This Expert's Corner Article on 'Why Sales Needs To See Marketing As More Than Just The Colouring Department' is brought to you by Richard Stephens, Director of Angelfish Marketing
To be considered for contributions towards future Expert's Corner articles please apply here
Why is it that the sales and marketing departments still don't get along as well as they should?
It's been this way for many years, and it’s often still the case. In fact, a Corporate Executive Board study looking at the terms that sales and marketing use when describing each other found that a massive 87% of them were negative.
This is clearly something that needs to change – AND FAST!
Why Is There Still A divide Between The Sales And Marketing Department?
The reality is that there really is no good reason for this divide any longer (if there ever was a reason in the first place).
The end goal of both sales and marketing is the same: they both want to convert prospects into loyal customers. So why aren’t they working together to achieve this goal?
Here’s some more on their respective roles in this process and why sales and marketing should be closer than ever these days.
Why the bad rep for marketing?
Marketing has an image problem, and this stems from the olden days when it was seen as purely for branding purposes.
The fact is that many companies did not (and do not) see how marketing is used beyond branding.
Have you heard marketing referred to as 'The Colouring in Department?’ The marketing techniques of old were focused on appearances, and there was no way to trace the direct success of an ad campaign.
As such, it was difficult to prove its value – or justify its cost.
There was no way to track leads as a direct result of marketing techniques and instead, it was more focused on generalities and generating interest.
Many marketers now use Google AdWords, which is an effective way to target prospects who are already looking for a specific product or service – rather than trying to seek out people who might be interested.
But while this type of marketing is still around, it’s becoming less common now that more effective techniques are emerging.
Modern marketing is about warming up prospects for sales
Many marketers made the switch to a different way of marketing over the last decade. Instead of general branding campaigns, they now focus more on targeting people who are already looking for their solutions online.
These days, it is harder than ever to sell things to people who just aren't at the right stage to buy. So the focus of marketing now is to ensure you get your products and services in front of people at the right time using effective digital marketing techniques.
Marketing can essentially warm up prospects and answer their questions, then when they are ready to move on, marketing can pass them onto the sales team.
So where exactly does the sales department fit into this?
Traditional sales on a downward slope...
For many years, sales meant cold calling. This was expensive and not particularly effective, and it could even be damaging to a business’s reputation.
Thankfully, cold calling is dying. It’s simply no longer relevant in the way it was 20 years ago. The truth is there are so many better options now.
These days, you need a sales strategy for modern buyers. Instead of forcing your product or service upon people, the better option is to shift to consulting and providing helpful advice to prospects who are at the right stage in the buying process. Prospects who are ready to talk.
Instead of cold calling, let the marketing department focus on a strategic inbound marketing campaign.
What does inbound marketing involve?
In brief, inbound marketing involves creating and distributing high-value content that provides tips, strategies and information to prospects.
As this content gets shared and is put in front of more people, it draws prospects in by providing them with useful and relevant information.
Once those prospects are sufficiently interested to move onto the buying stage, this is the time to let the sales agents take over.
Inbound marketing uses social media, website optimisation, webinars, ebooks, blogs, white papers – all of which are much more is much more effective than cold calling.
Customers have changed
Why is it that things have changed so much for marketing and sales over the last few years?
Technology is the driver of change, and it has changed the way buyers behave considerably.
Think about it: What do buyers do now? They research products online, find out about prices, compare products and read reviews – all with no sign of a sales rep in sight.
Millennials are savvy, and they like to make their own decisions. Organisations want to control the process, and that’s understandable. If you are in sales, you want to help prospects understand your products.
But buyers don't actually want to speak to you anymore – not unless they really have to. They prefer to research on their own terms.
So you need to provide them with what they are looking for: the content they want to read. Get your inbound marketing sorted, and you are ready to start taking advantage of this.
Sales and marketing need to play together
So how should you get started? Firstly, your marketing department needs to get to work on creating content for the sales funnel at every level.
But most of all, marketing and sales need to work together as a team with one goal. Getting them to support each other is the challenge, but it doesn't need to be hard. They simply need to communicate better.
You need honest conversations between sales and marketing where sales tell marketing the pitches that work with prospects and close the sale.
Marketing must then respond by providing prospects with the content they need to hit the right note and answer their most pressing questions.
When it's time, the sales team can engage with prospects and start converting them into customers.
Are you ready?
Marketing and sales have both changed considerably over recent years. So are you ready to embrace the change?
If you are not investing in this new type of inbound marketing, you need to start now. And if your sales and marketing teams don't work together, they need to sort that out.
Because if you haven't worked it out yet, your competitors probably have.