Financially Responsible Marketing

Marketing and sales – joined at the hip – let the dance begin!

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017

The dance of smarketingDid you catch Ben Firman’s recent Globe and Mail article about the never-ending battle between sales and marketing departments?

Sales and marketing have joint accountability and a common goal; one would think that alignment would be inevitable – even easy. Yet the opposite is often the case. Ben described a state of co-operative competition that readily descends into finger-pointing and arguments.

Who takes the budget? The fall? The credit?

Since the turn of the century the term smarketing has been used to describe sales and marketing groups that are fully aligned and integrated. Yet while the term exists, the reality too seldom does. Goals are shared and mutual dependence is real, but the cultural differences between the two groups – the different role and temperament of the players – are often a catalyst for the blame game. Not to mention the organization chart, which reinforces the sense of being in separate groups.

Role of B2B marketing: start the process, draw them in

Marketing paves the path for sales. How?

  • Marketing identifies and addresses the journey, the steps a prospect moves through from initial awareness all the way to purchase.
  • Next, marketing works to create key positive moments at each step of the journey, to bring greater awareness, build engagement, and spark interest.
  • Finally, marketing creates conversion points (e.g. landing pages) to encourage an interested prospect to contact the company and/or provide contact information.

Role of B2B sales: get close to the customer; clinch the deal

Sales facilitates a transaction by addressing a potential customer’s problem through your product/service benefits. Good salespeople build meaningful 1-to-1 or 1-to-many relationships with customers, including managing all the activities related to completing a seamless transaction.

See the interdependence? If marketing doesn’t pave the path well, sales has an uphill battle. If sales doesn’t build relationships well, and address a prospect’s problem through the sparks that marketing has used to build interest, closing rates will fall.

A three-step path to smarketing

Great smarketing involves both sides from the get-go. Here’s a simple 3-step process you can use for your next campaign, or to check against the success of your current one.

 Step 1: Know your target

With the help of sales, marketing needs to invest the time to know who your prospects are. Where do they go to get information they trust? What is their biggest challenge?

Then marketing must ensure that sales has that customer information, plus what options they have to address customer needs. A winning strategy will equip the sales team to deliver the right message through the right medium at the right time.

Always start by looking at your existing customers. You’ll be surprised what you can learn from those who have already done business with you.

Step 2: Define accountabilities

Sales and marketing each use their own approaches to reach their audience. Before you address a customer, make sure you have identified the right action plan and defined the accountabilities. Having a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities ensures that you aren’t spending valuable time, money and energy with overlapping messaging that can confuse and aggravate your customer. Better yet, it also minimizes the irritations that can spring up between your sales and marketing teams.

Step 3: Work to your strengths

Know your strengths and work to them! Typically, sales knows individuals better, while marketing understands how prospects as a whole think and operate:

  • Sales teams have honed relationship skills and know their customers well. This invaluable information must be shared with marketing so they can build messages that resonate with and entice new customers.
  • Marketers know the science behind how to attract prospects. Marketers can also recommend tactics to leverage your organization’s competitive advantages. Again, sharing that information with sales helps them to better engage prospects and customers. Knowing how a customer likes to receive information gives the sales team a better foothold against the competition when attempting to attract and convert a prospect.
  • Marketing can track results (more so every day, in the digital world) and share what works – enabling accurate ROI measurement and the ability to constantly improve.

Keep building that cooperation and interdependence!

The more sales and marketing work as a team, taking collective responsibility for what works and what doesn’t, the less time you’ll be wasting in taking jabs and building resentment. And on the flip side, the greater team spirit and synergy you’ll build.

When you fail, regroup to talk about the why and build a new plan. When you succeed, celebrate together!

“To see a man beaten not by a better opponent but by himself is a tragedy.” – Cus D’Amato