Marketing and Sales are the life blood of any successful practice. Without consistent sales you will struggle to operate a growing business, without consistent marketing you will never have a consistence supply of marketing qualified sales leads for your sales people. Please note there is no way in this series that I am going to be able to cover everything that is needed from a sales and marketing perspective but I will try and cover what I have found to be effective from my perspective. If there’s anything specific you would like me to cover please let me know in the comments below.
I have yet to come across a Dynamics 365 practice that is executing effectively on marketing!
I think for a practice to be effective long term it needs vision and reason to exist outside of the current billing engagement or the current opportunity being chased by your sales team.
Marketing is not about instant results but if done effectively and invested in accordingly it will create the foundations of a sustainable practice. If it is done in an ad-hoc nature it will provide lacklustre results.
Unfortunately, I have found many companies are not serious about what it takes to invest and strategize in marketing. They are stuck in a past way of thinking that is sales focused and place a great expectation on star performers, who are expected to spend a lot of time and expense qualifying potential opportunities. This is generally not the best use of their skills. Worse still are companies that do not have a sales culture at all. I think that every role in the practice needs to be trained and measured on uncovering opportunities for the practice.
Marketing needs dedicated staff that can implement the vision and strategy. They should not be sales people but should be sales minded. They should not be consultants but should be outcome focused and responsible for their contribution to the financial results of the practice. All expenditure needs to be measured against the value of opportunities closed. A Power BI dashboard needs to be implemented to measure the effectiveness of marketing resulting in Won business. While not necessarily an exhaustive list, at a minimum you should be tracking:
Vision & Strategy for Marketing
A clear vision and strategy need to be developed for marketing. Not just running campaigns as budget allows or funding can be gained from external sources.
I believe that a 1, 2 and 3-year vision needs to be designed and implemented, and once that is defined build out the timelines, strategies and the resulting campaigns. You need buy-in from senior management to play the long game if you are to build a profitable sustainable practice. (Note this can be harder to get)
When looking at your marketing strategy there are some key areas to focus on:
- Industry specialisation – focus on an industry you have skills and experience in, measure the addressable market size and market specifically to that industry using their terminology. The success and implementations you do in the industry will allow you to build referenceable award winning outcomes as well as industry-specific IP. The people in that industry will talk about your skills and success and which will reduce the risk of doing business with you as you “know” how their industry operates. Also, it will be logical to employ people out of that industry over time to give you a better understanding. For example, if I was to target healthcare as the industry, I would want to employ people that have a background or connections in healthcare.
- Microsoft’s existing clients – Microsoft have a “Master Account List” (MAL) of accounts that Microsoft sales staff target as part of their sales and marketing strategy. I will not get into the detail of how this listed is created or how Microsoft sales staff use it, but you need to get a copy of it for your territory (I have never found it difficult to get a copy from your local Microsoft representative). Note: this will not have any names for people it will only have company names. The reason this list is important is because it allows you to target accounts that Microsoft has already sold into, so Microsoft already has a billing relationship with the account and from here you can expand that account into Dynamics, Azure, Office 365 by creating solutions to address the needs of the customer.
Listed below are some of the things that need to be implemented as part of your marketing plan, I will build out more detail around these in a future post.
Please let me know in the comments below what you have found effective from a marketing perspective in your Dynamics 365/CRM practice.