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Could sales and marketing ever become one?

Chris Field
Chris Field

Don’t be an idiot Chris, of course they couldn’t. Well, of course they could – and here’s why.

The salesperson with a little black book of contacts is almost extinct (me excepted, of course). Most sales people are of an age that they are unlikely to have many contacts, and anyway, most have been educated into expecting marketing to bring them the leads. However, they are still selling, which marketing is not. Yet.

Marketing, meanwhile, has finally reached the Holy Grail – leads with lead scores that reflect number and frequency of interactions. Sales has only to pick up the phone to find out how interested all these leads actually are. Or telesales has a go if the sales team is not up to it.

But how often does the sales team not bother to make the calls? Or flatly refuses to call, because they don’t trust the information?

On one occasion, I threatened to make the calls myself and take the commission on any sales. That got a reaction so I never got the chance, but it did get me thinking…

Once marketing has perfect insight and perfect data on its targets, and once almost all communications are digital, what’s to stop marketing actually making the call? Getting into the pre-sales cycle and then taking commission on the sale, even if the actual deal has to be done face to face, supported by a contracts person?

Now, you can say I’m being rude about sales people, but that’s not true. I’m in sales myself for Fieldworks and I am perfectly happy to have my role disrupted daily by new insights, software, and people who want the world to change faster.

Truth is that what is already happening, whether you agree with me or not is, bigger and better data enabled by a host of new analysis and automation tools will empower switched-on marketers to get real insight into prospects’ entire engagement history and patterns, so that they can make contact at exactly the right moment. It’s the direction of travel for the marketing software industry and nothing will stop it.

We are, as you know, on a mission to remove all the barriers that separate sales and marketing; next stop, we may all be looking for new jobs. Bring it on.

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