Freshly armed with a marketing degree, but desperately trying to avoid returning home to live with mom and dad, I jumped at the opportunity to take a sales gig. While it wasn’t directly related to marketing it was very rewarding, sometimes frustrating and surprisingly educational. Fast forward eight years, and I finally get to put my marketing cap on full-time here at Market Mentors. I still have a “new biz” role here, so I thought I would bring a little bit of my perspective to the table.
Often times when we meet with prospects or are reviewing a campaign with current clients, the conversation naturally turns toward sales. “Making the register ring” is typically the foremost objective for our clients. However, there can often be a disconnect between what the roles are in a revenue generating initiative. Maybe your sales staff says they need more, or better-qualified leads (cue Alec Baldwin). Perhaps your marketing team is seeing the fruits of their labors die on the vine by way of poor closing rates. A well-executed strategy would have a seamless cycle, where everyone knows their role in generating new business. In some instances, the confusion of these roles can lead to inefficiency, frustration and wasted dollars.
Most great results are the product of experience and a solid understanding of fundamentals. The following guidelines may seem simple in nature, but are often misunderstood. Before taking on any business development endeavor, regardless of industry, these principles set expectations for everyone.
- While a successful marketing strategy hopes to target a specific audience or group, a successful sales campaign hopes to distill that audience and communicate directly with one identified lead.
- Effective marketing engages audiences via multiple channels of communication depending on the campaign, but properly qualifying the leads that result should always be a two-way, open conversation with a sales person.
- Valuable items are often offered to promote a product or service as a component of a marketing plan. Case studies, white papers and collateral seek to expedite the education process. In sales, “over-educating” a lead can often stymie the closing process and frustrate both the sales person and the prospect.
- A well-executed marketing effort will inspire audiences to find more information and how the product or service relates to them personally. The sales person then attempts to find the prospect-specific challenges, and leads them to “yes” or “no” conclusions.
- In most cases, a marketing plan becomes more successful with greater frequency, creating more exposure. Conversely, an efficient sales strategy strives to reduce the number of “touches” to reduce the sales cycle.
While these marketing and sales functions are different, both sides rely on each other for success. Have your sales people discovered that the target audience has a specific objection? That may be an excellent opportunity to create a campaign tailored around that particular issue. Market Mentors can help collaborate with your team, and create a case study, printed piece or even web content to aid your sales staff! Or perhaps your sales force might be experiencing a high number of pre-qualified incoming leads, but aren’t converting. This may indicate there is a fundamental flaw in the sales process, that can sometimes be something as simple as not asking the right questions. While we aren’t sales trainers, effective marketing strategies create more demand and opportunity to look closer at your closing rates.
Wrapping up, I promise! Most folks not involved in the sales and or marketing process see them as the same thing. Those involved in one side or the other can sometimes see each other as two worlds apart. Success lies in the middle. These departments should be working in tandem, keeping communication open and continuous. If everyone knows their roles there’s no need for finger pointing. Let Market Mentors work to discover the “secret sauce” to get your sales team tuned in perfect unison with your marketing strategy! It will make your life as easy as “ABC.” Sorry, had to do it.