Sales and Marketing functions need to work extremely closely if leads are to be found and converted into paying clients or customers. Many companies will have a sales strategy as well as a marketing strategy, but they cannot be written individually as they are interdependent. A marketing strategy has to consider the business’ sales goals and objectives to craft campaigns. The sales strategy has to factor in marketing projects and campaigns that could impact on activities. And of course, both have to reflect the overall business strategy.
The line between the functions is now so blurred that some companies have given up having separate departments and now have just one joint Sales and Marketing department. Yes, people may have different roles within that department, but there is a distinct cross over.
Many say this is as a result of social media and technology. Personally I don’t think that’s the case. Social media and technology means that we have had to change some of the ways we market and sell, that’s only natural. Now you can get to so many more people much more easily. ‘Word of mouth’ means reaching hundreds or thousands of people at one time, not just the 5 or 6 people in the room, as it used to be.
But before all the new technologies came along, sales and marketing should have already been working closely to grow your customer base. After all, if you want someone to buy your service or product you have to be meeting a need they have; solving an issue, saving them money, making something better or improving their processes, not just selling them something for the sake of it. Sadly, this has often not been the case and the philosophy of ‘if you make enough calls and knock on enough doors you’ll eventually make a sale’ has been the method of choice for some businesses. Historically, there was a tendency to ‘sell’ not ‘meet a customers need’. It was all about “the features and benefits of my product” and not, “How can I help you solve your problem?”. Companies didn’t necessarily know alot about who their customers were, or what they wanted. It was all about today’s numbers. If the figures didn’t stack up, sales blamed marketing and marketing blamed sales. Campaigns were changed, sales staff were given a stern talking too and the cycle began again.
In the past that may have worked for some, for others not. But in today’s digital world, if it si still working for you, it’s likely it won;t for much longer. Consumers have much more information available to them at their fingertips which means they may well cross you off their list of potential providers long before they are even on your radar. They do their research and have pretty much made their buying decision without speaking to anyone in the company they may be considering using. That’s why it’s more important than ever that sales and marketing work together closely to understand your customers and their needs and issues.
Here are some tips to make sure that Sales and Marketing work together to get the best for your business.
2 Way Communication
This is critical. It sounds logical doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised at just how many businesses don’t have open doors between sales and marketing. Sales staff need to know as much about any campaign as the marketers. Of course they don’t need to be at every meeting, but they do need to know what’s planned. When will the campaign launch? How will success be defined? Will there be split testing? How else can they be prepared when talking to clients and prospects? Marketing staff need to know what constitutes a good sales lead. When does that lead turn into a real opportunity, and how many opportunities does it take to produce a sale? How else can they use the campaigns to improve the quality of leads for sales staff and put a value of success on it?
Shared responsibility for content planning
It’s not just marketing that have good ideas for your content marketing. Your sales staff are out there every day hearing about different situations from clients and prospective clients. Use their knowledge of what they hear to deliver content that people want. It will also help to reinforce conversations that your sales staff are having with prospects about individual situations and help build that content library.
Understand each other’s limitations
If you have good communication and common goals across both teams then the sales and marketing process should run quite smoothly, but be sure about each areas limitations. Sales staff can’t sell effectively if they don’t know what’s on offer from marketing, and marketing can get frustrated if offers are made by sales that can’t be fulfilled (whether that’s due to time, money or resource). Each department needs to know the baseline of any project or development and be aware of where any limitations lie.
Ultimately, it comes down to a mutual feeling of trust and shared responsibility. Marketers need to understand the sales processes if they are to put together great campaigns that help sales staff sell, and sales staff need to share their knowledge from clients and prospects to help marketing put those campaigns together.
If you need help with your sales and marketing strategy, or want to know how to use digital and social media in your sales or marketing processes, get in touch.