I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
When DLT Solutions—a value-added reseller focusing on the public sector market—wanted to increase training sales in an area of its company, it took a very measured approach.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> First, the company identified a sales target. Then, using precise metrics, DLT calculated how many training packages it would have to sell to meet its goal; how many packages needed to be quoted at historical win rates to generate the target revenue; how many qualified prospects it would take at typical conversion rates to generate that number of quotes; how many prospects it would have to touch at baseline campaign response rates to get those qualified prospects; and how many marketing events it would have to hold to touch that number of potential customers. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Then, they planned a marketing campaign accordingly. The company's distinctive system keeps the focus on DLT's main goal: generating demand and leads for its vendor partners. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>Metrics as a Marketing Tool</b><br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Rarely does a company's marketing department handle sales forecasts or use sales goals to develop a plan for its marking activities. But DLT is not typical in this regard.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> For instance, the sales team's training program is run through the marketing department. Rather than simply receiving leads from the marketing team with no knowledge of how they came about, sales now has a strong understanding and appreciation for those leads. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> DLT views sales and marketing as an integrated team, not two separate entities. Instead of a more traditional model where just quota-carrying salespeople have the opportunity to win trips for meeting their numbers, DLT's culture provides that same opportunity to both sales and marketing employees, as well as the other company support organizations. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Also, DLT's sales team members can use the company's unique Web-based system to view all possible leads and marketing events for any given month. For instance, they can see how many people attended a particular event or how many customer touches a newsletter garnered last month. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Access to this information at such a granular level gives the sales team the forecasting tools it needs to reach its goals in a scientific manner. The salespeople analyze the numbers to see how many leads it will take to reach a goal, then check the company's scheduled events and promotions for the coming months to see if they are likely to grab enough leads to get the needed results.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The company is constantly evaluating its lead generation scorecard to ensure that they are providing incremental demand and meaningful value to their vendors. To date, the strategy has been so successful that DLT's vendors help fund it, paying the company upwards of $1 million a year to undertake marketing activities on their behalf. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> DLT shares all of the data it collects with its vendors. The company also collaborates with its vendors throughout the entire process, casting a net of alliances that reaches far beyond DLT's four walls. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>Managing Workflow</b><br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> DLT's marketing agency model adds to its unique approach. Rather than assigning only one specific job to each employee, the company charges account managers with the success of their accounts and allows them to assign the best possible team for each project. This ensures employees are always working on projects in areas they have the most expertise, benefiting both the customer and the company. This model also allows for team members to be reallocated if one group is short-handed. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The multifaceted Web-based platform that the company has developed tracks every detail of every marketing project, down to reserving hotel rooms for events. It resembles a company-wide "to-do" list all members of the team can access to log their work and view upcoming tasks for each project. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> If someone is out sick or one person on the team is overloaded with tasks, their work can be shifted to someone else to keep things moving smoothly. No one at DLT is immune from being reassigned to help a finish a job. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>Maintaining a Knowledge Base</b><br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The system also ensures DLT's knowledge base stays with the company at all times. For instance, when one employee returned to work after a one-year military leave, he did so without skipping a beat. Thanks to the workflow system the company uses to run its business, he was able to easily research every detail of missed campaigns, marketing programs and events—from guest speakers down to hotel contracts. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> These very detailed records are maintained as reference material. So if someone wants to recreate one aspect of an especially successful event from last year, they can see exactly what was done.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> This all-encompassing system that tracks and stores every aspect of DLT's marketing activities, along with the company's philosophy of monitoring the work and adjusting workflow accordingly, make for a powerful combination. Add to it the metrics used to analyze sales and marketing and help the company reach its goals, and DLT may well have turned the art of marketing into a science.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <i>Rick Marcotte is president and CEO of DLT Solutions. Christine Schaefer is director of marketing for DLT.</i>