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We Caught ‘Em, You Skin ‘Em (The Saga Between Marketing And Sales — Part 2)

by David Brock on August 18th, 2014

In my last post, I outlined how buying has changed.  I created a case for engaging our customers differently, more effectively.  But what’s this mean for what marketing and sales actually do?  How do we work, together, to engage our customers more effectively?

Marketing and sales can no longer work separately, but must collaborate in facilitating the customer buying process.  Those things we relied on in the past—strong brands, great products, competitive price/value proposition are now table stakes.

Now the differentiator is the customer buying experience—how marketing and sales engages the customer together.

So what does this mean to marketing and sales?

  1. We have to be ruthlessly focused and selective about whom we chase.  We can’t afford to cast a wide net, chasing every customer that fogs a mirror.
  2. Marketing, with product management, has to point sales in the right direction by answering two fundamental questions:  What problems are we the best in the world at solving?  Who has those problems and how do we find them?
  3. Marketing and sales must start engaging those customers in new conversations.  The conversations can’t be about our products/solutions, but rather about the problems the customers are might be facing.  We have to recognize these problems may be latent—that is the customer may not even be aware of them.
  4. Marketing facilitates these conversations through creating awareness, and visibility with target customers.  Whether it’s content, thought leadership, participation in social channels.  Marketing equips sales to have the conversations with customers through use cases, business justification tools, materials/training to help sales people have Insight Based conversations and other things.
  5. The conversations need be more focused—on role/persona, industry, company.  Ultimately, we must move from conversations of one to many (e.g. advertising) to one to one –led by a business knowledgeable sales person.
  6. Sales must have the skills to engage the customer earlier and differently.  They must be able to speak, as business peers, to executives about their markets, industries, competition, and business strategies.  They must move beyond understanding needs, to creating awareness and compelling needs to change.  They must have the organizational savvy/nimbleness to help the customer organize themselves, deciding they must change, and then helping them figure out how to buy.
  7. Together, we must ruthlessly focus on those customers and prospects in our sweet spot, not being diverted by others.
  8. Together, we have to offer leadership and differentiation through the entire customer buying process, including that time before they decide they must enter a buying motion.

The “new world of customer engagement,” has forever changed the roles of marketing and sales.  “We catch ‘em, you skin ‘em” no longer works.  Our fates and our work efforts are totally intertwined.  Collaboration is no longer an option, it’s mandatory for our success.  There is no longer the marketing process followed by the sales process.  The marketing and sales processes are completely intertwined.

To be successful, we must work together, we have to be nimble and adaptable in handing off to each other, in adapting what we do to engage the customers more effectively.

Today’s marketing and sales teams begin looking a lot like top NBA teams.  Each person on the team has their defined role—guards, center, forwards.  We have plays and know how to run the plays.  We know how to work together, how to get the ball down the court, how to pass the ball from player to player.

Most of all, we know how to be nimble and adaptable in the game.  We know how to get the ball to the open player.  We know how to get the ball to the person best capable of taking the shot (can we imagine that marketing might actually get the order?).  Most of all, we know our success is based on our ability to work as a team!

This post originally appeared in SAP’s The Customer Edge.

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