(No, we didn’t just call marketing folks morons!)
At work, we often live in a land of silos. The executives are over here. The marketing department is over there. HR is out front. The sales team is down in the basement on the phones. So, when we say “sales and marketing” in the same sentence, it’s an oxymoron. (In case you’re wondering, an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.)
And yet we’re all supposed to be presenting a unified front to the world – a focused message that addresses our customers’ concerns, solves their problems and makes their lives better.
When it comes to sales and marketing, the relationship ranges from completely disconnected to somewhat engaged to the perfect marriage of message and action. The latter, however, is rare. It’s usually closer to the other end.
The Typical Scenario
Here’s how things typically work in a corporate environment – and that doesn’t just mean “big business.” This example is related to a product-oriented business, but the same holds true for service businesses; just the details change…
- The Product Development Team launches a new product or announces an upgrade.
- The Marketing Department works with Product Development to gather all the specs and features and benefits of the new product.
- The Marketing Department works with an Ad Agency to create a new marketing/advertising campaign to tell the world about this great new product.
- The Ad Agency presents a fabulous campaign to the Executive Team and Marketing Department.
- The new product/upgrade is launched and then the Sales Team is given all the details – specs, features, benefits, marketing materials – to go out and sell!
- The Sales Team is given numbers to hit and goals to reach – and they do their best to succeed.
What’s the problem with this process?
The sales team is brought in after the fact and never had any part of the messaging process. Even if the agency builds a “blow-them-out-of-the-water” campaign, there is likely a gap in what Product Development, Marketing and the Agency created.
It’s the salespeople who are on the street listening to questions, addressing pushback, and uncovering pains. However, products are developed and campaigns are created, without the involvement of the sales team, which has much to offer.
What It Should Look Like
Instead, what if the scenario was flipped a bit? Let’s look at a different version of the process described above…
- The Sales Team keeps hearing the same questions/frustrations over and over again in the field, so they bring that to the attention of the Product Development and Marketing Teams.
- The Product Development Team understands the issue and tweaks the product to address the concerns.
- The Marketing and Sales Teams then work with Product Development to fully understand how to convey the new upgrade to their prospects and customers.
- The Marketing and Sales Departments work together with the Ad Agency to create messaging that will help prospects and customers through their challenges.
- The Ad Agency, along with the Marketing and Sales Teams, presents a fabulous campaign to the Executive Team.
- The new product/upgrade is launched and the Sales Team hits the street, confident they now have a new product (and the right messaging) that is exactly what the market is looking for.
- The Sales Team is given numbers to hit and goals to reach – and they nail it!
What Does This Mean for You?
If you’re in the Executive role, don’t let the typical scenario continue any longer. If you’re in the Sales role, pull together the various teams in your organization and talk through this stuff.
It’ll make the Marketing folks’ job easier when they work closely with Sales. It’ll make your job easier and more effective when the messages and products are in line with the needs of your prospects and customers. Your customers will be happier. And the Executive folks will be pleased with the improved bottom line!