Everybody’s talking about sales and marketing alignment these days because it’s still a big problem in many companies. Sales and marketing people aren’t on the same page when it comes to strategy, process, messaging, lead quality or tactics. But what if you didn’t have to worry about that because sales and marketing skills are merged into one person? What if you could find a person who is comfortable with both disciplines and motivated by a passion for success as measured by both sales and marketing? Does that person even exist? Well, if he or she does exist, here’s what you have in a nutshell.
First, what is a sales and marketing hybrid?
I think you have to start with sales, because that is the more difficult skill to find. Yes, there are lots of sales people, but how good are they? There are lots of qualities good sales reps have in common, but on my short list are:
- Intelligence – to be able to learn about what you sell and understand how it helps your customers
- Integrity – to be able to gain the trust of others and build relationships
- Communication – to be clear and direct, to be able to tell the story without wasting someone’s time
- Experience – this never hurts, to know what’s coming next and how to respond
- Diligent – to be organized, to track activities well and document everything
Now, what makes a good digital marketer?
Let’s start with the basics—traits that employers look for these days.
- Creative/Imaginative – there’s already way too much content out there, so to attract attention, you need to think outside the box
- Writer – good ideas are only part of the solution, you need to be able to write good copy, as well
- Digital/Social – you need to know the best tools and channels and how to use them
- Analytical – great marketing drives results, you have to be able to prove it with data and effective reporting
How to find or combine these skill sets?
Well, that’s the $64K question isn’t it? Do we start with a marketer and teach sales, or vice versa? Or maybe we should start from scratch and teach hybrid sales-and-marketing in school… I think it would be easier to start with a sales person and teach them marketing. Why? Because sales skills are more difficult to teach. Great sales reps have an innate ability to understand their customers and communicate with them. Yes, there are certain tricks to the trade, but the basic one is loving the “art” of sales. You either have that or you don’t. I would argue that digital marketing is easier to learn, and some of the core disciplines can be outsourced, for example copywriting, graphic design, web design and social media. Some of the best marketers I know don’t put their hands on any of these disciplines, but they lead teams that do. So, in principle, a great hybrid sales-marketer starts with a great sales person who is ready to take on more—to learn how to get better leads into the pipeline through a fundamental understanding of their needs and a willingness to lead a team to get that done. Then, this super sales rep can focus on what he/she does best, closing deals.
So what are the 10 advantages of the super sales and marketing rep?
- Speed – Information doesn’t wait on somebody’s desk or sit in an inbox. Lead intelligence notifications go right to the sales rep who knows what to do with it—make a call or pay a visit. Opportunities are never lost due to timing.
- Sales Efficiency – Potential customers talk to the right person at the right time to meet their needs. There are no layers to crawl through, no siloes to overcome. The process couldn’t be any leaner.
- Accuracy – The hybrid rep knows how to read the data using marketing automation and CRM tools. Every nuance about a lead is quickly assessed and updated if necessary. The most relevant data is instantly available at his/her fingertips.
- Perception – Because the rep has access to updated buyer profiles and can review up-to-the-minute buyer behavior, he/she knows when to strike and what to say.
- Knowledge – Lead intelligence gives the rep insights into buyer background, preferences, connections and recent activities—in effect, reading their minds.
- Competitive Edge – The super rep not only has a time advantage, but also has insider information on what a buyer is looking for and can tailor his or her sales message to target those desires.
- Cost-Effective – Because fewer leads and sales opportunities are lost, and because the operation is effectively leaner, new sales cost less.
- Profitable – More effective tactics in driving new sales in less time at lower cost = higher net revenues.
- Rewarding – Because the super rep is in control of his/her pipeline from the top of the funnel to the bottom, he/she “owns” it and gains satisfaction from the process itself, not just the financial incentives.
- In Demand – The super rep will find himself/herself as a rare breed out there in the marketplace and can command all kinds of career opportunities.
I hope I’ve inspired some of you sales reps to take the next step in becoming more of a hybrid by learning how to take advantage of modern digital marketing strategy and technology. I also hope those of you who have already taken the leap will gives us a shout. Yeah, we’re looking for you.
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Photo credit: HystericalMark