Businesses are missing opportunities through a poor alignment of marketing and sales, writes Henry Clifford-Jones, director of marketing solutions, UK, Germany and Spain, at LinkedIn.
Salespeople have the gift of the gab and get all the glory while marketers soak up much needed budget and are out of touch with the customer. While old school caricatures of these roles no longer have a place in today’s organisations, the relationship between the two could still do with some work.
This was the picture painted by recent global research we conducted which found that, while on the whole there is a general culture of collaboration between sales and marketing, there is certainly room for improvement, with the UK in particular lagging behind international peers.
Around three quarters of sales and marketing professionals in the UK, Australia and UA agree that the current relationship between the sales and marketing teams in their business is a collaborative one (compared to 85% in India). So on the face of it, you would be forgiven for thinking that all is well.
But this means that there is also a significant chunk who are not working together. In a digital world, in which sales teams need to create compelling content to create conversations and stay front of mind and where lead generation quickly turns into deal closing across marketing channels, that is a worrying statistic.
And the research data, as well as that from our platform, shows that it is costing businesses financially. Businesses are missing sales opportunities and poor alignment can even have a negative impact on the customer experience.
So, as we make our business resolutions for 2017, here two reasons why I think it’s never been so important for sales and marketing to work more closely together.
We need to all listen to the customer more
As the customer journey becomes increasingly more complicated and with data showing that over five people now need to be convinced to sign off each purchase, it has never been so important for businesses to listen to our customers.
“Cold calling is dead and brands need to create conversations with the people they want to engage with if they want any hope of selling to them”
Great salespeople are the eyes and ears for any organisation, they are up close and personal with customers on a daily basis. Having strong ties between sales and marketing ensures that customer feedback doesn’t fall on deaf ears, but informs the marketing strategy at all levels. It allows marketing teams to flex their campaigns to better fit what a customer is actually looking for or target a more relevant group of people.
With just a fifth of sales and marketing professionals saying that the customer-buying experience is always aligned between the two teams, according to our research, there is clearly more work to be done here.
The rise of the micro marketer
Everyone, from the CEO to the intern, is now a micro-marketer, responsible for promoting and amplifying the brand through the content they create across different channels, whether it’s an update, long form insights piece or sharing something of interest.
And nowhere is this more important than within the sales team. Cold calling is dead and brands need to create conversations with the people they want to engage with if they want any hope of selling to them. Buyers want brands to be informative, insightful and interesting. Salespeople as much as marketers need to understand the role of content and the channels they use to distribute it, both on a personal level and from an organisation’s point of view.
Putting more insights around target audiences, thought leadership content and engagement data in the hands of salespeople will help them develop better relationships and ultimately sell more.
It’s clearly now increasingly tricky to determine where the “marketing” stops and the “selling” begins. With the customer becoming increasingly hard to reach, please and convince, sales and marketing has no choice but to work closely together. The New Year offers the perfect opportunity for a refreshed approach.