Are you in sales? Do you constantly bemoan the efforts of your marketing team for not producing high-quality leads? Are you in Marketing? Do you constantly bemoan the efforts of the sales team for not seeing the potential in the leads you deliver?
The battle between sales and marketing is an ageless one and has caused much friction in companies, both large and small, no matter the industry. I equate the “sales and marketing rivalry” to that of brothers. They know they’re part of the same family. They know that, when push comes to shove, they have each other’s back. But man oh man, they certainly know how to push each other’s buttons!
One thing is for certain: when sales and marketing are on the same page, when the lines of communication are open, and when goals are aligned…it’s a beautiful thing.
For any of this to happen, however, sales and marketing need to agree on what is a lead. And then, after that, what to actually do with that lead.
Leads come in all shapes and sizes, and from a variety of sources. I like to think of the lead process like an apple orchard. Plant a few trees and once the apples grow you pick them. (hence the term, low-hanging fruit). Plant some more trees, pick some more fruit. By the time you’re picking your 3rd or 4th batch of low-hanging fruit, your first tree has sprouted new apples…but higher up in the tree. The ignored apples fall to the ground, and ultimately rot.
The same applies with leads. If you spend all your time chasing the “hot” leads, you may end up killing off some longer-term opportunities. And this is where marketing comes in.
Marketing gathers contacts. Why contacts? Because in my opinion, until they have been fully qualified, they are not leads. You may choose to call them prospects, or opportunities but whatever they are, they are not leads, ready to be handed over to sales.
Marketing is all about nurturing. Marketing is all about watering and feeding those apples until they’re ready to be picked and handed to sales. Marketing nudges these contacts along the sales pipeline, until they are, indeed, opportunities. For some businesses that can take upwards of a year. It’s no wonder sales becomes frustrated. And rightfully so!
Marketing has the expertise and patience to develop the lead generation and nurturing programs that might include things like: webinars, social media, contests, videos, direct mail, telemarketing, etc. Marketing develops the collateral to support the sales process, from datasheets, to whitepapers and case studies. Marketing is there to ensure that whatever the “contact” needs, they can provide it. And, more importantly, if they have truly been working with their sales counterparts, they also understand WHEN, within the cycle, is the best time to actually provide these materials.
I read a very good article recently, called: Average Sales Are Over: Hello Social Selling. It discusses how 70% of sales are completed in the 4th to 10th interaction. If you are regularly engaging contacts and staying top of mind, you are well ahead of the competition. Does that mean that the Sales team should be responsible for a company’s social media efforts? Absolutely not. That still should fall under Marketing’s “domain”. However, in the same way that Marketing will nurture the prospect along the pipeline, Sales needs to begin embracing tactics, such as social media, to develop individual trust and rapport in order to close the deal.
Working together, Sales and Marketing can not only co-exist, they can each thrive and flourish.
I am not a sales person. I tried it years ago (selling print as a matter of fact). I hated it! I couldn’t deal with the rejection. And I have a profound respect for sales professionals. I am a marketer. And I help drive sales.
About Joanne Gore
Joanne Gore has nearly twenty years of marketing and communications experience, including corporate and small office environments. She is a talented and creative marketing professional, always positive and able to see the big picture. She possesses the organization/prioritization skills which allow her to manage multiple projects from inception to implementation, meeting deadline demands and budgetary constraints.
A true mentor, Joanne marries her passion for marketing with clear, creative feedback and inspiration. Joanne develops lead generation and conversion programs, re-brands product lines, implements social media strategies, manages PR and media relations campaigns, overhauls websites, develops highly targeted marketing campaigns, and delivers results.
Joanne graduated as a Graphic Designer and, prior to joining the corporate world, worked in the print industry as an art director, typesetter, and printing consultant. Joanne is a marketing geekette by day, a fitness instructor by night, and a mom 24-7.