B2B Sales & Marketing: The Keys to a Happy Marriage!
While Sales and Marketing are very different operations, it's incredibly important that they work together effectively and efficiently in order to optimize positive results! Neither can be successful in isolation, and when the two are in synch, they become a significant force multiplier. One plus one becomes three or even more!
In a B2B environment, they "overlap" more so than they might in a B2C environment. Why? Because the market tends to be much more finite, and the value proposition is highly refined for a select number of prospects as opposed to mass consumption. The "Go-to-Market" strategy is a very sophisticated one that recognizes and respects the competencies and challenges of the businesses that are being targeted.
Marketing focuses on formulating a compelling value proposition for a given product or service. It addresses the front end of the AIDA cycle (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Acquisition). Building awareness and interest still revolves around producing and distributing the value proposition's message to as many likely prospects as possible. Marketing analyzes the marketplace, recognizes competitive threats, and moves accordingly to put forth the best value proposition possible.
Sales focuses on monetizing the value proposition, overcoming objections and obstacles in the process. Sales address the "back end" of the AIDA cycle, gauging and enhancing a potential customer's desire to buy and converting that desire into an actual acquisition--getting the signature on the dotted line. Having a well- established and clearly stated value proposition to start this process is critical to success!
The value proposition is the common denominator that ties Marketing and Sales together. Both parties have a serious stake in this item--it's the centerpiece of their collective efforts. Given that reality, it's quite important that any activity that pertains to the value proposition is owned by both parties and not just one or the other.
Formulating a value proposition in a vacuum is non-starter. Too often, Marketing will come up with one that makes perfectly good sense to that operation, but has little relevance to the marketplace that Sales encounters every day. Sales is then saddled with a product/service that is not positioned for optimal results. And that's based on a simple lack of communication and coordination regarding the Go-to-Market strategy.
Ideally, Marketing and Sales work together seamlessly! In the best scenario, it's almost impossible to figure out where Marketing stops and Sales starts or vice versa. The two operations are coordinated, and totally aware of the needs and objectives of the other entity. This requires managers who see the bigger picture, and realize that being "territorial" about their respective operation is a recipe for poor results or even disaster!
Marketing and Sales working together should be a circular process as opposed to a linear one. What makes the relationship circular is that sales serves as a "feedback loop" to marketing, providing "real world" insights on product/service acceptance, customer experience and competitive information, among other important pieces of data. That body of feedback is internalized by Marketing in order to refine and improve the offerings as needed.
The marriage of Marketing and Sales should be blessed and stressed by top management. Savvy CEO's expect these operations to work together effectively and will hold them accountable for doing so. It's a necessity not a luxury. Quite often, we hear that Company "X" is "marketing driven" or that Company "Y" is "sales driven." In both cases, one entity is dominating at the expense of the overall health of the company. Sharing the power to develop and sell a company's products and services is the key to success!
About the Author
Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He started in the mailroom at CBS, but quickly moved on to selling locally at KABC/Los Angeles and nationally for ABC Spot Sales in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Buff then continued on to spend almost 12 years with Univision, first as General Sales Manager at KUVN/KSTR in Dallas, and then 5 years in New York as SVP/Sales.
Buff believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!
Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.