Aligning Sales and Marketing
for Dynamic Growth
By Voss W. Graham
the most intriguing issues that surfaces when working in
organizations is the lack of effort to align sales and marketing.
There are numerous companies that have sales and marketing groups
that refuse to even talk or dialogue with each other. It is equally
amusing that the leaders of these companies do not understand why
their sales results are below expectations. There is a simple
solution – align the sales and marketing teams.
of understanding about the role of marketing leads to commodity
building practices and price cutting activities. Individual sales
people create their own issues and challenges by doing things like:
selling to a non-buyer; selling to the wrong type of customer; and
not understanding what the customer is willing to buy. Marketing
people understand the principle of niche marketing, yet, seldom
educate sales people of what problems their products solve.
Therefore, opportunities are missed as sales people chase the sale
rather than the account.
both sales and marketing are aligned you get a more focused sales
process that is aligned with the buyer’s buying cycle and success is
created. In fact, companies and individuals that have aligned their
sales and marketing practices have experienced significant growth –
both in sales and margins.
example of one individual who has aligned both sales and marketing
is Stanley Mills of Crye-Leike Real Estate. Back in the late 80’s
Stan discovered computers and customer databases. Not only did he
discover these instruments of increased productivity, he embraced
them as a tool to develop relationships with his growing customer
list. Using birthdays and anniversaries and holidays and anything
else that would create a customer contact or touch – he made certain
that his customers remembered him. Most importantly, the consistent
contact created a top of mind awareness – Real Estate equaled
Stanley Mills. His referral business grew to the point that he hired
people to do his administrative work (on his payroll) so he could
sell real estate. Here are four keys for aligning marketing and
Recognize That a Customer Database is One of Your Greatest assets.
used properly, it will provide you with on-going business, trend
analysis, an ideal customer profile and a never-ending supply of
referrals. You must understand that a true customer database is not
a Rolodex file. A Rolodex file is a contact lookup file. A customer
database is an interactive source of new business, trends analysis,
customer opinion source, credibility machine and most importantly –
customer database cultivates both prospects and existing customers.
It can be used to automate the contacts of a prospect or customer –
using different channels of communication. Phone calls, emails,
newsletters, faxes, case studies, testimonials, catalogs, give-aways
and anything else you can create, can be delivered to your customers
or prospects on a regular cycle. This creates top of mind awareness
for you. Your customer or prospect’s mind is a special link for you
Realize that the “Good ole Days” are Gone! You need a process
that can create credibility for you and a business relationship for
finding and developing new business. In the “Good ole Days” you
could walk into a business office and see a buyer or decision maker
and make a sale. At a minimum you could call someone and actually
talk to them on the spot. You could qualify a prospect, get an
appointment, and set up a presentation or showing, or get a sale on
a phone call. Today, you cannot get within a hundred yards of the
corporate building due to fences, gates and guards. And worst, you
cannot call anyone without the dreaded voice mail.
who have aligned their sales and marketing efforts have learned how
to leave effective messages on voice mails that actually get
returned. Additionally, marketing savvy sales people have learned to
leave different messages using customer specific issues to drive a
return phone call. Then there is also the email issue. Email boxes
are now protected by “Spam Blockers” that are designed to keep you
away from your clients. You must learn the words that don’t work in
the subject lines for spam filters and the ones that create a
positive count helping get your email into the customer’s inbox.
Put More Effort in on the Sales End: Aligning sales and
marketing requires more sophistication from the sales person.
Because the alignment process is simple, but not necessarily easy,
it requires effort. This effort comes in the form of studying four
areas. The first area is studying your profession. As a professional
it is a given to study sales if you are in sales; study management
if you are a manager; study marketing if your job is marketing.
Learn what is new and what trends are “in play” in your profession.
second area of study is learning about your industry. You must know
the language; how things work; and what new trends are driving the
market. Look to your trade associations and use the Internet to
research the latest news.
third area to study is business. How do your clients or customers
make money? What business terms are important to you, your boss or
the customer? Business acumen is the term that savvy business people
are using to describe this knowledge base and how to use it in the
field. This is a primary issue for people who are considered
“consultative sales people.”
fourth area of study is your customer. Superior sales people know
more about their customer than the customer knows about himself or
herself. There are several methods to learn about the customer. The
most important method is simply asking questions and listening to
the customer’s answers. Simple is not easy for most sales people
relative to asking questions. Why? Because they are too busy talking
and telling the customer what they need rather than asking good
questions and have the customer participate in the solution.
Become a Business Person that Sells: You can make a major
difference in your sales success when you have the confidence to be
a business person that sells. Business people adopt the YOU concept
by becoming Youthful, seeing the Opportunities that present
themselves to you, and knowing that Understanding is the connection
piece of the puzzle.
yourself or your company into a revenue growth machine. It is
simple. Align the sales and marketing efforts and watch your results
grow and grow and grow.
Read other articles and learn more
about Voss Graham.
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