When Sales & Marketing Communicate Effectively, They Will Succeed.
Never has a marriage between two groups in an organization been more important than that between Sales and Marketing. It is a match made in heaven. Isn’t it? On one hand you have the sales group that is given the responsibility of building direct and indirect customer relationships that result in sales revenues and profit. On the other hand, marketing executes the promotional activities, such as advertising, marketing, public relations, web site design, and internet marketing initiatives that support those sales activities and work with the sales team to uncover prospects through lead generating initiatives.
It sounds simple enough. And some brilliant CEO further ensured the successful cooperation of the two groups through invention of the Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Unfortunately, even this measure hasn’t eliminated disharmony between the groups.
To alleviate this problem, let’s first define the type of relationship to which you should aspire – it can be summed up with a few powerful words: Symbiotic, that is, having a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship between two dissimilar persons or groups; Synergistic, which is having an interaction of discrete agencies or agents such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects. (Merriam-Webster); and Aligned, which means situated in a similar direction in support of, or opposed to a party or purpose.
How well the sales and marketing relationship resembles those words depends greatly on how well the groups communicate with each other.
Here are a list of suggestions for the sales and marketing teams to improve their communication and understanding of their roles in building performance and efficiencies for their organization:
- Work together to develop a market segmentation plan that can be used to more accurately direct marketing and sales activities.
- Build cross-functional teams comprising appropriate sales and marketing representatives that focus on identifying, researching and proposing initiatives that help the organization gain competitive advantage (i.e. identify an online competitor/s that is/are eating away at an important niche product market share. Then, develop online and traditional marketing initiatives that make it more attractive for customers to purchase those products from your company, rather than your online competitor).
- Measure and communicate successes and failures as a sales-marketing team. This will actually have the effect of creating more interaction and cooperation.
- Have a formalized information-sharing program. This could be in the form of a monthly field intelligence meeting and/or monthly lunches between key representatives from each group. In this forum, the groups should be sharing results from all relevant initiatives, customer and prospect feedback, competitor activity, SWOT, etc.
- Develop presentations for new initiatives together, rather than separately. The decision-makers will find it difficult to reject well-presented initiatives that are developed cooperatively and carry the support of the sales group.
There are many nuances and very effective initiatives that could be added to this list, as well, but these provide a good starting point for building stronger results.
In conclusion, as important as it is that sales and marketing work together, they must also recognize their separate roles, like those of right and left hands. Those roles are determined by individual talents, education, experience and ambition. Sales professionals don’t typically excel at graphic design. And, marketing strategists don’t corner the market on sales ability.
Only through communication will you determine how to maximize the coordination of your right hand and left.
If you require assistance in developing a team building program that will help these groups communicate and work more effectively together, please contact Danskin Creative Communication, Inc., or Staub Leadership Solutions.
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