Three important questions in tough times
11 April, 2023
We’re big fans of asking the right questions - especially in tough times. To arrive at clear, shared and powerful goals, you have to be unafraid to ask the right questions, even if it feels a little uncomfortable.
It’s hard to believe that 18 months ago Boris Johnson was PM, the Bank of England base rate was below 1% and Kyiv was known to some as just a nice place for a weekend break. Tumultuous change since then has obviously meant that when planning, core assumptions from 2021 are probably wrong about many things: not just energy prices and finance costs but perhaps also buyer attitudes and sales cycles.
I’ll say more in a future blog but there are three questions I think it's important for marketers to ask their sales team, in case you haven’t done so lately…
I would start by asking a few key people where they see the greatest sales potential in the next 12-24 months. Ask them to describe their buyers as fully as possible in terms of who they are, plus where, how and why they’ll buy.
Then I would ask about sales patterns, channels and cycles – have they truly changed lately, and if so, how? Is it actually business as usual, and (my favourite question) what’s surprised you? And finally, as there’s always so much to do, I’d ask them what the sales team have stopped doing recently, maybe because it doesn’t deliver as much value as it used to. Doing this the right way won’t take long and can only be positive for all concerned. In my experience you will almost certainly learn useful things. Clearly, I would use this in marketing planning over the next 12-24 months.
Then, how do you use all this with your agency? Once you’ve shared the overall plan with them, you might say things like, ‘You can see my target buyers have those three key attributes, slightly different to three years ago. What can we do with that insight?’ OR ‘Sales tell us they need better support here and here in the cycle. How do you think we should adjust our marketing campaigns now?’
Measurement is key so ask, ‘How will we know that it’s working?’ And you may wish to add, ‘How can we use AI and the latest programmatic options to deliver this?? ‘
I believe asking questions like these will promote the right healthy dialogue and give you confidence in who you wish to reach and why. They will also give you rapid, granular feedback tools to show how effective campaigns are.
I don’t need to tell you that now, more than ever, marketers need to prove they add value. You need a strong connection to sales and clear KPIs linked across to today’s bottom line. You need a great agency built on a strong partnership. These questions could help deliver that.