The Science of Sales Campaigns

Sales & Marketing Campaigns by the Numbers
Sales & Marketing Campaigns by the Numbers

No matter how much value comes from the design quality of a company’s products or services, the fact is that “products don’t sell themselves”.  Knowing how to build a sales and marketing campaign is as critical for engineering leaders to understand, as knowing how to build the right product or service for the right market.

Paul Nerger, veteran sales guru, industry fellow and Applied Innovation Institute Chairman, regularly shares his sales and marketing expertise in our engineering leadership programs.  Paul suggests that a sales campaign should be designed with a few particular aspects in mind.  The key is to start backwards or at the end, with the customer, and understanding the “buying” behavior.  For example, if your goal is to sell 10 units of product for $100K each ($1M in product revenue), you have to work backwards to understand each of the buying steps that need to happen.  That list of steps might include a) showing interest in the product, b) watching a video, c) speaking to a sales person, d) deciding to buy, e) going through legal, and f) delivering a signed Purchase Order.

For each of these “buying” steps, there is a corresponding marketing or sales activity.  To continue the example, “a marketing advertisement” might be used to generate the “interest for the product”, and a follow-up e-mail may result in “watching the product marketing video”, which may result in a “sales contact call” and so on.

In the video clip below, Paul describes the design and modeling of a campaign.  Although the model is only an initial hypothesis of the sales process, it’s incredibly valuable because it provides an estimated sales cycle (time to sell the product to a new customer), the cost of sales (i.e. how much will it cost you to sell $1M of product), and what can be done to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the sales process. The model can be continuously improved, as you accumulate more information on the likelihood of proceeding from one step of the sales campaign, to the next.

As you examine the model and process, you will see that a greater degree of sales and marketing integration is a possible outcome of developing the model. You can also see that a wider funnel with more leads is more expensive and less effective than a narrower funnel of more qualified leads. Follow the model described by Paul and do this exercise:

a)   For a product or service that you are selling, develop a model for the campaign to sell a target number of initial units.

b)   How many people do you have to reach initially, to achieve your target?

c)   What is your anticipated cost of sales and your anticipated sales cycle?

d)   Where can you get the data to increase model accuracy?

e)   From the model, can you identify what marketing activities are required, what sales activities are required, how many marketing and sales people you will need and how the marketing and sales people should coordinate with each other?

For greater detail, and an extended  version of Paul’s video, please follow this link  – The Science of Sales Long Version

Posted by Ikhlaq Sidhu

Adam Bosworth: Analyzing Complex Opportunities

Adam Bosworth, an engineering leader, offers his perspective on opportunity in a complex market.

Adam Bosworth, pioneer of XML technology and former Vice President of Product Management at Google, illustrates the analysis that lead him to develop his company Keas.

As you watch the videos listed below, consider the way Adam deconstructs complex healthcare issues. How does he characterize the size of the opportunity and the issues that will have to be overcome?

Key ideas:

Inferred measures in place of market research, pains in the system, incentives, decision-making unit, and elasticity of demand.

More on Adam Bosworth:

Adam Bosworth is the founder and CTO of Keas, a leader in healthcare wellness services. Adam was previously Vice President of Product Management at Google Inc. from 2004–2007; prior to that, he was senior VP Engineering and Chief Software Architect at BEA Systems. Known as one of the pioneers of XML technology, Bosworth previously held various senior management positions at Microsoft, including General Manager of the WebData group, a team focused on defining and driving XML strategy. While at Microsoft, he was responsible for designing and delivering the Microsoft Access PC database product and assembling and driving the team that developed Internet Explorer 4.0’s HTML engine.

References: UC Berkeley Distinguished Innovator Lecture Series on Youtube, Wikipedia.

Image: TechCrunch

[Return to Course Page]

Steve Blank: Engineering Leadership includes Business Model Design

In this section of the on-line course, Steve Blank introduces concepts of business model design, customer development, and agile engineering encapsulated within this  Engineering Leadership curriculum.

The links below are from (  You can login using a Google or Facebook sign in – or create a new account for yourself.

For Engineering Leaders taking this open and free course, we recommend the following sections:

a) Lecture 1: What we know now:
In this section, Steve Blank explains a context for intapreneurial new ventures and why Business plans and product planning do not work well for new products and new businesses.  Generally in these cases, customer information is not well known.

b) Lecture 1.5: Business Models and customer development
This section explains in more detail the business model canvas and the iterative process of validating business model hypothesis.  Other concepts defined: Customer development, Pivots, and market sizing. 

c) Lecture 2: Value Propositions
In value propositions, Steve Blank defines qualitative value propositions and minimum viable product.

d) Lecture 3: Customer Segments
In this lecture, Steve Blanks defines the customer segment archetype as the counterpart to value proposition. His definition of Archetypes is similar to Personas are defined by Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm.


Return to course page

Defining Goals: Operational Excellence, Pt. 1

Charles Giancarlo, former Chief Product Officer of Cisco, talks about how the best firms achieve operational excellence: defining goals, aiming high, and not being afraid to change people to change management dynamic.

This segment is from the Distinguished Innovator Lecture Series at UC Berkeley.

Image: Cisco Systems, Inc.

Next lesson: Managing Acquisitions: Operational Excellence, Pt. 2
Return to course page