It appears that Avaya’s most immediate problem is a noticeable operational “gap” between the marketing and sales departments. Throughout the sales process, the departments are not working together in a cooperative fashion – they’re working separately, and sequentially. This gap not only affects the ways in which the departments interact and communicate, but is also likely affecting sales and demand generation. If there was a new model put in place for sales and marketing to work together, not only would sales and demand generation improve, but efficiency would undoubtedly increase. Due to the current operational model in place with these departments, each has their own systems and processes (funnels) that are un-related and unaligned. There are no established objectives or common goals that the departments share and, as a result, there is a complete lack of systematic devices/models for executing sales and increasing demand cooperatively. From the reading, it’s easy to gather that the organization even lacks a standardized set of parameters for classifying potential and return clients (data evaluation that determines good leads, purchase likelihood, and anticipated purchase timeline is inconsistent). Needless to say, this is a large problem for an organization looking to integrate their efforts to create a flexible, measurable system that increases revenue. Additionally, I feel that their sales force compensation model may be contributing to this problem, because it’s so heavily based on quarterly revenue numbers. In the current model, the sales force has final say on which leads they will pursue, no matter which department they were obtained through. Therefore, it’s not unrealistic to believe that a sales person might reject pursuing a smaller potential client for a larger one, simply based on the status of their current numbers instead of purchase likelihood. I feel that this what Ill was referring to when he mentions, “quarter-to-quarter thinking.” The glaring issue with this circumstance is that new and potentially long-term business could be getting turned away because of performance pressure felt by sales executives. The only reason that this scenario is feasible is because the sales funnel operates independently, and without any external involvement.
One way to correct this problem is to create an integrated marketing & sales funnel in which both departments should have a role in every phase of the process – from first impression to the closing of the deal. The goal of this model would be to more-effectively and efficiently classify potential clients while generating sales and demand. It would also, given their proven history of high customer retention, position the generation of new business at the forefront of these goals. Many of the involved processes with this model, including client evaluation, would be taking place simultaneously with the sales force’s efforts to move customers through the purchase process. Thanks to this simultaneous design of the model, Avaya would be able to quickly make analysis, measure results, and make adjustments based on the feedback they obtain. If properly utilized, this unified funnel would impact all customers, not just new ones, as it could increase interaction between them and the organization. With the marketing and sales departments working closely together, seamless inclusion of new-media tools such as blogs and message boards could potentially boost sales and maintain current relationships by providing valuable industry news and organizational information. Implementing online tools (calculators, budget-based packages, etc.), communication, and advertisements will also allow them to “digitally tag” their traffic and then gather information about why they did or did not make a purchase. This alternative would require a great deal of procedural change in the way that the...
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