The Saturday Essay: The Sales And Marketing Challenge
Edward Ryder and Holly Arden (Arden Matheson)
Wherever you see the word Sales, it’s often followed by Marketing. You could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a marriage made in heaven.
So why is this rarely the case?
Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to work in marketing, sales and general business, and I’ve reached a few conclusions of my own about the reasons why.
Firstly, culture and vision play a huge role in how Sales & Marketing (plus the business) work together.
Successful companies and teams know where they’re going, and they plan together, which isn’t often the case with Sales and Marketing.
Support is equally important, especially for Marketing in an SME or MSB. If you’re the only person in the team, you’re going to find it tough… especially if your direct line or MD doesn’t understand what marketing can do. Beware: everyone reporting to a ‘Sales & Marketing Director’ isn’t the obvious answer you think it is. Does this person really have both sets of skills?
Your boss doesn’t have to be a marketing expert, but they must be able to set the agenda, give you focus, and help you integrate marketing within the business and sales.
Understanding each other’s roles, and the impact upon business is key. Does your sales and marketing team understand each other’s role, and contribution to the customer journey?
Marketing is a broad subject so it needs to be resourced and structured accordingly. Do you want your team looking at strategy, the website, marketing communications, client analysis, advertising, copy writ-ing, design or something else? What brings the most value?
So, this brings me to structure and process, or how marketing and sales actually work together.
How and where do marketing and sales meet? Do they pose questions to each other, or are they simply reporting on current activities and performance in their allotted 30-minute time slot?
Do they: undertake joint budgeting, strategy development, have shared KPIs and objectives, or work on joint problem solving?
Finally, we come to the budget itself, and how we arrive at a realistic set of figures.
In many cases the budget ends up as follows: we add x% to last years budget, and ask sales and marketing (plus other departments to sign up).
However, this approach takes no account of over-capacity, declining demand, increased competition, or even a growing marketplace and more opportunity?
The budget and forecast is more than an opportunity to set next years figures, it’s the time to galvanise your team around your business objectives, explore new ideas, and as a result increase your chance of hit-ting/exceeding your aims.
6 Key Steps in getting Sales and Marketing working together
Image by Dirk Wouters from Pixabay
1)Ensure you have a clear Vision and Mission for your business, which your teams understand and you underpin with clear support plans.
2)Develop clear Strategic Objectives, as all your team objectives flow from this, especially within Sales & Marketing.
3)Ensure Sales and Marketing have shared objectives and KPIs.
4)Develop your team skills, and ensure they understand each other’s role.
5)Make sure Sales and Marketing build their plan together.
6)Ensure Sales & Marketing have clear structures. Who they report to, what they report on, and when they meet for strategy, innovation and problem solving.