There’s a fundamental misalignment between marketing KPI’s and sales activities and it comes down to the division of labor and skill sets alignment within B2B sales.
We hire sales folks at $160K+ and expect them to do the following things:
- Identify their total addressable market
- Hunt for target prospects at scale
- Deliver enough value to create the desire to chat
- Uncover an opportunity to work together
- Build a relationship and win the deal.
The unit economics around skill set misalignment
That salesperson is spending 60% ($96k annually) of their time doing 1-3 & those activities are WAY outside their skillsets.
Most sales teams, depending on the company size, have at a minimum of 3 – 5 employees who fit this description.
On average that’s $288k or up to $480k companies are already spending on high-level people doing activities that are not their highest and best use of their human capital.
It should be noted that things like cold calling, purchasing contact info from email warehouses, and run of the mill direct mail are horrible ways to generate qualified leads and in fact are a horrible expenditure of resources.
If you are worried about analyzing a subject line there are way bigger issues around your Ideal Customer Profile involving a spray and pray method we should talk about, but I digress.
Sales organizations need a data analyst, marketing tech stack engineer, copywriter, campaign and sequence manager, and a few more roles to fulfill responsibilities 1 – 3 to standard, so a salesperson can do 4 and 5 extremely well.
And this can be said of any company whether its products or services, good sales prospecting techniques are not in a sales reps quiver and shouldn’t be. There’s a multibillion-dollar industry around putting a band-aid on this very issue.
Sales pipelines, sales funnels, and sales flywheels are riddled with potential customers being disqualified because they aren’t a “good fit” or are not a “decision-maker”. The money and prospecting time could’ve been reallocated to better resources to drive conversations with real potential buyers with actual pain points.
Marketing`s role in B2B prospecting
What has the marketing department been doing this whole time? To put it simply, they are most frequently engaging in activities that build brand awareness, honing in their messaging to suit an ideal customer profile or ICP, and being present in front of prospects.
Here’s where the gap and malinvestment occurs. Sales teams are getting engaged too early in the process.
Although I’ve never been a farmer, I like to think that it provides a fine example that illustrative of the division of labor issues we’re discussing. A farmer (the marketing department) has to plow the field and plant the seeds. Then after the seeds have been nurtured into budding and later ripe plants, someone has to go and collect the harvest at the right time so they can graduate (important term) to market. A revenue maximization team or prospecting team would be the team that leverages data relevant to an ICP and harvests it at scale so the sales team can take them to market.
To make a short story shorter, don’t let your sales teams engage in prospecting activities. If they are, they’re getting involved too early in the process and are messing it up.
Some sales leaders have acquired a few skills in the prospecting area, but that’s still not what you want from an investment and organizational design standpoint. If you want to maximize the value harvested by the sales team, you need to ensure the prospecting function has been done by people who are experts in that area.
You can’t live without the outcome good prospecting produces.
So do your companies and shareholders a favor and stop investing in bad prospecting.
Embrace the division of labor & outsource those steps to teams that spend all week crushing it for you.
The National Football League, Bodybuilders, Unicorn SaaS companies. the entire medical community, all leverage distribution of labor as the primary key to sustainable and consistent success.
In sales, you have to outsource it until you’re a scale-up. You either pay now, or you’ll end up paying for it later.
Unlock revenues for your company and grow responsibly!