Integrate Sales and Marketing for the Small Business of Tomorrow
If you’re in sales, you’re likely to have a dim view of marketing – and vice versa. However, small businesses no longer have the luxury of separating these two critical departments across silos, and the cross-pollination of today’s seamless selling environment requires cooperation at a level that would have been unheard of only a few years ago. While many still consider marketing to be “lead generation” and sales to be “revenue generating” or closers, this paradigm no longer holds true.
Chief Marketing Officers
Having separate vice presidents for sales and marketing may soon be coming to an end, as consolidation of the teams becomes a necessity, not a nicety. The dynamics between these teams have always been challenging, but with the rise of Internet sales it becomes more difficult every day to draw a line in the sand between marketing and sales – and the responsibilities for each stage of the customer journey. Today’s B2B buyers don’t need the hand-holding that was expected years ago, and they are even less likely to come into a store than ever before. The rise of Chief Marketing Officers pulls together the sales and marketing aspects of the organization into an integrated whole, with the customer’s experience at the center of the focus.
Once the teams are on the same path, it becomes important to define customers in a way that both teams can agree upon. Looking at overall customer personas and defining what a qualified lead looks like and the handoff of said lead can get a little hairy, as can defining customer pain-points and how to overcome them. Both teams will need to understand that in most cases quality bests quantity, and a qualified lead who is interested and engaged should be treated with kid gloves by all parties. Assuring that the lead generation and follow-up process is quantifiable at every step, both parties should agree on an acceptable level of leads provided and then the follow-up process that should be followed in order to take the customer through the next steps as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The marketing mix has changed significantly over the past several years; going from primarily print marketing, to the upswing in email marketing, through web advertising and social marketing, and now to content marketing. People don’t want to be “sold”, they want to receive an endorsement from friends or family letting them know why something is important. They want to hear from brands that they know and trust about reasons why they should be investigating a new offering. Everything that happens now has to have a direct focus on the customer at the center of the offering – meaning that many traditional sales and marketing tactics are no longer as effective as they had been in the past.
Hand-selling in stores and on the phone is a dying art, because it requires a great deal of time and personal attention in order to complete one sale of varying sizes. However, individual hand-selling is being replaced by mass customization and data-driven marketing tactics – meaning that the hand-selling experience needs to be replicated online for a variety of different individuals and personality types. This requires the tight integration of the sales and marketing teams in order to transfer and extend the knowledge of selling through to replicating that experience of a trusted professional online.
Try integrating your sales and marketing functions by building it on our Business Map first. See what your organization looks like before you act!