November Guest Post: “Changing the Marketing ROI Conversation: from Lip Service to Value Driver”

It’s no coincidence that the term ‘ROI’ has grown in use and importance over the last few years.

By November Guest Blogger Mike Genstil

Mike_Genstil photo

It’s no coincidence that the term ‘ROI’
has grown in use and importance over the last few years. It now dominates the
subject lines of direct mail pieces,  he titles of webinars, and the first few
words out of many sales professionals’ mouths on an initial call with a

Since the economic decline in 2008,
companies across all industries have refocused on measuring and demonstrating
“value” (which can be expressed in several ways, including total savings,
“ROI,” Total Cost of Ownership or “TCO,” etc.) to justify everything from
product updates and marketing spend to any external purchases. This means that
Everyone involved in a sale – including marketers, sellers, and buyer
Stakeholders – must be aligned on the essential value drivers that are
relevant to buyers. Unfortunately, sales and marketing professionals usually
find that truly incorporating value in their discussions is easier said than

Demonstrating value is a challenge for
sales leaders for several reasons. Below you will find some practices to
address these challenges:

1. A lack of established metrics that matter to your customers. Spend time with experienced sales
reps on your team who have been closing opportunities for at least one year.
Elicit from these sales leaders which metrics are most relevant to
different buyer profiles, or personas. Be sure to create buyer personas
not only by industry, but
also by size, geography, and function.

2. It can be challenging to collect relevant data from clients.Start with a worksheet and pre-populate common fields with industry,
analyst, and/or company benchmark data. Only ask for a handful of data
points from the client, particularly early in the sales cycles.

3. Establishing credibility requires the ability to present a
range of potential outcomes.
practice: Use an application that makes it very easy technically and visually
for sales reps and customers to compare best-case and worst-case outcomes.
When delivering your proposal, aim for conservative returns.

4. Making the value modeling too complex in the early stages
of the buying cycle.
simple and complex versions of your value models. Marketers can train sales
teams to utilize the simple versions early in the buying cycle, and with
certain buyer personas, while the complex versions should be used later in the
sales cycle, and with analytical buyer personas.

5. Determining the value of leads generated by marketing campaigns is rarely stringent or
 If you attend a trade show and generate “500 leads for
only $20,000,” this may or may not have been a good use of resources. Not all leads are created equally. The
traditional marketing automation firms (Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, etc.) may not
be helping you score and value leads in an intelligent manner. Rather than
valuing all 500 leads equally, it is better to value leads as a function of
their likelihood to become happy, profitable customers quickly. To
determine which customers will fit this definition, you will need a mechanism
that allows you to associate sales cycle success with various demographic
factors, or “value drivers,” that you will learn about your prospects.

As new sales and marketing practices
arise, it’s tempting to jump on the latest trend – whether it’s monitoring
online conversations or scoring leads based primarily on engagement levels.
However, by first building common methods for communicating value, professional
marketers will have a clearer path to creating a more persuasive conversation
with prospects.

How are you guiding your buyers through
the value discussions today?
Post your comments below.


About Mike Genstil

Mike Genstil is the CEO and founder of VisualizeROI.
Previously, Mr. Genstil held roles in strategy consulting, product management,
business development, and channel sales at SAP, Adobe Systems, Liberty Mutual,
and CDI.


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