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.