Many companies, especially in distribution, have both a sales department and a marketing department. And it seems that, since the beginning of time, the sales division and the marketing division have been operating in different silos. Wait, what?! That can’t be right!
Unfortunately, it is a common situation, and also unfortunate is that this setup almost always leads to problems … problems that add up to mis-communications, finger-pointing, and most importantly, lost opportunities.
The Quick Fix
In a perfect world, the marketing department is focused on attracting potential customers, and the sales department is focused on converting those prospects into cash. In a perfect world, marketing and sales work together to first identify and then pursue targeted leads, and there is no mis-communication, finger-pointing or lost opportunities.
Getting to perfect is a lot easier said than done, so to get your company started, here are some ideas many distribution companies are putting in place right now that are opening the doors of communication and teamwork between marketing and sales, and putting to rest the problems mentioned above.
A Top-Down Message of Support
From the highest executives on down, make clear that your company supports (and requires) a sales and marketing alliance, and that this alliance is being put in place to benefit the company as a whole. A competitive or antagonistic environment should no longer be tolerated.
One way to follow-through with this new mandate is to appoint a liaison between the two departments to coordinate resources and build future strategies. It sounds restrictive, but both the sales and marketing teams will appreciate and embrace each others’ support and partnership.
Partner Up Marketing and Sales When Generating Content, too
When a sale falls through or leads remain cold, does your sales team blame the marketing team for not having the right materials available or not conveying the right message? Often, your marketing team has no idea what the sales team does or needs to do its job properly.
Have your marketers involve the sales team in content development. They’ll learn in more detail about the doubts or objections that sway a customer away from a purchase. They’ll also learn more about which benefits your company offers that tend to open up more doors. Marketing can then develop new content or modify existing content to address those concerns and highlight those benefits.
New content might include pieces that emphasize specific verticals or different methods of delivery such as videos or interactive how-to kits.
The more the marketing team understands about the sales process, the better they can serve that process and contribute.
Re-define What Success Means to Your Marketing Team
Many marketing teams define their standard of success by the number of potential customers or leads they generate. Their activity is often focused on the top of the sales funnel only. Whether those prospects follow-through and actually make a purchase is usually seen as a problem for the sales department to handle.
Eliminate this opposing standard of success and unite marketing and sales by having your marketing team focused on the full-length of the sales funnel.
Start by having them expand their focus and track which and how many leads actually make a purchase, the length of each sales cycle, and where in the sales process the buyer actually pulled the trigger (this is all easily trackable). They should also track which marketing pieces generated the best results during each step of the customer journey (also easily trackable.)
This “return-on-investment” style of thinking results in greater accountability for marketing – as well as less insecurity and blame spreading between marketing and sales. Your marketing team will be able to better define success and have a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not.
Where We Come In
Again, taking steps to align sales and marketing is easier said than done. It’s often a complete paradigm shift inside your company, and it almost always means teaching old dogs some new tricks. Often it involves adding new people to your sales and marketing teams to bridge those deeply formed gaps that have been growing between the two over the years.
But here’s the good news. We can help. Next Level iMedia has a marketing team available to help you bridge your gap between marketing and sales, and set them on a path to success.
We provide executive-level marketing leadership and support that will bring your existing sales and marketing teams together. We’ll assess your unique situation and build a marketing plan that fully supports your sales efforts, tailored specifically to your company and your culture, opening up communication between these two important teams.
We’ll also help you deploy all of your marketing endeavors, both old and new. We’ll even help you acquire any in-house talent required to continue your new sales and marketing alliance successfully. Until that talent is acquired, we can provide our highly-acclaimed “done-for-you” services to ensure you’re continuing in the right direction despite any staffing deficits.
Learn more about how Next Level iMedia can be of service to your organization. Visit our contact page at: http://nextlevelimedia.com/contact