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Marketing and sales need each other

Chris Field
Chris Field

It’s been an uneasy relationship for years. Sales often has, and often still does, think marketing is ‘fluffy bunnies’, while marketing accuses sales of not making the effort to understand them – or worse, not acting on the leads they bring in.

Now, we all love Salesforce, the place where sales and marketing are meant to meet, but who can honestly say this meeting of minds happens in their organisation? Even when marketing is the only one creating the leads and verifying them through automation tools, sales still takes all the credit for actually bringing in the business.

Neither has an easy job. I’m in sales but I run a marketing business, and we often argue over whether a particular activity is sales, marketing or both. It can get confusing; is pre-sales really sales or is it glorified marketing? Do I get commission as a marketing guy when I sit on the pre-sales team that then wins the business? (The answer is no by the way)

But in this confusion lies the answer. Sales and marketing, whether they like it or not, are now collaborating in ways that they have never done before.

And with growing competition to deliver high value, long cycle, senior decision maker sales, they both need each other in many ways.

For instance, sales operates at the front end and should be able to gather intelligence on what prospects really want and what they really think. This is invaluable insight for a marketer, who has to build a campaign that might actually show the prospect that the vendor really understand their problems.

In turn, the vendor should be able to initiate and nurture relationships all along the sales cycle in a way that sales simply do not have the time or resources to do themselves. This then makes it easier for them to get in the room with the prospect.

And sales and marketing can collaborate around the growing volumes of data that are coming out of these processes. A well-managed Salesforce can start to reveal some real insights into sales journeys that can be exploited much earlier in the cycle than is usual.

I don’t work for Salesforce by the way, but I see that sales and marketing teams can both operate more effectively to create, nurture and convert leads.

I still don’t expect all salespeople to speak well of marketing; they have their own egos to manage. But I do, for the first time, believe that I can win the argument over the true role of marketing – even with the most hostile sales guy.

If you don’t believe me, then let me ask you, did you meet your numbers last year? And how’s it looking eight weeks into 2016?

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