments: Friends or Foes?

Posted by on Nov 12, 2018 in Integrated Marketing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When a company launches a product and it fails to attract much notice or move the revenue needle, the result is always predictable – and unhelpful. The internal response is something like this:

Sales: “Marketing didn’t do their jobs.”

Marketing: “Nope, Sales didn’t do their jobs.”

Sound familiar? It should, because the push-and-pull between the Sales Department and the Marketing Department is as old as the Sales and Marketing structure itself.

So what should be the response? Sales, Marketing and Management should all be asking the same questions:

  • If we aren’t reaching our numbers, it can’t always be Marketing’s fault. So what aren’t we doing right?
  • How did we market the product/service?
  • How did we hand it off to Sales?
  • Maybe the product isn’t right?
  • Did we do enough due diligence when we were developing the product?

By working closely together throughout the entire sales & marketing process and asking & answering the same questions, your company could avoid contributing to the $1 trillion dollars per year lost due to the misalignment of these two departments.

Marketing & Sales: Different Perceptions

When newly-developed products are handed off from the product manager to marketing, marketing immediately looks at the product and wonders: “Why is this product better than the previous generation? How is this product different from everything else in the marketplace? What’s the value to the customer?

Product Managers can be so entrenched in the product itself that they tend to focus on new or improved features/benefits as selling points rather than why the customer will buy. Marketing, on the other hand, wants to focus on end user value – the real reasons why the customer will choose this product over a competitor or even upgrade their existing system.

Features/ Benefits Don’t Always Translate Into Value Propositions

When a product is handed off to marketing with a list of features, marketing must determine if they can be translated into value propositions. Marketing has a story it needs to tell and if the customers haven’t been brought into the story until product launch-time, it is often too late to craft a customer-focused narrative. The key to this is thinking about the product from the customer’s perspective. Marketing must find the customer’s ultimate: “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” or WIIFM to develop that story.

Sales: We Want Leads!

The sales team, in order to meet their numbers, wants to get a hold of the product as quickly as possible. Their immediate reaction to the marketing team is to demand leads.

Marketing’s role typically begins six to nine months ahead of the sales cycle. To create an effective sales & marketing campaign, marketing needs to create collateral, including brochures, sell sheets, web pages, white papers, case studies, social media and more. These are the elements with which marketing builds the product story, being sure to weave in customers with their challenges and needs while delivering the WIIFM Value Proposition.

Too often, these elements – and the customer journey – are overlooked in the race to launch and start selling.

“We’re going to a trade show and we need the product ready for the show.”

With barely enough time to complete a key piece of marketing collateral, Marketing often pushes back at Sales when they ask why they haven’t been provided any leads. In many cases, Marketing has launched campaigns in advance of a trade show and provided leads to Sales, feeding them into the CRM – where the ball was dropped.

Creating a Sales & Marketing Relationship

For a product launch and subsequent lead generation and lead nurturing to be successful, there needs to be a solid working relationship between the Sales and Marketing departments – along with the realization that both teams have ongoing work to do and must nurture leads. Not everyone is ready to buy at the exact time you launch.

When marketing and sales work together to achieve the same goals, it’s not uncommon for companies to experience some stellar results:

Leads vs. Customers

Leads are often just that – leads, not customers. Marketing is constrained by how much information it can reasonably expect to collect from prospects – even more so now due to the EU’s GDPR requirements. It’s common to request a name, company name and email address to begin nurturing the relationship using the marketer’s toolbox of channels and tactics – requesting too much information up front discourages people from filling out forms. Limited information is preferable to no information.

Sales can’t just be closers – they have a critical role to play in lead nurturing too. With today’s tools (LinkedIn, Company websites, and the internet at large), leads can be filled out. There are many tools that can be used to find somebody’s phone number, or determine their email address format.

Here is an excellent example of the role Sales can play in lead nurturing:

If a lead comes in with only a first name, last name and company name, it’s quite easy to determine a particular company’s email format. It may be ‘first name.last name @company’ or ‘lastname.firstname,’ or ‘first initial.last name,’ etc. A company’s website might contain clues to the proper formula, as will LinkedIn. Sales can take the information Marketing has gathered and entered into the company CRM and to do a little research to begin the sales conversation with the prospect.

Teamwork: Collaborating to Improve Lead Gen

It’s very rare that Marketing can hand off a lead that is already a sale. In almost all cases, the lead requires nurturing and follow-up. Instead of finger-pointing between departments, Sales and Marketing should ideally work together to improve lead quality.

It’s not Marketing’s fault that there aren’t enough leads, and it’s not Sales’ fault that all the leads they were provided have been closed. In addition to collaboration being a more constructive approach, it’s also a way to ensure better leads.

The Sales-Marketing relationship becomes even more important in cases of long lead cycles. Some sales cycles have 12-18 month timelines. If you’re working in the contract pharma sector and you’re trying to lock down a contract with Big Pharma, it’s going to take 18 months to close.

Eighteen months is a long time, and both Departments will need to work closely together to ensure the lead is nurtured along the way. Sales can provide Marketing with valuable real-time feedback as to what works and what doesn’t. With that information, the two departments can work together to improve the quality of leads and further target marketing tactics.

The Importance of Customer Perception

People buy based on perception. If Marketing is helping raise customer perception about the company and the product, Sales has got to pick up their end to work the leads. Management can’t blame Marketing and they can’t blame Sales, they all need to work together and figure out a marketing and sales plan for success.

It’s never any one department’s fault that revenue isn’t generated – it could be a mutual problem. But when Sales and Marketing work together as a team to solve any issues, you’ll find that any challenges are solved far more elegantly than you might imagine.