In the last decade, we have entered into a new era of selling. This has affected all areas of sales, including the sales team, the marketing team, sales management, technology and software systems, and most importantly, it has changed the way buyers buy. In order to keep up with these changes, David Meerman Scott, interviewed by John Golden, explores sales and marketing convergence.
In this expert sales interview, learn about sales and marketing convergence, as well as:
- The history of sales and marketing
- The updated sales process
- Why content creation can be a powerful tool
- Two hurdles to overcome in today’s selling
History of Sales and Marketing:
Historically, the marketing team’s job was to generate sales leads. After finding potential customers, they would pass the customer on to the sales team, who would take the buyer through the rest of the sales cycle. The marketing team worked at the top of the sales process funnel, and sales worked through the middle and end stages. But, the way that sales and marketing teams work together has changed substantially in the last decade. This is partially because of the abundance of information that buyers have access to. Sales organizations have had to adapt to the way that buyers research products and services.
The Sales Process:
The idea between sales and marketing convergence suggests that sales and marketing teams need to work together, throughout the entire sales process. Instead of splitting up and working on individual pieces of the process, the two groups work together to take the buyer throughout the whole process. “Today, its marketing’s job to be responsible for the entire sales funnel, and its also salespeople’s job to understand how they can be responsible for the entire sales funnel,” said Meerman Scott. For example, a marketer can be thinking about the kind of content they can create that will not only drive people into the funnel but will be responsible for pushing people further and further down the funnel. Salespeople have the potential to find leads and work at the top of the funnel. For example, if they’re active in a LinkedIn group that relates to a product they sell, they might message someone that ends up doing business with their company.
Content creation can be much more powerful and valuable today than ever before. But, there is a caveat. The people who create the content have to understand that the material has to be designed for buyers and focus on the problems buyers face and help them solve the problems. This is contrary to what most organizations do, which is to create content around what their products and services do, which is not the primary interest.
Hurdle #1: Sales Managers
There are two significant hurdles and detriments that companies sometimes face when trying to bring their company into the modern era, and truly embrace the convergence model. The first is in the sales management arena. Most often, sales managers get promoted from successful salespeople. This has some benefits, but the drawback is that it has sometimes been over a decade since the sales manager was selling. “When they were a successful salesperson, selling was different because buying was different. We didn’t have access to all of this content, and neither did buyers,” said Meerman Scott. “Sales management can be a detriment to the convergence model, and an organization’s ability to implement it successfully.” This is because some managers are insistent that things being done the way it was previously.
Hurdle #2: Sales Software
The second hurdle is outdated sales software, like sales force automation tools, customer management system tools, CRM systems, and sales automation systems. Many software tools were developed 5 to 10 years ago, and they aren’t optimized for today’s sales strategies. The tools that salespeople use (or sometimes don’t use!) should be relatively recent so that you can utilize a modern system for new selling.
About our Host:
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.
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