We work with a lot of mid-sized companies with sales teams of roughly 10 to 30 salespeople. We focus most specifically on helping those sales teams execute at the highest possible level. It is typical that these companies also invest in marketing efforts. However, it seems more common than not that marketing is off doing their thing, and sales is off doing their thing. And there is not as much synchronization of the two efforts as one would like.
I also find that it is not unusual to expect salespeople to be both marketers and salespeople. The two roles do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. And, if salespeople are paid base salaries, they tend to be very expensive marketers.
The way I view the world is that there is a marketing/sales continuum that focuses on the most efficient use of dollars, and that looks something like this:
Marketing obviously does many different things, including reinforcing your brand after a sale. But the heavy lifting with regard to name recognition and causing a potential client to consider your company as an option can be impacted by marketing dollars, which can be spread wider than sales dollars can be. If your marketing efforts can actually get your targeted prospects to consider your company, then it makes it much easier in the future for salespeople to close the sale.
However, do not be fooled into believing that marketing will close the sale for you. There is a lot of buzz out there surrounding inbound marketing and all the great things that a super fantastic inbound marketing program will do for you. The truth is that your success with inbound marketing likely depends. If you sell products that lend themselves to being purchased online without assistance, then inbound marketing can have a big impact. However, don’t expect even the greatest inbound marketing program to close business for you, or even produce the greatest leads, if what you sell requires human interaction.
We specialize in helping companies sell their products and services, through human beings, not through formulas and marketing drip campaigns. Don’t get me wrong. We love marketing drip campaigns and lead nurturing campaigns, however, we believe that many companies chase the dream that more sales will happen if we just have a great inbound or lead nurturing marketing campaign. It isn’t that easy.
The key is to combine both your marketing efforts and your sales efforts. Start with identifying who your best clients are and what the unique attributes are of those clients. Where did they come from? What caused them to do business with you? Assuming you want more of those type of clients, marry your marketing efforts toward those types of clients with the efforts of your salespeople to get referred into more of those types of clients. Make sure that your sales team and your marketing experts are coordinating.
We frequently hear marketing folks say that the salespeople never follow up on the leads they are given, and the salespeople say that the leads that are generated by the marketing efforts are crap. If you include both parties in the conversation about who your targeted clients are and why they do business with you, the easier it will be for marketing to produce appropriate leads and the easier it will be for sales to turn those leads into new business.
Another frequent problem we see is a marketing person who became a salesperson either because they asked to be or were asked to do it. This isn’t always a disaster, but more often than not, the marketing person wants to sell because they think it is a simple way to make more money. You might believe that because your marketer understands the clients you are seeking they would be well suited. Proceed cautiously if you find yourself in this situation. Marketers can be salespeople, but it is not a given. Salespeople have to hunt and qualify and close business. Marketers tend to be evangelizers and service oriented. The way to know for sure is to evaluate them before moving them into a sales position where they may fail.
Get a Sample Salesperson Evaluation Here:
There is a place for both marketing and sales. Sometimes the same person is well designed for both, but frequently not. Make sure you invest in the appropriate activities, at the right point in the marketing/sales cycle, whether they be marketing or sales. Use common sense and realize that there probably is no silver bullet when it comes to marketing and sales. You likely need to focus on a wide variety of coordinated activities to produce the results you seek.
What is your organization doing to bridge sales and marketing? Share your thoughts on this issue in the comments.
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