Most of what you hear and read about sales and marketing today's is about reaching a finish line. Attract – Nurture – Engage – Close. Getting to more yeses and signed contracts has become the focus of our processes, our metrics and, of course, our sales teams.
Partner sales and marketing is no different.
Suppliers provide training support so channel reps can become better hunters. Manufacturers enable distributor reps with sales and marketing resources so they've got the sales aides they need to manage interactions with prospects. Some of those opportunities circle back into nurture status if the prospect is deemed not ready to buy. Fortunately, some will also fall into that coveted 'Closed-Won' status.
But closing a deal isn't the finish line. For the supplier, it's not even the halfway point. For the customer, it's only the beginning.
Thinking Beyond The Sale
When companies are seeking to expand revenue, it's easy to get caught up with the promotion and acquisition side of the revenue equation. It's even easier to get swept up with taking on wrong-fit, bad-fit or stretch-fit customers who satisfy the revenue metric today, but don't support the long-term profitability and growth of the business.
The key to healthy revenue growth is aligning all components of revenue, including marketing, sales and delivery. Delivery is the part of any business where your products get implemented, installed, applied and supported for your customers.
Once a deal is signed and thrown over the fence to implementation, installation, technical or customer success teams, the revenue is only starting to get earned. For your 'delivery' teams, their is a lot of potential for hurdles and land mines that exist on the way to customers reaching their First Time To Value. Reaching satisfaction and advocacy can feel light years away.
Often times, partners are part of the delivery team. They are the personnel who make sure your product solutions are applied and implemented as ordered. If there is lack of alignment between marketing, sales and delivery the results can be perilous.
SOW Development is a Joint Venture
Selling today is a strategic endeavor. Buyer personas, the buyer's journey and the content it takes to get and keep buyers moving through your pipeline requires careful planning and collaboration. As important, is making sure your revenue roadmap, and the agreed upon scope of work that marks the close of the transaction takes into account the post-transaction delivery process.
When I talk about SOW, I'm not referring to lines of text in an electronic or paper contract. I'm referring to the coordination of the people, process and technology that are represented in those contracts, but ultimately are tasked with following-through the promises made to the customer.
Coordination between marketing, sales and partner teams is essential to properly map the revenue optimization activities of both businesses. Having agreement and alignment that includes the supplier and partner teams responsible for delivery leads to the following benefits:
Accuracy of the final agreement that gets made with customers
Fewer surprises in the delivery process
Less friction between teams
Accelerated First Time to Value for customers
Higher profits for both the supplier and partner organizations
Acquiring customers is a critical part of business. But, if you don't have carefully coordinated efforts between what gets promoted, sold AND delivered, you're opening up your revenue strategy to chaos. That chaos has negative impacts on profitability, customer satisfaction and morale of the post-sale teams who feel the friction of that misalignment.
But, if you diminish the chaos with a clear roadmap that includes consensus between marketing, sales and delivery, you'll instead create an environment that leads to long-term stability, profitability and growth of your business.