The Importance of Nurture in Nascent Markets

I just finished reading Phil Fernandez’s recent book, Revenue Disruption, and I have to say that I recommend it highly.  Fundamentally, Fernandez argues that the old Chinese Wall between sales and marketing needs to be torn down.  Instead, companies need to think of a continuous process, executed collaboratively between sales and marketing, that helps develop people into leads into opportunities into customers.

It’s a simple re-framing, but a powerful one.  Instead of sales and marketing handing contacts over the wall — often with strict wave-off rules where one side can’t touch the contact if he is on the other — that they need to work together, see things from the customer’s viewpoint, and understand that turning prospects into customers is a long process of intermixed touches by both sales and marketing.

While Fernandez would say this is important for all companies, I believe it’s critical for start-ups in nascent markets.  Why?  Because when a market is only 3% penetrated it means that 97 people out of 100 that you meet will definitionally not be ready to buy.  Ergo, start-ups must develop awesome nurture programs that both help accelerate the buying timeframe (e.g., through education) and ensure top-of-mind awareness when the customer eventually does decide to enter the market.

9 responses to “The Importance of Nurture in Nascent Markets

  1. Dave,

    Great to see you blogging again. BTW, I found your copy of crossing the chasm at my local bookstore. The one you loaned me. Bought it back.

  2. Could not agree more.

  3. Gerd Nachtsheim

    Welcome back, Dave!

  4. If it’s a Kellblob, I read it. Agree that the distance between sales and marketing should be narrowed, if not eliminated, though I’m not sure that sales is the one to eat it up. I have a comm’s bias.

    When I wargame, it’s easy enough to enroll sales, PR, IR, AR, etc., but the gaming process shows that marketing is somehow everywhere, but nowhere and that tells me that marketing is a function that deserves to be put on the block.

    Separately, I’d like to have your perspective on how nurturing encompasses the other guy’s funnels. What happens, in other words, when prospects wander out and over to other marketing automation fish traps? Marketing automation seems still to ignore that larger competitive context.

    • Thanks Alan. Great to hear from you. To the extent that nurture is helping accelerate a buyer into a category, I believe it will help both you and your competition. To the extent, you are also building top-of-mind awareness / positive opinion, I’d argue it helps only you.

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  6. Dave, welcome back! This:
    “… companies need to think of a continuous process, executed collaboratively between sales and marketing…”

    Sounds like agile/lean applied to sales and marketing as opposed to development and ux. If so we’re only missing lean finance… ;)

  7. William Morris Sokol

    I had four corporate and emerging technology leadership roles in my career – VC backed, bootstrap, public. The most successful by far was the one in which I stated to the CEO that I was pursuing “Sales Driven Marketing” We dissected the sales process focused on the problem stages, hired generalists, put our necks on the line for revenue. In that market (Contact Center Outsourcing) it was the proposal process that was most broken. The focus on proposals as a process issue and not a content/message/brand issue – actually drove better content message and brand, as well as sensible content management, dissemination, and collaboration. I had to put 10 yrs of Marketing ops and leadership habits on the shelf for a while and the results were inspiring. Thanks for sharing this Mr. Kellogg.

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