When I first joined an Industrial Distribution company, our business was concentrated in the northeastern U.S. We had no product or market segmentation strategy. Our motto was “We Sell Everything”. That worked until the company grew exponentially through online sales. It was time to grow organically, through field sales offices in Canada and the United Kingdom.
The product lineup grew, and so did the level of required expertise. The solution in this case was to re-structure the company into Business Units by vertical market. This also addressed financial reporting and targeted marketing.
Integrating Sales and Marketing: My marketing team immediately saw the need for better planning. We put into place a PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) continuous improvement process to measure and manage marketing communications. the MARCOM/Sales integration included Outbound Calls, Inbound Calls, Task Management, Field Sales, online and offline Media.
Planning: Key to this was getting my “hooks” into data including contacts and accounts in the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) ensuring I would be able measure return on investment. This was also the time to set success metrics or benchmarks.
Doing: Execution meant carrying out the Activities part of the marketing plan.
Checking: This involved making sure we had the correct reporting in place. In my case, a great relationship with IT, combined with a working knowledge of databases got me the Account and Sales data we needed to measure against expenditures on outbound MARCOM and online advertising costs.
Acting: This is what I call the “so what” moment. Once I’ve done the “Checking” to see what is and what is not producing revenue, it’s time to make recommended improvements to optimize on cost/benefit. Just presenting analysis of the campaign is not enough. I always include recommended action items when making presentations to management.
Summary: As organizations grow, Business Units can be established for improved product expertise, understanding product applications, and financial and marketing reporting. PDCA (Plan, Do,Check,Act) helps me “block and tackle” planning and rollout and be ready with success metrics for optimizing campaign return on investment.