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How marketers are showing their spend is leading to sales conversions

“Likes and engagements are not nearly enough anymore.” – This isn’t a phrase new to marketers as pressures mount to demonstrate the monetary value they bring. Moreover, the relationship between marketing and sales has never been the smoothest.  Yet when the relationship is right, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates, according to reports on HubSpot. The report added:

Companies with good collaborative sales and marketing practices in place generated 208% more revenue from marketing efforts.

And while in an ideal world, “sales and marketing processes would be built with the other team in mind”, the reality is, misalignment between sales and marketing technologies and processes costs B2B companies 10% of revenue or more per year.

According to NTUC Income’s chief marketing officer Marcus Chew,  it is “not hard” to draw the bridge between the sales and marketing functions if the marketing team fully understands how the marketing funnel works, and ensures that their efforts are optimally positioned for sales acquisition.

“We task different teams within the marketing department, from PR and digital marketing to eCommerce and product marketing, to contribute uniquely yet inter-dependently to the marketing funnel to drive awareness, consideration and conversion,” he explained.

Performance indicators used by the company to benchmark marketing efficiency and impact on sales include cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on advertising spend (ROAS). Additionally, his team keeps an eye on sales trends to track the long-term impact that marketing and branding efforts have in achieving sales growth.

In line with this, NTUC Income has also shifted the majority of its marketing campaigns online to ensure that its marketing spend can be optimised for targeted marketing messages and outcomes at different stages of the customers’ journey, he added.

[Digital Marketing Asia Conference 2019 in Singapore is back! Join us on 8-9 October as we hear from experienced practitioners and thought-leaders on how they are managing complex digital transitions and reimagining new ways for their marketing to become more customer focused, agile and interactive. Check out the agenda and book your seats today.]

Choosing the right metrics

While marketers look at brand equity metrics on a regular basis, Fonterra global head of consumer business and CMO, Anindya Dasgupta said,

Marketers typically sit in the headquarters and depend on research reports for their decisions. They have to spend a lot more time with front-line sales.

He added, “Engaging just with the senior sales leadership isn’t enough as the wealth of knowledge and insights actually are with front-line sales officers.”

Meanwhile, in the digital space, marketers must move away from number of views and measures of engagement such as average time spent on post and click-through conversion. Instead, Dasgupta suggested marketers to leverage advanced econometric and analytics tools to map their spend against variables such as revenue growth, profit increase and brand love. This analysis must be done at a campaign planning stage to quickly course correct during execution if required.

Dasgupta said: “Sometimes, these econometric modelling cost a fair amount of money and therefore, the normal tendency for a marketing organisations is to not spend on it. But, to me, this is the most important spend that a marketer must consider.” He added:

A bridge between marketing and sales, is a “necessity to survive” in a landscape where brands are increasingly demanded to create experiences for consumers and impact their lives.

Stakeholder management

Producing sales-driven marketing results, said Cheryl Lim, VP, head of branding, communications and sponsorships at Manulife Singapore, requires all hands on deck. She added:

The success of any external campaign depends on the support and alignment of internal stakeholders.

Starting from the top, marketers need to set down clearly-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) with the management so that they are able to plan their campaigns to reflect the same benchmarks and exceed them. However, Lim said that it takes patience and time to show results when it comes to intangible factors such as brand image and recall.

To track them over a period of time and put them on the report card, her team creates different tracking dashboards for different components of brand, online marketing and social media, and analyses the data across the board. KPIs are set on a yearly basis.

Getting the full results takes a “concerted effort”, added Lim. “Online performance results come from the digital marketing team, sales numbers are derived from the product team, and the customer service team advises on call-in enquiries figures,” she explained. To achieve such a level of collaboration, marketing and sales cannot afford to work in silos. Beyond marketing, factors such as product, pricing, quality of sales training play a big part in the full purchasing funnel as well.

According to Lim, that means marketers have to get involved in sales training as well as product development and distribution early in the game to trickle down a big idea, obtain feedback from various stakeholders, and keep them them actively or passively involved. “To get buy in on your vision and strategies, effective communication, influence and persuasiveness are important qualities to have. It is also key to know It’s key to know how much to share, and when to do it,” she added.

[Digital Marketing Asia Conference 2019 in Singapore is back! Join us on 8-9 October as we hear from experienced practitioners and thought-leaders on how they are managing complex digital transitions and reimaging new ways for their marketing to become more customer focused, agile and interactive. Check out the agenda and book your seats today.]

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