Are Sales and Marketing in Crisis?
A first quarter review of the embedded and IIoT industry – from the bleachers.
As a media and marketing company we are given access to the inner sanctums of our industry’s marketing organizations. Although these conversations happen primarily off-the-record, we believe that their aggregate and some of the lessons that are being learned should be shared with the industry at large. What we are being told and shown is no less than alarming.
Our industry is beginning to feel the effects of sales and marketing organizations in crisis.
The basics have been forgotten.
We recently did a survey of our client’s inbound sales response mechanisms both online and through traditional channels. We wanted to know – if someone was interested in talking with our clients about their technology, how easy would it be to begin that conversation. What we found was startling.
We found basic inbound communication channels that were either un-monitored, forgotten about, or completely lacking all together.
We began with the telephone channel, believing this would be the easy, shining star of the sales funnel. We were wrong. First, we looked for obvious entry points. There were few. Generally, companies have tried to obscure their phone system and drive prospects to their digital entry-points. Where we were able to find obvious telephone contact information; we found numerous examples of phone trees directing us to employees no longer with the company, dead-ends or staff unresponsive to inquiry.
When we were able to connect with live employees of companies they were generally unwilling or unable to share personal or direct sales contact information.
We then turned to the more prominent digital channels in hopes that the special attention these points of entry have been given would overcome the short-comings of telephone communication. Again, we were surprised by the lack of response and more importantly personal interaction. Connecting directly through email was nearly impossible. Where we could find personal contacts — they rarely responded. We found that organizations overwhelmingly use web forms as a way of prospects making first contact. And we found that response to these forms was nearly 0%. Chat appears to be making its way into our industry as a method of prospect interaction – but again many of these are automated responses or aren’t monitored by qualified staff.
Be the Example
Nearly every sales person in the industry we spoke to reported frustration with the nearly impossible task of reaching clients and prospects – yet within their own organizations the same barriers are being used to insulate them from “unwanted” outside communication. For organizations interested in increased sales, perhaps it’s time to break down those walls.
If you are a marketing or sales organization questioning the effectiveness of your activities, I would encourage a self-audit of your inbound communication channels. The problem may not be your marketing – it may be that your prospects just can’t reach you…
Let me know what you think.