Tougher competition and more demanding customers require a sales and marketing synergy unheard of in the past. These two entities can no longer work apart.
Both groups must work together using all tactics available to make sure they are working towards the same customer focus goals.
Marketing and sales must understand the customer’s business as though it were its own. The aligned organization develops long-term relationships that look more like teams than vendor customer relationships.
Marketing helps differentiate your business by understanding your customer’s business better
Most sales organizations are finding out there is nothing new under the sun in terms of products and promotional campaigns. Now companies must differentiate based on their ability to understand their customer’s business.
Marketing has the tools to acquire the strategic information essential to understanding customer’s needs; such as providing detailed shopper information and insights through POS and shopper analysis.
A typical example − a new product is designed and presented by marketing to sales in a product brochure, sales person is trained to present the product to the customer highlighting its features. The problem is, the perfect product isn’t enough.
Address the problems and the business of your customers
Organizations need to address the problems and the business of their customers. Next, you need to bring value to your customer that goes beyond product offerings, leveraging technology, data and content for the following:
- Faster communication between departments
- Instant access to information − using the web and intranet sites or flash drives that contain the entire company’s literature on your company’s products, market statistics, profiles, case studies and other information
- Help make more effective presentations tailored to your customers
- Creating videoes to deliver rich content like product training, torture testing, plant tours, testimonials, etc. to educate your cusotmer and teams
- Providing responsive customer analysis
Provide a framework for marketing and sales to work together based on a common goal
You need to develop integrated teams that combine people from sales, marketing, technical support and customer service to develop innovative programs. This structure promotes communication between all parties and results in promotions becoming better organized with greater results.
You have to offer a framework for marketing and sales to work together based on a common goal. Not the mission of a functional area or business.
Marketing can develop products that might be very popular, but if they can’t be supported by other divisions of the company, particularly the operational divisions, they won’t succeed. If you segment sales and marketing, you will lose the opportunity to manage projects effectively.
Use this 4 point checklist to put the customer first through sales & marketing alignment
- Only sales people should be talking to the customer, they have to be the point person. If the sales reps understand the customer’s needs, this information can be given back to marketing or the strategy team to develop a particular marketing approach. Clarity of roles is paramount for success.
- Develop a joint sales and marketing plan for each account. Move from selling lots of material to establishing value with a relationship reference and reputation orientation. Marketing needs to offer essential relationship marketing information through content marketing, rich customer data and insights that allow for consultative selling. You also have to get the senior business leaders out of their office to help sales people with high level contacts.
- Expand marketing’s role to using facts to build customer focused programs. While marketing must deeply understand the user, it must also be customer focused by tracking, managing information, and providing targeted programs based on data. It has to move from a one-size-fit-all mentality to developing programs for individual customers. Achieving balance in your focus between the consumer and customer is critical for success.
- Marketing needs to build the bridge to the sales department. In other words, make sales the first customer of your project. Top management must support this collaboration between marketing and sales.
Putting the customer first gives sales and marketing a common goal. One which removes the inherent tension that the two functions. By always returning to the question of “what’s best for the customer,” everyone wins.