Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Introduction to “Building a Sales and Marketing Machine”

Introduction to “Building a Sales and Marketing Machine”
Building a Sales and Marketing Machine is a structured methodology for designing and reviewing your customer acquisition process. It stresses the idea that the only right way to build a sales and marketing process is to design it around your customers (customer-centric). Although this is obvious, it turns out to be radically different to the way most companies have designed their processes, which is based on what they want to happen (i.e.company-centric). Most of the time company-centric processes will now work as well as hoped, it will be because they failed to take into consideration the customer’s concerns and motivations.
This methodology will help you grow sales by addressing the following specific issues:
  • Ensure your process is Customer-Centric (as opposed to company-centric)
  • Design a process that is scalable, optimized and efficient
  • Provide you with clear instrumentation showing what is working, and what is not
  • Provide you with a clear understanding of what levers you can pull to grow sales
  • Identify bottlenecks, and show you how to resolve them
  • Lower the cost of customer acquisition
  • Ensure that Marketing is correctly aligned with Sales, and directly helping to close business
  • How to grow lead flow using the latest web marketing techniques
The following illustration shows the steps involved in the process:


The methodology has been evolved over more than 25 years, and applied to many companies with some outstanding success stories along the way. Several of these will be used as examples to illustrate the concepts.

Table of Contents


As a VC I have had the opportunity to study many startups and seen several successes and many failures. What I have observed is that there are a series of critical factors that need to be in place for success to happen. Most of these are obvious and well known, such as the importance of having a large market, good management team, barriers to entry, etc. (See Criteria for a Successful Startup.) However one of the biggest causes of failure that I have found, is not well recognized or discussed: the inability to acquire customers in a cost effective way.
If your business is suffering from any of the following symptoms, then this series of articles is for you:
  • You have sales process that feels broken, with bookings that are less than you hoped for
  • You need to grow bookings fast, but you don’t have a repeatable or scalable process
  • It is costing you more in sales and marketing to to acquire your customers than you make from each sale
  • Sales is unhappy with marketing and wants more leads
  • Marketing is doing a lot of things, but they don’t seem to be clearly leading towards a sale
  • Marketing is unable to show the ROI on their programs

Definition: What is a Sales & Marketing Machine

A sales & marketing machine is a scientifically designed process to take suspects and convert them to customers. It has the following attributes:
  • Scalable, so that it can be cranked up when needed
  • Automated where possible, so that it requires minimal manual intervention
  • Instrumented with a Dashboard that provides Key Performance Indicators
  • The levers that can be pulled to grow sales are well understood
  • There is a clear understanding of costs and returns
  • Marketing is tightly aligned with sales
  • Every step has a clear purpose of moving the prospect further down the process, and leads directly to a subsequent step
In the following sections, we will take you through how to build such a machine.

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