By Mike Reid and Dominic Rodgers
In the latest round of our events programme, we are proud to have hosted Nick Eades, CMO of Wincanton, who led a fantastic dinner conversation focusing on sales & marketing through our Scale-Up Methodology framework. Nick has run marketing organisations at IBM, Dell, Psion and Planet Payments.
We were delighted to welcome several executives from the Frog portfolio, as well as some exciting CEOs, CMOs and Sales Directors from exciting European software companies across a diverse range of industries, including retail, proptech, AI and fintech. This led to a brilliant dynamic of different experiences and perspectives that inspired great debate and idea sharing.
Nick is a fantastic speaker and delivered both powerful insights and entertaining anecdotes and we are very grateful to have hosted him. “What I like about the Frog Scale Up Methodology is how there is a clear role for Sales and Marketing to work together, and also separately (where needed), to drive the business forwards. Early stage companies can’t afford to have these two crucial functions not delivering to their full potential.”
Here are some of the key takeaways from the evening:
Sales is NOW, Marketing is NEXT
The labels ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’ aren’t necessarily very useful. The two need to work very closely together, but they are definitely separate roles requiring a different set of skills. It’s all about winning and growing customers, just at different parts of the sales cycle. One of the most important things is that the relationship between the two is nurtured, so that both teams are working for one another, and on the same plan. In turn, that plan must be derived from the business plan, instead of having two or even three separate plans.
Remembering the market in marketing
When sales and marketing teams are working effectively together the metrics are very clear and both teams are working towards the same goals. Intelligence gathered by sales representatives needs to be collated, analysed and put into action in marketing, but it is crucial that marketers know the market. That means speaking to customers and experts themselves rather than relying on what they’re being told.
Naming your price
If sales people own pricing then revenue alone can very easily become king. If the CFO does then prices can climb too high. A strong CMO takes responsibility for P&L and plays diplomat, working with both parties and monitoring the 3 C’s: costs, customers and competitors. Setting compensation and incentives schemes by profit margins instead of revenues is another way to drive success. Frog’s operating partner James Bagan commented, “It comes down to expectations. If a sales person is told from the start, then that’s what they’ll work with. Better still, base commissions on customer satisfaction.”
Do your research
Getting strong, independent insights is a crucial and relatively cheap way of building strength into sales, marketing and product development. Setting up an internal customer advisory board with super users is an invaluable practice for scaling businesses, but external research can deliver huge additional value. When you’re trying to protect and grow a relationship with customers it isn’t easy to ask, or for them to answer, tricky questions, such as: what aspect of our product do you value the most? how much is that worth to you? What are we not doing well? Are you happy with us?
The questions came thick and fast and kept coming. Thanks to all our guests for a terrific evening. We’re already looking forward to our next event and look forward to hosting another fantastic group.