Balancing The New-Age Sales And Marketing Relationship

Author

Mike Templeman, Contributor

September 4, 2015

Marketing technology is growing at a rapid rate. And that growth is causing it to infringe on the areas of the funnel that used to be the domain of the sales team. For instance, a remarketing campaign can continue to market to a potential customer even after the sales person has initiated contact. Similarly, marketing automation is also a technology that continues to touch the client, through email campaigns, even after the sales team has laid claim to them.

Because of this blurring of the lines between these two groups, there can often be some feelings hurt or toes stepped on. But the advancement of marketing technology doesn’t appear to be slowing and, if anything, will continue to automate processes that at one point were the within the sales team’s responsibilities.

To avoid conflicts and ensure a happy relationship between sales and marketing, some companies are coming up with ingenious ways of managing the two groups. One such company is Weave, a SaaS communications platform focused on verticals with high-touch customer service, relationship building, and revenue generating needs. Their Vice President of Marketing, Deon Lewis was kind enough to sit down with me and discuss how his team is tackling this common issue.

Deon spent 20+ years in both smaller and multi-national ad agencies in Atlanta, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City before joining Weave.

Setting Expectations And Putting It In Writing

Deon’s background in agency work taught him the benefits of getting an agreement in writing. Whenever there are vagaries, one party usually has an uneven view of the relationship. To avoid this happening with his marketing department and the company’s sales department, he established a service level agreement between the two groups.

In this contract they stipulated how many leads the sales team would need, what quality the leads would need to be, and how the sales team would properly handle these leads in order to achieve the best possible conversion rates.

By having this in writing, there is always a document that both groups can refer back to whenever there is a disagreement or question on the process for lead handling and lead generation.

Sharing Information Freely

The next thing Deon did was ensure that had a liaison between the two groups. In fact, the member of his team that interacts with the sales group is themselves a former sales agent. So, they have insights into both departments.

This allows the marketeering team to understand the challenges and needs of the sales team and have those needs communicated in a way that the marketing team can help alleviate them. They’ve also established set times for reporting and discussing the current status of both the marketing activities and the sales activities. These meetings are safe zones where information can be shared without the fear of conflict or argument.

A Trained Sales Team

Another step that Weave has instituted is the sharing of all marketing materials with the sales team. This ensures that when the sales team receives a lead and it contains a tag that describes the campaign it came from, the sales person will know what materials attracted that lead to the company and what they’re journey has been up to that point.

He also gives a lot of credit to a well-trained sales team and understands that they really are the critical point of contact for the client when it comes to a yes/no decision.  Therefore, he puts limits on his marketing team’s reach in order to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.

In Deon’s words:

“I think that the depth of marketing’s journey into the funnel needs to have its limits and they need to be clear. Because there is, and I believe always will be, the need for sales people who can intuitively take the information that can now be provided by marketing and turn that into a very conversational sale. It becomes more about marketing providing the right types of information to the market and then stepping back so that salespeople can identify what information the prospect feels is relevant to her/his needs and then use it to find common ground to have a conversation about the product and how it will help improve the life/work life of the prospect. “

Where Is Marketing Going?

I couldn’t help but pick Deon’s brain on the current state of marketing and how it compares to the “Mad Men” era, considering he’s already experienced over three decades of marketing evolution.

“What’s changed is consumers of products (B2C or B2B) can have greater insight and more to say about how they are marketed to. During the Mad Men era advertisers beat their chest about their products and people believed it.

Consumers now feel more empowered to decide what they will or won’t participate in, what they will believe or not believe, what they will allow or become an activist against.

What has stayed the same is that people still have the same needs, wants and desires they did back then and they may even be more intense. People are still people. Between their opportunities to be more in control and their intensity to have stuff, make life better or take advantage of technology there are even more opportunities for new and expanded products and services.”

Someone Always At The Wheel

As the sales and marketing technology landscapes continue to grow, it’s apparent that there will be times when the delineation of the two departments will become difficult to identify. However, as long as there are systems, and experienced individuals, in place to manage the relationship between to the two organizations, a company can experience harmony and a great deal of synergy between the efforts of sales and marketing.

This article was written by Mike Templeman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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