The Love/Hate Relationship of Sales & Marketing
by David Leach
You truly can’t have one without the other. Marketing campaigns, materials, resources, and efforts are essentially all built to drive sales and maintain a strong and healthy brand image. The sales team essentially determines if marketing is doing so effectively and if the appropriate amount was spent and ideally paid for through generated sales.
Unfortunately it is not this simple as human error, emotion, and competition come into play. If your marketing efforts were poorly targeted and executed, sales could suffer and the marketing team loses footing for their next pitch on budgeting. Sales and marketing is a give and take relationship that egos need to steer clear of. Questions need to be asked, realistic objectives need to be set, and all options need to be explored until something clicks, works, and fits for a healthy combo. And then you have to do it all over again as marketplace changes take affect. The end goal really is your classic set up and knock down team work. Marketing does the propping with appropriate emotion evoking content and sales flies in over the top to knock down and bag the business.
So how is this idealistic relationship achieved?
First thing is to establish a strong and clear objective for both sales and marketing to go after full tilt. If there are two schools of thought and different motivations for each group you will find yourself running in a tight unproductive circle. Next, marketing will need to generate a clear and concise message of this objective in an email or newsletter directed towards the appropriate targets. Be sure to keep the content to a minimum and link back to your website, product, service or whatever it may be as much as possible. The beautiful thing about links are that they appear as if the email or newsletter doesn’t actually contain much content and essentially overload the reader.
After the emails or newsletters have been out for a comfortable period of time, don’t wait too long or the reader will forget what they read, the sales team will need to take a look at the reporting features provided by their email marketing provider. This will let them know who is actually worth the time and effort to pursue. From this the sales team will want to generate a priority list of who is most important, based on the reader’s interactions with the emails and then allocate portions of those lists to the appropriate sales people. For example, I wouldn’t want to hear back from a veterinarian expert if your email was about tractors. It is also always important to know who you are calling as anyone can attest to the fact that someone who knows my name, my business, and actually put time in to finding out who I am, is more likely to get my business.
And finally, during the follow up process be sure to rank the customer so you may form groups for future initiatives based on these ranks/segments. If there is a need to call this person back you will want to remember just how interested they were during the last conversation. The trickiest part of sales is holding off on shoving your product too aggressively. Ask a lot of questions and then tailor what your product can do for that person’s specific needs. The bottom line to all of this when everything is said and done, is the clear objective from start to finish. If sales can’t speak to the marketing material pitch-point and marketing can’t formulate a necessary and clear follow up to take place in sales, then you might as well all head up to the roof and work on your tans.
An appropriate, balanced, and exploratory relationship is needed between sales and marketing. Quarterback and wide receiver, pitcher and catcher if you will. No matter how great, famous, or talented one element is, you simply can’t throw a touchdown or pitch a strike without the other.