Sales vs Marketing: Whose got the lead?

Sales vs Marketing: Whose got the lead?

Both Sales and Marketing are hereby put on notice. The importance of that face-to-face communication is greater than you think. Exhibitions are not just random window shopping. Trade shows give you greater influence and an access to buyers that cannot be replicated in anywhere else. According to a 2013 Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) study, The Value of Trade Shows:

• 88% of attendees have not been seen by a member of your company’s sales staff in the preceding 12 months
• Seven out of ten attendees plan to buy one or more products
• 76% asked for quotes and 26% signed purchase orders (average all shows)
• 72% of show visitors say the show influenced their buying decision
• 87% of attendees will share some of the information obtained at an exhibition
• It costs 22% less to contact a potential buyer at a show than it does through traditional field sales calls

The average trade show attendee will spend 7 to 8 hours on the floor over a period of 2 to 3 days visiting an average of 25-31 exhibits. This leaves 5 to 15 minutes per visit – just 5 to 15 minutes to make a lasting impression that will give you an edge over the competition. Create an exhibit that works as a true marketing tool. (Source: CEIR, AMA Educator Conference – Highlights of Key Value of Exhibitions to Attendee, 2014)

While Marketing drives with a roadmap labeled “strategy” and “branding”, Sales is running on relationships and referrals. I’m oversimplifying, of course, but these two dynamic forces can have powerful momentum. They are exciting to watch, they require real talent and dedication, and they both can deliver. But, delivering together in harmony is a challenge. Why?

We all know the arguments—Sales thinks Marketing is detached from the realities of the marketplace. Marketing accuses Sales of ignoring the true meaning of competitive branding.

Well, now’s time for Sales and Marketing to put down the gloves.
When marketing and sales teams are aligned to the same goals, the number of quality leads increases and ultimately revenue goes up. Sounds easy enough, but how can these two functions become a high performing, dynamic duo?

1. Stop thinking Marketing and Sales are different.
Sales and marketing are both about persuasion. Think one continuous process. Teams must agree on handoff points by identifying the stages of a lead and the point at which a lead should be passed to sales. That agreement should include the creation of a closed loop process that allows sales to push leads back to marketing for ongoing nurturing programs. (Source: Reachforce.com B2B Lead Generation, 2014).

2. Become masters at creating useful content.
Sales knows what questions prospects are asking and what their biggest challenges are. That kind of information is invaluable in creating relevant content marketing. Marketing can then generate the kind of content Sales needs to share with their networks, attract interested prospects and start new conversations. (Source: Business2community.com, Five ways to Support Sales, 2014).

3. Use the Right Tools
Your sales team should take advantage of lead-generating tools to connect with prospects before, during and after a show. Here are some examples.
• For B2B companies, LinkedIn should be an invaluable source of lead generation.
• Reachable.com instantly renders a visual map of their network and the best route to take to get introduced.
• Sales people should blog, submit articles and accept speaking engagements.

Marketing can also play its part in the new paradigm.
• Focus on delivering new content across multiple channels that links back to your key messaging.
• Experiment with interactive video experiences – from YouTube to Vine.
• Use data driven, targeted, direct mail.
• Lead generation and nurturing tools like those offered by Hubspot and CRM tools like Salesforce.com and Landslide make it easier to stay on top of opportunities and coordinate with the sales pipeline. (Source: B2BMarketingZone, Salesforce.com, 2014)
• Create new blog content, lead gen offers, and optimized landing pages.
• Follow up via email using targeted lead nurturing content.
• Cultivate and engage with quality influencers to stay abreast on their area of expertise.

The bottom line for both Sales and Marketing is improved profits, cash flow and liquidity. The engine that provides this fuel is marketing and sales delivering a robust return. By working together, Sales and Marketing can develop as the ultimate, revenue generating team.

To read more about this topic and what the two functions must learn from the other in order to succeed, download our report, Sales vs Marketing: Who’s Got the Lead?