I wrote this article over three years ago, and to my surprise, it is still up-to-date. Three years ago my opinion was that the time of traditional roles of sales and marketing was undeniably over. Nevertheless, I feel that this model is still deeply rooted. In our customer projects the top priority is filling that gap between sales and marketing.
Personally, I am glad to see that the evolution of customer segmentation has finally commenced. I refer to the change in b2b-organizations that have started doing customer segmentation based on the customer’s buying behavior. The current way of segmenting is more about processes than classifications and buyer personas.
I recommend all B2B expert organizations to straightforwardly reflect over segmentation using three variables,
1) SELL AND SERVE: Keep a strong personal presence, network and be proactive. Answer questions before they are asked by customers
2) HELP TO BUY AND ASSIST: Create a personal bond, but take advantage of all digital channels in both sales as well as managing the customer lifecycle
3) AUTOMATE: Build a process where marketing, sales and delivery are genuinely in all channels and automated, but customer-oriented at the same time. The customer won’t do business twice after a negative experience
If you are about to create or renew sales processes, or even narrow the gap between sales and marketing, start with advice number two. The measurement might seem to be the most difficult, but it is nevertheless the best place to start. It is challenging partly because it is a part of building your brand. The measurement itself has clear guidelines, and especially sales need to internalize that.
We at Kaksio Labs are happy to help, so do not hesitate to contact us!
The original and unfiltered blog post, originally published 12.1.2016.
"No one needs marketing!”
From time to time I have conversations about what a company’s most important function is. Typically these conversations arise when a company is facing challenges. During a possible threat everyone are trying to emphasize the value of their personal contribution. Production argues that they are the most important resource of the company, because without them there is nothing to sell. Sales say that without them there is no need for production. Without marketing there are no opportunities for sales to sell.
I can agree that no company needs marketing. Revenue is the only thing a company needs.
Businesses would stop marketing, if revenue would grow without it. Cutting marketing would increase profitability as well.
The relation of sales and marketing is like any other long-term partnership. Sometimes you walk hand in hand, occasionally you increase the distance. You have your own accounts and a shared budget. Periodically it is only important to look good on the outside, despite of your disagreements.
The following path you shall be called the cyclical relationship evaluation of (B2B) sales and marketing.
The task of sales is to sell. The task of marketing is to create content and events, as well as ensuring that the product/service/brand is known, in order to open up opportunities for sales. Both have their territories and see their own roles as essential for the business.
Sales and marketing are operating in different sections of the organization with different metrics.
You detect synergy. Sales have the ability to inform marketing about specific needs. Aided by feedback, marketing can better picture customer needs and how to generate the best results. Marketing also measures lead generation, but sales and marketing have different perceptions of what a lead means. Both appreciate each other’s input for the big picture.
Organizationally different people are in charge of sales and marketing and communications, but the interaction is active.
Sales goes ahead and operates as an entity of its own again, because it has become consultative and value creating. In the know-how of sales the emphasis lies in understanding the customers business first, and own products are secondary. The role of marketing is emphasized in building the brand and executing adhoc -tasks given by sales. Opportunities are created with a good brand and skilled sales. Sales does not see the essence of marketing’s existence. Marketing on the other hand loses it when sales go rogue, giving the customers an incoherent picture of the company, which in turn endangers the brand image.
Sales, marketing and communications are managed by the commercial executive. This is more about organizational structures aiming for efficiency, rather than a genuinely synergic model of operations.
You get a hunch of the client - an understanding to turn around the company’s self-centered sales process in order to ease the customer’s buying process. Sales and marketing produces together benefits for customers and shares information to alleviate the decision to buy. The company’s brand is built around the skilled personnel. The quality of the service is enhanced when deliveries are successful. It emphasizes the picture of a customer-oriented actor, and that is a story that can be used. Head of Sales become Head of Marketing (and vice versa), they will have the ability to help the customer to buy.
The meaning of internal organization models are secondary, because operations are led through the customer.
According to a study made by the Aberdeen Group*, companies that have built a strong bond between sales and marketing have reached up to 20 % revenue growth yearly. Joint goals and reward models and a coherent vision of the sales pipeline can be considered as the essential construction materials to create that bond between sales and marketing.
The sales pipeline should not only be seen as the probability calculation, but as a shared journey to create customer experience. In that journey each contact point is meaningful and everyone has a role that supports the other’s.
No one needs marketing. However, there is a new time is emerging, where sales and marketing have to be inseparable. A loyal customer is the driving force of all operations. A happy customer is not enough, because it does not necessarily mean that he or she will buy again. It is therefore up to everyone to keep the customer loyal. No one is more important than the other when it comes to that.