28 Aug SALES AND MARKETING: 4 BASIC TIPS ON HOW TO WORK TOGETHER
GIB FENNING, PRINCIPAL, FMG
“Did you hear about the time the salesman and the ad guy walked into the bar?”
The punchline to that dumb joke is often – “that would never happen.” As a life-long ad agency laborer, I’ve seen my share of barroom brawls between the new, incoming agency and the established, accomplished sales team. The sales team didn’t become established and accomplished overnight. They worked very hard for years to learn their craft and know their product. So it’s no surprise that the brand new agency has some dues to pay before they can demand the same type of respect, right?
Well, that really depends on how everyone defines the value they each bring to the table. To state the obvious: sales is direct, intimate human contact and relationships. Marketing is mass, non-human, artfully scripted outreach – that is, with the exception of social media marketing. Marketing is a big part of the means, and sales is the end.
I’ve been reading a number of articles about how sales and marketing can work more efficiently together. There are a lot of words used – collaboration, trust, honesty, sharing, and a butt load of CRM software modules. I tend to like to start with some more concrete ideas that have led to success for me in the past:
- I start with my golden rule: marketing works for sales. A sale is, after all, the ultimate goal. Every single tool in the marketing playbook should end at some point in a sale. From redemption and direct marketing all the way out to the mysteries of branding – sales is the goal. This tact, for me, tends to shift everyone’s thinking in the right direction.
- Marketing communications will not be successful without ample support from the sales team. The sales team are a leading day-to-day experts on the competition, market conditions, the product and the prospects. The strategic importance of this information suggests that the interface between sales and marketing should be an experienced senior sales expert rather than the most junior member of the department.
- Collaboration should be compensated. With the unpredictable economy, sales and marketing departments are shrinking. People have to wear a lot of hats. Regular meetings, information exchange and sales/marketing collaboration need to be outlined formally in job descriptions and performance reviews.
- Keep data exchange simple and meaningful. Website visits, Facebook “likes” and clicks are not nearly as interesting as prospects, leads and conversions. And – very important – define a shared definition of the following basic words – conversion, lead, prospect, existing customer, and lead source.
That’s all pretty basic. But it’s amazing how much time we all waste on the downstream problems that occur because we haven’t addressed the basics.