There was always a line drawn between the sales and marketing teams. They have been separate functions in the same companies for a very long time and they both went away and carried out their own tasks without much connection to the other. Each did their own thing and if we are quite honest about it, they liked to blame the other for anything that went wrong.
The marketing team felt as though the provided quality leads and prospects and the sales team did not make the most of them.
The sales team felt as though the leads were not always of high enough quality and they marketing team needed to up their game and give them prospects that were more ‘warmed up.’
But at the other end of all this infighting was a customer. The customer wanted to be looked after by the marketing team and then treated as something to be valued by the sales team. They wanted to deal with a company that was joined up and wanted to build a relationship with them. This is where the sales team have had to change and take on some of the marketing responsibility. Due to changes in the way that sales teams operate, such as account based sales development, the job of a sales professional crosses over with the job of a marketer. Sales professional have become marketers.
What a client wants
Clients want to be able to get hold of you when they need something. They want a quick response to that email they have sent, their own personal contact to answer the phone or their sales rep to speak to them personally. This is all about building relationships and selling solutions rather than the old school style of trying to flog as much as you can. Building a quality relationship with a key account that will last for a long time takes time and effort. It also takes time and effort from more than one person – and that is where the marketing and sales departments need to come together. The average contract now needs to be signed off by an average of over 5 people, so the days of finding the key decision maker and plying them with gifts and entertainment is over. The sales team has to be a part of the marketing effort – the top sales professional has to be a marketer as well.
The top sales teams in the world know how to use elements of marketing to connect to their target contacts in their target companies. It is how they are able to develop a relationship and maintain the big accounts that will continue to make them successful. Forget the order book on ‘The Apprentice’ and how people fight to say that their name is next to that order. The big accounts need several people from your team working hard to develop a relationship with several people in your target company to get that account. Everyone takes the credit.
A changing marketplace
There has been a lot of talk that we are entering the post-information age. Your potential customers will not make their buying decision purely on price or performance as they did in the past. The future is about people buying from the people they know, like and trust. Your product becomes secondary in a lot of ways. What you need to consider is the marketing techniques at your disposal and how they will help you to connect to a client and generate sales. Being a marketer means that your customers deal with you because they like you; they choose to buy because of emotional factors rather than logical ones. Your relationship with a client is paramount when they make a purchase decision. It means that nurturing that customer relationship is the number one priority of a sales professional as they look to keep a happy client and sell more to the same people.
The lines between marketing and sales are becoming more and more blurred all the time. The two functions cross over so much that both sides are having to learn new skills and apply them effectively in order to continue their success. Sales professional have had to become good at marketing in order to make those sales, especially the big accounts that will make a massive difference to their company. If you are able to appeal to what a customer feels rather than what a customer wants then you are far more likely to be successful.