San Diego, CA (PRWEB) February 11, 2014
Business leaders are increasingly recognizing the need for their marketing efforts to match the urgency of sales. “In marketing, sales is my No. 1 customer,” says Julie Parrish, senior VP and CMO of NetApp. “I have worked to have our teams talk less about brand impressions and numbers of people at events … and more about qualified pipeline opportunities. This simple change better aligns us with sales and gives sales confidence that we ‘get it.’”
“In the organizational structure of most large businesses, there’s a marketing department and a sales department,” notes Jeremy Durant, business principal at Bop Design, a San Diego web design agency. “While this separation of activities may be necessary for reporting reasons, it often leads to confusion and tension between the two departments.”
Marketing has a broad agenda in its responsibility to the business. This agenda includes:
Sales, on the other hand, has a much narrower focus. Salespeople are charged with cultivating customer leads, qualifying those leads, managing a sales pipeline and remaining focused on the key touch-points that move a qualified lead to a buying customer.
But, regardless of the difference in scope, both sales and marketing share the same objectives: satisfying customers and growing revenue for the business. So it’s essential to close the gap between these two departments and enable them to work together toward these common goals.
Durant outlines four tips for bridging the gap between marketing and sales:
Start speaking the same language. “In your organization, is there common agreement on what constitutes a ‘lead’? More importantly, does everyone agree on the definition of a ‘qualified lead’?” Make sure a consensus exists on these critical terms, then shift marketing activities towards developing comprehensive target customer profiles and accumulating information on key decision-makers within the target audience. If sales pursues individuals who lack the power to buy, their efforts are wasted and they end up distrusting the marketing team that sent them down the wrong path.
Create a jointly developed plan. “Amazingly, many companies spend vast amounts of time and effort creating a strategic plan but never getting input from their sales departments,” Durant says. “Who else has more intimate knowledge and front-line experience of the customer than your sales team?” A more effective approach involves sales and marketing creating a sales funnel plan that lays out every step of their customers’ buying process and the best ways to reach out and influence those customers.
Measure activities and results. Encourage sales and marketing to revamp their analytics and to develop agreed-upon metrics to measure the outcomes of the marketing and sales process.
Invite marketing staff to “walk a mile” in the sales team’s shoes. Often, the tension between sales and marketing arises from a simple misunderstanding of how a salesperson operates. One solution to this problem is to have members of the marketing team (from the top executive on down) spend a day or week with sales reps. See how they make contact with customers, develop leads, follow up on calls, etc.
“There’s probably no better way to learn just what information salespeople require as they work to influence the buying process,” Durant says.
It’s worth emphasizing the depth of customer knowledge a good sales rep has. They know what works with targeted customer and what falls flat. Says Durant: “Within your organization, it should be made easy for sales to share this vital information with marketing and, armed with this knowledge, for marketing to give sales every tool possible to succeed in the field.”
Bop Design is a San Diego web design and development agency with offices also in Orange County, CA and the New York metro area. Specializing in B2B marketing, Bop Design creates holistic marketing plans geared toward lead generation and business development. Bop Design offers services in branding, logo design, website design and development, responsive web design, SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing. http://www.bopdesign.com.