While far from a new problem, in the era of social marketing, such a weakness is potentially disruptive and costly. When so many companies acknowledge that developing targeted, relevant content can help attract customers, some companies still refuse to tap the one source that knows what’s actually happening on the ground.
Attention Marketers: You Don’t Know EVERYTHING
Here’s the thing. Marketing serves a vitally important function, but it does not have all the answers. Far from it. And, honestly, how can it? Its inputs derive from the company leadership, product development, competitive analysis and customer and industry trends.
Anyone who thinks that all the solutions to a company’s marketing strategy can be constantly cooked up in a lone office is either overworked, over confident or overlooking the obvious.
Here are three reasons why an ongoing marketing /sales dialogue is crucial.
Deeper Insights. There might be an issue your customers are thinking and talking about right now that is crucial to their sales and revenue. The good thing is that your sales people know about it. The bad thing is that you don’t. Imagine the rewards you could reap if you were addressing that issue that went to the core of your customers’ pain and that your company understood it and shared insights on how to solve it? How much long term good will and potential revenue are you missing out on?
Info Alignment. Marketers are generally measured on producing deliverables –brochures, white papers, ads, and so forth – even if none of that activity results in measurable financial impact. Aligning what “stuff” works for what stage the prospect is in the sales funnel does two things:
1. It puts a microscope on the kinds of support and sales materials that will help move the prospect to a customer, cutting down on useless and costly materials; and
2. it arms sales people with the right piece of information at the right time to supply useful and relevant information to drive the process forward.
Working From The Same Page. A perennial rant from sales is that it believes marketing doesn’t listen to what it needs and delivers materials and messages it doesn’t want. Message to marketing: don’t ignore sales, involve them.
Sales knows what resonates with customers, and how to best communicate it, so what better way to improve your marketing and messaging by routinely bringing them into the process of coming up with ideas/angles? Marketing will get valuable inputs and sales will get useful, valuable and timely “stuff” they really want.
So many channels and mechanisms exist, from email to Twitter, to communicate mission critical information rapidly and regularly. Developing two-way access between sales and marketing will not only promote better communication, but ongoing trust. This cultural shift, while not easy, is essential.
Marketing and sales shouldn’t be treated like two separate operations; they are simply two parts of a bigger process. When you connect the two, good things happen for the entire organization.