Six experts offer their personal productivity hacks

Richard Lane
Richard Lane

Do you feel that as a decision-maker you are expected to be more productive than ever? Sales expert Richard Lane, the co-founder and CCO of durhamlane, a strategic global revenue acceleration agency, spoke to six sales and marketing experts from brands including ADLINK, AFRY, Nokia, OMRON Healthcare, RS Industria, and VIAVI to share their top productivity tips.

As Richard delved into conversations with six prominent industry leaders on durhamlane’s podcast ‘The Insiders’, a striking theme emerged: productivity reigns supreme in modern leadership. Yet, amidst tightened resources and budgets, the question arises: how can businesses navigate the constraints to extract maximum value from every stage of the sales process? In this article, Richard shares invaluable insights from these experts, offering actionable advice to amplify the productivity of your marketing and sales endeavours.

1. Shoulder your customers’ burdens

You’ve got to have an intimate understanding of the customer’s jobs, pains, and gains, and make sure that your solution is addressing those.” - Richard Jeffers, founder and managing director, RS Industria

From my chat with Richard of RS Industria, an innovative cloud service and part of the global RS Group, it's evident that empathy is vital in customer relations. His insights demonstrate the importance of a balance between professionalism and a proactive, ambitious approach and is closely aligned with one of my core business mantras which is ‘be interested to be interesting’.

This means not just focusing on how to sell more of a product or service, but having a genuine interest in our clients’ businesses and the challenges they are facing. This helps us to build a rapport through authentic human connection and, in doing so, it allows us to uncover additional areas we could support them with, creating business opportunities for both parties.

Another mantra we live by at durhamlane that applies here is business fit, business value, long-term relationships. Understanding exactly how and where your solutions fit is pivotal to getting the pitch just right. Customers should think that your offering and the consequent investment they make is a no-brainer. I’ve learnt time and again that doing the homework before crafting a compelling pitch ultimately speeds up the decision-making process and leads to positive outcomes.

2. Marsales never fails!

If you want to grow your business and leads, work on your web landing pages.” - Karen Kulinski, EMEA marketing and communications director, ADLINK

Karen of edge AI firm ADLINK highlighted the significance of simple, clear calls to action, engaging content, and mobile-friendly design.

Landing pages and lead capture forms are often created and then neglected. However, they play a crucial role in the customer journey. Regularly revisiting and refining these platforms is essential to improving the customer experience. This includes updating CTAs, using progressive profiling, and continuously testing for effectiveness.

The growing convergence of sales and marketing is becoming increasingly clear, as customers no longer see a distinct separation between these functions. The goal is to create a smooth transition for leads through a thoughtfully crafted journey.

3. Lights, camera, actionable B2B insights!

Connecting your KPIs to business goals will allow you to really look at how your buyer entered and converted, and how they are interacting with you.” - Zsuzsanna Blau, global head of digital demand and campaigns, Nokia

Head of digital demand campaigns at Nokia, Zsuzsanna emphasised the importance of not just collecting insights but using them to drive action.

Instead of focusing solely on individual success metrics, it's important to integrate marketing into broader business planning, as it plays a crucial role in lead generation.

Starting with identifying 'blackout' areas in your business - where data is lacking - is a great way to set measurable goals and gain a comprehensive understanding of your company's performance.

4. Learn from your people

When we conducted a buyer persona and customer journey mapping workshop, we managed to connect the people in marketing and sales.” - Antti Nykänen, head of marketing, infrastructure division, AFRY

Antti, head of marketing at AFRY, a European leader in engineering, design, and advisory services, shared insights on creating connections, not just between marketing and sales outputs but within the teams themselves.

Understanding the customers’ needs and challenges is fundamental for the sales team to believe in the product or service.

Workshops between marketing and sales functions also serve as an excellent tool for involving broader teams in specific niches. They can provide valuable insights that aid in the journey from marketing lead to sales opportunity.

5. What gets measured, gets managed

It's important that marketing decision making is based on data and results.” - Paul Gowans, global director regional and channel marketing, VIAVI Solutions

Whilst relationships are fundamental to success, data simply cannot be ignored says Paul Gowans of VIAVI Solutions, an American network test, measurement and assurance technology company.

In business, metrics should guide decision-making, with emotional biases taking a back seat. Not every strategy will succeed, but data can quickly indicate when a strategy is failing, allowing for quick adjustments.

6. The power of outsourcing

We are not experts in everything, and our teams and our industrial partners should bring that expertise so that we can grow faster.” - Paul Stevens, Director of Digital Health, OMRON Healthcare

By surrounding yourself with the best, you’ll soon see the benefits, claims Paul Stevens, director of digital health at leading global medical device company, OMRON. Not only can external partners accelerate your growth, but they can also pass on invaluable B2B insights and talents to your own team.

Outsourcing allows your business to be viewed from a different perspective, offering a fresh pair of eyes on your ways of working, which can lead to new ways to overcome challenges.

I’ve been lucky to speak to and receive insights from such a knowledgeable range of experts. It’s clear that, although they work in very diverse industries, there are patterns to the challenges in sales and marketing. Understanding customers, aligning marsales strategies, and leveraging data are all key to rapid yet scalable business growth.

Written by
Richard Lane
Written by
February 20, 2024