Gina Balarin, Gary Whitaker and Darren Leishman weigh in on what makes marketing and sales work perfectly together.
With the wealth of information available on effective, results-driven sales and marketing strategies, it’s amazing that we’re still working on the premise that sales and marketing don’t perform the same function, and in fact, don’t even like each other.
In this quote from Entrepreneur in 2008, Mark Stevens sums it up:
“The question arises from the fact that most marketing people dislike salespeople. They don't understand selling and, even worse, have a disdain for it. They build "beautiful and creative" bridges to nowhere. They expend big budgets. They vie for the dubious honour of being named Agency of the Year. They compete to recruit hotshot creative directors. But increasing sales? That's not on their head-in-the-sand radar screens.”
This may be true in a large number of cases, but a change toward integrated sales and marketing strategies is starting to take hold.
We share the thoughts of three experts on the state of marketing, the development of sales, and why we need to rethink our approach to make consumer experience our focus.
View from the top: the marketer’s perspective
Gina Balarin: Senior Marketing Director, OmPrompt
Sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin.
We both have to understand people in order to get them to pay attention to us. But great salespeople have known, since time immemorial, that in order to make someone buy something from you, you have to help them know they want it – and you have to get them to realise your truth: the truth that their lives will be better if they buy what you have to sell.
Only, in this day and age, salespeople and marketers seem to be doing more and more of each others’ jobs. With the advent of social selling and inbound marketing it’s almost as if marketers are now having to do sales, and salespeople are having to do marketing.
Think about it.
What marketers do
What sales people do
Produce messages about their audiences problems
Wait for leads to fall from the sky (or find them themselves - occasionally)
Make the content as engaging as possible (verbally and visually)
Convince leads that they have a problem
Identify target audiences and spend money to reach them
Convince their prospects that their company's solution can solve that problem.
In the world of inbound marketing and social selling, sales and marketing roles are reversing. Sales people are marketing. Marketers are selling. [Tweet this!]
I think we’re heading towards a world where sales and marketing are, in fact, merging. Soon, neither of us will be salespeople or marketers: we’ll be ‘sales-eters’ or ‘market-people’. But this is only possible if there’s true collaboration between salespeople and marketers.
I believe that this is certainly on the cards. But sometimes we need a bit of help. In that case, a bit of relationship counselling for sales and marketing does not go amiss!
Turning the funnel on its head: from sales to marketing
Darren Leishman, MD, Penquin
Communication and follow-through are critical to optimising the sales-marketing cycle.
Communication closes off the sales / marketing process, no matter who takes on each role. This means that there must be a constant follow-through from initial contact to closing the deal - where teams analyse data together and optimise their performance and activities accordingly.
Matching KPIs and metrics (used in sales, and not as often in marketing) will help drive sales and marketing to the same goal and increase team dynamics, with less destructive competition.
To include marketing and sales in the same loop is to allow them to understand the short-term and the long-term goals fully. All behaviour in this sphere should drive toward these objectives.
As we see this sales/marketing hybrid reviving, we’ll also see the information sharing, understanding, and knowledge of both the consumer need and the product increase on both sides of the fence. The customer need is the core reason for your product's existence – so customer engagement should be driven from your business strategy.
‘Market unto others as you would have them market unto you’.
I feel that we will see this extending into sales as well, as the time-share salesman archetype fades away, and sales and marketing come closer together. It will then become
‘Market and sell unto others as you would have them market and sell unto you’.
The result? More successful business with happier consumers, getting what they need, when they need it, at the appropriate price.
Corporate experience in the realm of sales and marketing
Gary Whitaker, Media Director, Penquin
Starting the change from management: Why it works
When mass marketing came onto the scene in around 1950, sales took on the role of face-to-face engagement, and marketing addressed mass media and messaging. The need to reach more people to drive sales caused a rift between the two, and messaging became inconsistent.
It created a situation in which marketing managed the four (or five, if you’re new-school) P’s, and sales took the product and sold it in the prescribed method. This separation divided skills in business by force, and created different departments within almost every single company that had something to sell (Ed's note: So, everyone?). In corporate environments, sales is beholden to marketing, because marketing sets the price and go-to-market strategy.
As Gina says, now that digital media has become such a force, the roles and skills have started to overlap, and inconsistencies in messaging are glaringly obvious to those who deal with sales and marketing concurrently.
The people who suffer most from this massive misalignment are the consumers: Their needs are not being addressed across business divisions, and understanding of who they are and what they need is secondary to making the sale. The result? No repeat business. You can convince someone to buy a car that they neither want nor need, but in making the sale in the short term, you guarantee that you will never see them again.
The solution is to balance the compromise on margin with the potential for long-term business. This is where sales and marketing meet.
Having sales and marketing performing each other’s functions to achieve goals and exceptional consumer engagement is the ideal, but it’s a while off.
What you can do, right now, is to look at your company structure. In today’s economy, businesses need to streamline their processes, so finding a common path and slimming down your two departments into one cohesive team is the first step.
We see far more businesses following these trends throughout 2016, in order to cut costs and tighten their belts, but there is absolutely no way that aligning their teams in this way will create a negative result. We expect exactly the opposite.
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