I just had lunch with a marketing executive whom I was introduced via a mutual acquaintance. Over the course of our meal, we had a chance to share war stories about the differences between Sales and Marketing. It's amazing but the similarity in experiences between two marketers, who've been doing this gig for way too many years, and who are physically located in two completely different geographies, is remarkable. In fact, it's identical. So what were some of the observations that we agreed upon?
- Will always take the path of least resistance
- Will always let the act of closing a deal prevent them from doing the day-to-day stuff they need to do to sustain their pipeline
- Will usually discount Marketing's contribution to a sale with the classic line "We were already talking to them"; even if the last time they talked was more than a year previous
- Is laser focused on closing a deal. This is a good thing.
- Will often fall back on price to close a deal, rather than sell value.
- Will prefer to work hot leads rather than cold call or lead nurture
- Can always win influence with the executives because they bring a signed contract to the table whereas Marketing talks about influence and awareness created
- Understands the company dies without revenue and typically lets nothing stand in their way when chasing the quota
- Doesn't really understand what value Marketing brings to the table because, most often, they've never really seen good Marketing
- Often focus more-so on brand, awareness creation, cool imagery and "viral Marketing"
- Often doesn't understand what the corporate revenue goals are, what the typical sales cycle is, and how to support both of those initiatives with every program they run.
- Often avoids technology, which could help their day-to-day tasks, because they don't have time to learn it or they fear it will be too complex and cumbersome
- Blatantly understands the power of online word-of-mouth, of consistent messaging, and of relationship building. They equally get frustrated when the rest of the company doesn't have the same appreciation of these necessities.
- Totally gets that any success requires an integrated demand generation program that spans multiple prospect touches (email, direct mail) and varied techniques of engaging them.
- Is often challenged to demonstrate and prove their contribution to the company goals.
Of course, everything listed above are mostly stereotypes. Not everyone can be painted with the above stripes. However, if you assess the Sales and Marketers you know, I think you'll agree that this isn't that far off the mark.
So what can we do to make the situation better, to align Sales and Marketing? Well, an easy place to start is to work together to define what a Lead actually is. Do the math to figure out what the lead flow needs to be to support revenue goals and sales quotas. Work backwards to understand the actual sales cycle: the duration, the prospect touches, the objections, and the value propositions. Be blunt and put things on the table: what does Marketing need from Sales to be successful, and what does Sales need from Marketing to be successful. In the end, Sales and Marketing are actually on the same team. Isn't it time we coordinate to achieve the common goals?
So what else did we agree upon? Sales and Marketing are essentially two siblings, very much alike, both vying for their parents approval. When they work together, as opposed to against one another, combined with making an effort to understand each others roles and jobs, then the outcome is ten-fold more successful.
We've been busy here at My Lead Agency getting this site launched prior to the typical September back-to-school/work mentality kicks in, which will result in the usual rush of new business. It's nice to be working on our own site, for a change, rather than a customer's site. It certainly makes the faster decision making! However, even though it's our own site, we do suffer somewhat from the Cobbler's Kids syndrome where we are still fitting in the edits and updates in between other deliverables. I'm sure it's not unlike your daily routine; you're so busy doing the daily grind that you rarely get time to do the stuff you know you really need to do such as creating new content, working on ensuring your online presence is found by others, or better analyzing your prospect segments and building out campaigns to better target them. It's tough.
One thing that we've found entertaining is listening to what we have to say when we're shooting our videos for this site. You have to understand, we're always giving advice to our clients. That's why they engage us. However, when you sit down and create video after video after video, in a concentrated fashion, you start to hear some common advice, strategies, and themes. In fact, you question whether your own personal advice isn't perhaps a bit of a broken record. Of course, it's not; it simply is proof that the basics need to be continually followed regardless of where you are, or what you're doing, when attempting to create new leads to grow your business.
So what do we hear ourselves continually saying? Pretty much the following:
- Content is King. You need lots of it. You need to never stop making it.
- Content is multi-channel. In other words, each recipient of your content will have a preferred method of hearing it and it's up to you to ensure you've provided it in that medium. This could include video, podcasts, whitepapers, blogs, etc. People fit you into their schedule based on the medium that is the most convenient to them.
- You have to constantly be speaking to the pains people have, and then providing them solutions to their problem. Everything needs to be benefit-driven. Don't speak to the technology. Speak to the human aspect of everything we do.
- You need to segment your audience; understand where they are in the sales funnel.
- You need to create a series of campaigns, for each segment, relative to the segments pains or objections.
- You're always trying to build a relationship with your prospects and clients. That means you want a two-way conversation. It's not just about them hearing what you have to say.
- You're always trying to build trust with your prospects. You do this through sound advice and unbiased feedback.
- You want to be constantly building your thought leadership. Get others to share your content. Be active in the communities, and using the mediums (i.e. Twitter), that your community frequents.
- You want to work smart - not hard. You do this through the use of Marketing Automation and Inbound Marketing and other enabling technologies.
- You want to invest in guerrilla tactics. Don't fall back on spending lots of money and expecting large returns. You have to use patience and understand that it's going to take more impressions then you ever expected to engage your prospects. You don't get an ROI on a one-time email or direct mail.
Anyways, that's most of what we kept hearing ourselves say over and over again. If you don't watch one of our videos, or listen to a single podcast, then you'll have got the essence of what we say simply by reading this post.
Thanks for stopping by and giving this a read. Feel free to share or tweet about it. We'd be grateful. Drop back soon.