Required Reading: A Closer Look at Sales and Marketing Alignment
Bob Schmonsees is a 20-year CRM veteran who has been through all the ups and downs of the industry, so his assessment that the waves of change and market complexity demand greater alignment between sales and marketing holds sway. In Escaping the Black Hole
, Schmonsees presents a new model that centers on two simple processes that tightly align marketing and sales organizations and drive increased customer focus. CRM magazine's Colin Beasty spoke with Schmonsees about the book.
You write that CRM has only scratched the surface of getting sales and marketing organizations to make a stronger effort to align and to get them more focused on the customer. Why do you think that?
The main reason is because CRM has been traditionally focused around a single-dimension information model. CRM really only focuses on the history, what have we done with this customer, what have the service calls been like. That's important, because you have to understand what you've done with a customer historically, but there are two other dimensions that need focus: understanding the customers' business issues and coming up with a data model that can incorporate them into a CRM model, and enhancing the model with how customers buy.
One of the problems is that traditional sales methodologies have been built on how we want to sell. Often companies try to manipulate customers into buying the way we want to sell. That worked in the mid- to late-'90s, when it was a seller's market. Now it's a buyer's market, so the marketing and selling process needs to be subservient to the way the customer buys. CRM is a great tool for that as companies define the opportunity management system and start putting that extra data into it. In conclusion, there are really three dimensions of customer sensitivity in my mind: history, business issues, and buying process.
Value mapping and synchronization are two concepts you say are important for companies to understand if CRM is to make the jump to the second and third dimensions you talk about. What are these?
You can define, through a process I call value mapping, the actual data model for a company's value proposition, which includes specific information on customers' needs, how products serve those customers' needs, and how the competition services those customers' needs so you can differentiate. With today's data modeling techniques, you can model that in a computer. That's something people can do to really focus their value proposition. The second piece of that is the customer buying process. It's a process that I call process synchronization, where you actually define the buying, marketing, and selling process, and put them into a database so sales and marketing are integrated all the way from demand generation down to generating a reference. That, in turn, is aligned with the specific steps a customer goes through to purchase something. In short, CRM has already done the history. The other ones are more strategic, looking into the future.
Other Page Turners:
Why is the Maytag repairman so bored and lonely? You probably know the answer from all those TV ads: He has nothing to do all day, because Maytag appliances are so dependable. James Hassett shows readers how, in AdverSelling, to become more productive by applying the principle behind such advertisements. The book explains how salespeople at companies like Verizon and the Bank of New York have used these principles to increase the effectiveness of every email they send, every phone call they make, and every meeting they attend.
Doubtless, failure rates have contributed to the controversy associated with outsourcing. In Global Call Centers, Erik Granered argues that the business of outsourcing is now at a point where we can learn from experience and reduce the failure rate in international customer care. Global Call Centers outlines the cultural variables that impact call center location, what customers are served from that location, and the optimal business approach to getting started.
Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Processes
Two solutions for fixing a 20-year-old problem.