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Does your marketing department have Locked-In Syndrome?

Chris Field
Chris Field

Here’s a radical idea: marketing should stop working for sales.

In too many companies, marketing continues to act like a maid of all work – little or no status, required to do all the jobs that no one else wants to do, given less financial resources than the industry average, and directed by people who have no real understanding of (and therefore little respect for) what it can achieve.

This is not a criticism of sales; it can only ever conclude that marketing is not really important because it never actually brings in any business, or if it does but it will never get the credit. And yet, here we are with sales calling the shots, but staffed with people who have limited industry knowledge, virtually no contacts, and quite possibly a limited understanding of the new sales cycle, which is changing the role of both sales and marketing people and practice.

I don’t kid you or myself that marketing can simply reinvent itself without support from above. That support may not be coming soon or ever, so maybe it is all down the marketing to go it alone; to break free of the Locked-In Syndrome felt by being values as second best to sales. If we are faced with this scenario, here is how I would go about it, in a bid to convert the sceptics.

#1 Own the knowledge.

Marketing needs to know more about the market than anyone else in the business. Not just have the stats, but to know what they mean and how to put them to work.

#2 Own the data.

Customer and prospect databases are fundamental to proving marketing’s ROI. Sales doesn’t want to input data into Salesforce, so smile and do it for them.

#3 Own the influencer relationships.

Salespeople generally want to spend most of their time with customers and prospects. As a result, marketing needs to nurture the media, analysts, consultants, academics, industry bodies, even the partners, that can positively influence prospect behaviour.

#4 Own the sales cycle.

If it’s true that users are already 75-80% of the way down the journey before sales gets involves, then marketing is responsible for the lion’s share. This is arguably exactly where marketing plays now – doing all the communication, influence and nurture that gets prospects to lead stage.

#5 Own the content.

Marketing generates the content, that’s a core function, but what you say and how you say it to the market is only half the battle. Great ideas need to be properly supported by and integrated with steps 1-4, in order to create a powerful engine for demand generation.

So let sales sleep zone out during your presentation at the annual sales conference; marketing and its agencies are marching forward and shrugging off the chains. Watch out sales; the lines between you and marketing. We know where it’s heading. Do you?

Let’s break the marketing mould together – call me on 0777 576 0876 to create a communications strategy that fills your sales pipeline.

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