It is time to make some predictions for 2013. Over the past couple of months I have been asked by several publications to predict what will happen in marketing and sales in 2013. I started by asking myself two questions:
- Was there anyone in the sales and/or marketingÂ world that a year ago that accurately predicted what would happen in 2012?
- Was there a particularly accurate psychic whoÂ nailed it a year ago (simply because I thought it would be interesting toÂ report on what this fortune teller expected in 2013 outside of sales andÂ marketing)?
- Not so much
- Not so much
I did come across one great quote: â€œThe best way to predict the future is to invent it.â€ (Alan Kay)
Most of the sales and marketing predictions (from analysts, publications and consultants) were repeated (and re-tweeted) over and over and went something like this:
â€œ2012 will finally be the year of mobileâ€
â€œ2012 will be the year that outbound marketing diesâ€
â€œIn 2012, 70% of the sales process will be complete before a sales rep needs to get involvedâ€¦â€
â€œBlah, blah, blahâ€¦â€
On the psychic side of the equation the predictions were more interesting:
â€œ2012 will be a year of spiritual fulfilment for most countries and people that want positive changes for their lives and futures. Many empires and ruling families that have created hardships for millions of people will fold and crumble during this historic year including Russia, China, Thailand, and North Korea. (Monte Hamilton is an ordained minister, healing practitioner, registered hypnotherapist and holds multiple degrees in business, psychology, and education).
Well, there are still a few days left in the year, but I doubt there is enough time to see Russia, China, Thailand and North Korea fold and crumble.
Here are a couple more predictions from another psychic for 2012:
â€œAngels will actually be seen walking among us by some with extraordinary powers of perception.â€
â€œA baby boy for Kate Middleton and Prince William.â€ (Judy Hevenly is a teacher, astrologer and writer. Her clientele includes royalty, former presidents, Hollywood movie stars, and heads of state. Judy was also called in to work at the O.J. Simpson trial. She is featured in the book, The 100 Top Psychics in America.â€)
She did get another one of her predictions right. Obama won. And, in fairness, the royal couple just announced they are pregnant â€“ weâ€™ll give a half point for that one.
Then, in the words of former Vice-President Dan Quayle: â€œThe future will be better tomorrow.â€
After much research and thought, here are my top three predictions for 2013:
Outbound Marketing is Undead! Bloodsucking, vampire inbound marketers wouldÂ love for you to believe otherwise, but if your plan is to depend onÂ inbound lead flow to satisfy sales needs in 2013 you will more than likely Â Â Â Â not last until 2014. New tools such as marketing automation are great â€“ weÂ use it. However, simply sending out emails and waiting for forms to beÂ filled out or the telephone to ring is a recipe for disaster. One of theÂ reasons this is the case is that not every senior executive wants to beÂ treated like the human equivalent of a pinball â€“ capturing your attentionÂ only after they have hit the right buttons and scored enough points. IfÂ you are not proactively in front of your market someone else is. And, aÂ dependence on inbound marketing leads to substantially smaller deals (upÂ to 65% smaller deals) with lower level-decision makers.
Further to this point: A member of the Corporate Executive Board wrote: â€œaverage performing reps tend to gravitate more toward inbound, marketing generated leads â€“ because they view them as easier to close. High performing reps on the other hand actually told us that they progressively disqualify (and even deprioritize) inbound leads. Instead, high performers opt to hunt down â€œemergingâ€ demand in the market place by getting out in front of a customerâ€™s buying process and helping shape the customerâ€™s perception of their needsâ€¦â€
There is a growing demand for proactive, smart outbound â€“ and hiring trends across the country prove that. Donâ€™t get caught up in the hype. For more on this topic read â€œWhy Your Sales Force Needs Fewer Leadsâ€
The Big Data buffet will lead to bloated databases and inaction rather than action! I have a friend who likes to say â€œyou should think yourself into action, not act yourself into thinkingâ€. Big Data has the potential to â€œcomplexifyâ€ rather than simplify decision making and that could lead you to acting yourself into thinking and worse results rather than better results.
I have been a data guy for over thirty years. I once had three PhD statisticians working for me and all they did was â€œbig dataâ€ analysis. We routinely analyzed data on 100,000,000 prospects before deciding who to send 5,000, 10,000, 500,000 or even several million catalog offers to. Our analytics capabilities then (1985 â€“ 89) were more sophisticated than most B-to-B companies are today. So, it is not like I am naive about the potential for big data.
My concern is that companies all but ignore â€œlittle dataâ€, yet climb on the â€œbig dataâ€ bandwagon with reckless abandonâ€¦ without necessity AND without the skills or tools to really take advantage of it. One example of a â€œlittle dataâ€ approach you can take is the power of list segmentation covered in this article: â€œHow Relational Segmentation Techniques Help Achieve Higher Sales at Lower Costâ€Â Â This article provides a simple framework for segmenting your prospect lists in order to achieve 140% of your current results â€“ without additional cost. Yet I find that most executives have no patience for segmentation and testing. Damn the torpedoes one says. Testing is for losers, says another. My recommendation is that you take advantage of â€œlittle dataâ€ in 2013 â€“ and then go for the bigger stuff in 2014.
Dashboards more often dim than illuminate! The more dashing the data, the more I worry. A good example of this is covered in detail starting on page four of this whitepaper: â€œPoint C: From Chaos to Kickassâ€Â This article details one client who was transfixed by a dashboard that tracked the cost per inbound lead. Once we expanded the analysis to include cost to qualify the leads and fully loaded cost per sales qualified lead, it was not too surprising to find an inverse relationship between cost per lead and cost per fully qualified lead. The lower the cost per raw lead, the higher the cost per fully qualified lead. The problem was that marketing was measured on the number and cost of leads while sales was measured on revenue. Guess what? Unless the leads were prequalified, sales ignored them. And, so few inbound leads were qualified that the company was better off identifying and qualifying â€œcoldâ€ list targets than paying for raw, low-level, so-called leads. Get under the data on your dashboards. You may be surprised at what you find.
There you have it. My top three predictions for 2013â€¦ now, donâ€™t get me started on Mayan calendar.
Dan McDade foundedÂ PointClear in 1997 with the mission to be the first and best company providingÂ prospect development services to business-to-business companies with complexÂ sales processes. He has been instrumental in developing the innovativeÂ strategies that drive revenue for PointClear clients nationwide.
In addition to serving as presidentÂ and CEO of PointClear, Dan is the author of TheÂ Truth About Leads, an insightful book that sheds light on the little-knownÂ secrets that help focus B2B lead-generation efforts, align sales and marketingÂ organizations and drive revenue. The book was published inÂ 2011.
Dan is a board member and immediate past-chairman of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) EducationÂ Collaborative, an organization promoting STEM (science, technology, engineeringÂ and math) education in Georgiaâ€™s middle and high schools. He also serves on the TAG board.
The SalesÂ Lead Management Association named Dan one of the 50 most influential people inÂ sales lead management in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In addition he was named a 2012 Top Sales Expert and one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2012 by Top Sales Associates.
Dan is also the author of ViewPoint | The Truth About Lead Generation, a blog exploring issues related to B2BÂ sales, marketing and lead generation
News: I am back on Monday with “Yes, But Can You Sell?” A look at why almost 50% of frontline sales professionals missed quota in 2012 – and will probably miss quotaÂ in 2013 -Â JF