In our recent series on Marketing and Sales Alignment, we’ve discussed many ways in which Marketing and Sales can work as a cohesive unit, instead of in traditional isolation and (often) conflict.
A recent article in Harvard Business Review entitled Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing pointed out that a case can be made for two marketing units instead of one. The first unit would be the more traditional one that deals in broad market statistics, changes, needs and wants, engages in broad promotional efforts and assists product development. The second would work closely with sales to support its efforts through the sales process.
Carrying the concept of two units within marketing forward, the first marketing group could be referred to as strategic as it is working on the broad longer-range view. The second might be seen as tactical as it is operating more “on the ground” and rapidly evolving shorter-term solutions and assistance to sales cycles.
This second unit could also be referred to as a Sales Marketing Group and has a key role in Marketing and Sales alignment.
Sales Pipeline Assistance
A Sales Marketing Group would be one that is
- a) monitoring the sales pipeline for areas in which sales reps may need marketing assistance
- b) in regular communication with the sales force so that the reps can request particular materials
On a regular base the Sales Marketing Group makes available collateral materials that are helpful to specific stages of the sales process. With a leading-edge CRM solution, these materials can be placed right in the pipeline stages to which they apply, so that a rep can simply click and send to a prospect. Because the Sales Marketing Group is regularly interacting with the sales force, these materials can be modified as needed for improved effectiveness.
Such materials would include case studies in which your product or service has been an effective solution to issues companies in your industry normally encounter.
The Sales Marketing group would also create collateral materials that address particular issues a customer or prospect is having, for a single or particularly profitable sales cycle that your company’s product or service would solve. These could include case studies of companies similar to the one being sold.
Social media has become an important part of a company’s marketing and sales efforts—and the Sales Marketing Group should be an integral part of this strategy. The Sales Marketing Group could monitor social media platforms, engage with potential prospects, gather information and forward any potential leads to the sales force.
With the Sales Marketing Group working hand-in-glove with the sales force, the Sales Marketing Group will be regularly hearing prospect and customer opinions about the company’s products and services, and desires for future features and versions, directly from sales reps. This data should be fully recorded and forwarded to the strategic marketing group, for use in materials and product development consultation, sales lead qualification and lead management. It should also, of course, be utilized for the materials that the Sales Marketing Group itself is creating.
As the Sales Marketing Group interacts with prospects and customers in social media, this same type of information will be available through those channels, as well. Where appropriate that information should be gathered, utilized and forwarded as needed by both marketing and sales.
Members of the Sales Marketing Group can also meet directly with prospects and customers, separately or along with sales reps, for the purpose of gathering market research data. Marketing staff rarely if ever come face-to-face with a company’s intended customer base, and there is factually no substitute for it. This activity would, of course, be in full coordination with the sales reps so there would be no interference with in-progress sales.
CRM Solution in Marketing and Sales Alignment
As does the sales force, the Sales Marketing Group will need an intuitive, flexible CRM solution in order to effectively accomplish its mandates. With the right CRM application, the Sales Marketing Group and the sales force can truly act as one unbeatable team.
In meeting the tough sales goals for the twenty-first century B2B sales environment, marketing and sales alignment must occur. One effective way to do that is to create a separate Sales Marketing Group.
How can CRM best be utilized for sales and marketing alignment? Find out! Sign up for one of our free webinars.