Aligning sales & marketing with strategic business development
GROWTH CHALLENGES SOLVED WITH BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
How strategic Business Development aligned the Sales and Marketing functions of a global Telco provider to create multi-national opportunities in key accounts and in doing so accelerated and delivered increased revenue and demonstrated significant ROI.
A Driver for Change
The creation of a Global Account division with a mandate to support multi-national accounts, was a driver for implementing a strategic Business Development function at this international Telco.
This new Global Accounts division had all the characteristics of a high growth start-up business. It was expanding rapidly and as a result the sales team did not have the capacity to qualify all the inbound leads that marketing was generating or follow up on the increased outbound demand generation activity.
Marketing was employing a volume orientated Demand Generation model, which supported a feature/function price driven sales approach very well. However due to the company’s drive to become a global total telecoms provider it made numerous acquisitions to expand its portfolio. This required a cultural shift, moving away from transactional based selling to selling more consultatively, and as a result, the business need changed.
The focus now centred on articulating business value across large or numerous buying centres and territories, which required multiple discussions at Board level. As a consequence the traditional lead generation approach was not effective in producing the required high value quality leads into the pipeline.
Why Strategic Business Development?
Clarify’s Business Development programme was already employed in other areas of the business. Empirical evidence of increased sales productivity, accelerated pipeline and revenue generation in addition to the significant ROI delivered, were the combined proof points that Marketing required to shift the balance from Demand Generation to strategic Business Development. This ensured that the right resource was best placed to deliver the results that the business now demanded.
This latter point is crucial as Business Development is a designated Marketing expenditure. The Marketing team was targeted with a closed revenue number and responsible for demonstrating ROI; therefore it needed a capability that generated predictable revenue, is designed to scale and could mitigate risk.
If Marketing has a pipeline target, Business Development is one of the most proven ways to build a more predictable pipeline; ROI is designed to scale quickly creating a cumulative pipeline, in years two, three and beyond. As a result, Business Development is able to mitigate risk because it can shift the pipeline to work ahead of the current sales forecast.
When a business is growing at scale, increasing sales headcount is frequently proposed as a means to tackle capacity; however Business Development can also reduce the risk of on-boarding.
Business Development is at its most efficient at the start of the sales process, populating the pipeline. This means that new joiners can have pipeline to progress, and as a result, any issues with new sales hires can be tracked more effectively and appropriate intervention taken. Investment for the organisation also means that sales teams directly engage more of their accounts and as a result generate more revenue per head without increasing the initial sales headcount.
Business Development aligned with Marketing
Business Development was employed to manage three streams of Marketing activity – initially in the UK and northern Europe then central and southern Europe, the USA and APAC – to qualify all inbound lead queries generated from Marketing campaigns and to follow up Demand Generation activity, which sales did not have the bandwidth to manage.
In addition, it was tasked with reviewing white space accounts. Evaluating and uncovering the latent potential in key accounts, which due to time constraints the sales teams were unable to proactively prioritise and fully engage.
Over a five year period, the number of key accounts increased from 20 to 1,500. Originally there was one Global Account Manager for every account – this was manageable for 20 accounts, but could not be scaled for over 1,500 accounts. So the best way of driving opportunities within these accounts was to leverage a strategic Business Development capability.
Clarify specialises in strategic Business Development (BD) which accelerates sales transitions and its team of highly experienced professional BD managers have expertise in positioning enterprise solutions at executive level engagement. It also plays a key role when taking new disruptive offerings into large complex accounts and in new territories. Business Development played a pivotal role for this global Telco in building pipeline to support the organisation’s entry into the African market.
Although under the remit of Marketing, Clarify worked closely with the Sales teams. The sales managers commented on the difference and value Business Development provided when compared with traditional lead generation. As Marketing grew, its sales campaigns expanded but there was less sales capacity to manage these new programmes, the BD team allowed Sales to focus on deals that were closing and ensured potential opportunities were nurtured and did not fall into a void.
With Business Development the ROI is impressive; statistics demonstrate it reduces the cost of getting an opportunity into the pipeline by up to 60 per cent. For this global Telco, the ROI was 40:1 with 378 opportunities generated with a five year timeframe. This resulted in $457million of pipeline with $108million* closed/won business.
To quote one Sales Director, “Our internal sales team of six people added £200K to the pipeline in this fiscal year, while Clarify’s team of three Business Development Managers added £6million in the same period.”
Alignment for Maximum ROI
Aligning Sales and Marketing as outlined in this case history is able to reduce the cost of sale and provide the maximum return on marketing investment. It creates an environment where sales people perform and can be effectively measured. Predictable results are delivered and the ability to scale quickly is realised, while Sales and Marketing leaders get their time back.
When used effectively strategic Business Development programmes are a major asset; indeed Clarify’s BD programme for this global Telco demonstrated the highest ROI of any Marketing investment.
* NB a Business Development programme is designed to scale so the ROI will continue to increase along with revenue, new logo opportunities and closed deals.