Sales and marketing must collaborate for business growth

205b25fa 1784 4474 94de 3d4d3c6457d5
03/11/2020

Marketing has a unique role to play in a business. When used correctly, and at its most powerful, it sits at the heart of an organisation, sharing information across different parts of the company to execute the operational strategy.

An adversarial relationship is out of date, says our Fractional Chief Marketing Officer

Speaking to one of our Fractional CMOs, Michael Clark, based in New Jersey, who specialises in metrics driven B2B enterprise technology marketing, one of the most common inhibitors to growth that businesses have is an adversarial relationship between marketing and sales. Typically, this is a relic of an old-fashioned way of operating. It’s not that long ago that marketing executives would return from a trade show with a box of business cards from people who put them in a bowl to win a new tech toy, presenting them as leads for the sales team While touting their success at the event. 

However, that’s a long way from being a qualified lead, and it’s the job of the marketing team, not sales, to create leads that are really valuable. A modern organisation knows the value of creating a more integrated approach, where sales and marketing both have a vested interest in the end result, rather than simply their portion of the process. Asking the questions that are built on those end results forms the foundation, not only of a marketing strategy but strong, informed and intentional business growth and development.

Michael noted: “It’s about trust and showing that the entire organisation is pulling the same way. Organisations that struggle usually have a situation where the sales and marketing teams are pointing fingers at each other. Changing that requires executive support, so CEOs have a big role to play. I have seen some CEOs foster the wrong kind of competition between the two groups, which is a short-sighted strategy. Everyone has to be on the same page.”

Your organization should not be the hero of your marketing narrative

Getting this relationship right allows information to reach different teams and consequently ensuring that customers get the information they need to buy into your brand. Importantly, this type of communication is integral to achieving one of the core, and often missed, elements of marketing - delivering a message that meets the need of the client.

This leads to the ability to craft value-added content and messaging that really resonates with your market. So often, marketing looks to tell the story of who they are and what they do, but what it should be doing is telling the story of how their clients solved business and technology problems with their help. The problem-solving capabilities of the client organisation should be the hero of the story, not the brand itself. 

Michael says: “Where I see organisations running into challenges, especially in the start-up space, it’s when they don’t listen to customers enough. Often a company will be so excited to say what they have to say, they feel they need to compress and power through the information to get all that content into the proverbial room at once. However, they are better served by understanding the audience they’re speaking to. Take a few minutes to learn why is this something the prospect executive is interested in, then tailor your message to them and that pain point.”

Marketing should be informed by metrics

Whether it’s an in-person pitch or a digital communication will inevitably inform how that information is used. However, in a world where we have the ability to track and monitor the online journey of every client we have an interaction with, we have the tools and metrics available to monitor and customize messaging to meet the needs of the market. Not only that, but your sales team are communicating with clients and potential clients all the time, making them an invaluable resource for feedback.

“The audience doesn’t care what you have done,” says Michael: “they want to know how you can help, or have helped, people like them. The quintessential point is showing how you helped a company like your prospect solve a problem they have, leading to proven, measurable results. That’s how you convert a marketing or digital marketing message into a conversation that may lead to a demonstration of a product.”

More possibilities for targeted marketing and strategic use of talent than ever before 

Of course, this year has seen changes in the way businesses are working, and in turn that has created a shift in the way they communicate internally as well as with their audience. Interestingly, the proliferation of video conferencing could be argued to have created more face-to-face communication than we had 12 months ago where you would have either met in person or simply had a voice call. The benefit of this, especially for B2B marketing, which may involve more presentations and direct communication with potential customers, is the ability to interact, read someone’s mood, and tailor a personalised message.

Equally, in a wider sense, people are interacting with more in-depth content than before. Clients are more prepared to explore online white papers, read blogs and engage with content because they are not going into stores and offices to do that level of research. The result is that the companies who have had the foresight and budget to do interactive microsites allowing them to gather information in conjunction with analytic tools, are seeing a strong return on investment.

This need for far more informed marketing strategies has been around for a long time, but the shift in the way we work this year has made that need far more acute for many organisations. Meanwhile, the work from home culture highlights a need to create different communication channels between colleagues and teams in order to foster cohesive operations - arguably shining a light on longstanding shortcomings. Together, this has opened up the possibility of recruiting expert skill sets, like that of a fractional chief marketing officer, a marketing expert of renown,  to help create a culture where marketing is not an isolated part of the company, but one that’s the heart of the whole organisation, bringing everyone together and working towards the same goal.

Find out more about Fractional CMO Michael Clark

Learn more about how to capitalize on your marketing efforts here