How blurred are the lines becoming between Sales and Marketing?
Sales people are having to become marketers and marketing folk are having to become sales people.
Due to changing buying habits purchasers are engaging with sales people much later in the sales process. Information is much more freely available and buyers can do so much more research and be much more informed earlier in the buying process without having to communicate with the potential vendor.
Sales people Marketing
With all this readiness of information and ever improving communication channels buyers need to engage with sales people less. Time pressures on professional buyers can also be accountable for them having less time to meet with vendors. Because of this, sales people are having to change how they manage their key accounts and new business opportunities.
There are many sales managers and training companies who will focus on improving a sales person’s skills while they are with a customer. But now with sales people spending less time with customers who’s improving how they manage the time in-between face to face interactions?
The time in-between
This is where personal marketing, personal branding and the effective use of social media comes into play. If you haven’t done so already as a sales leader then invest in the development of your team’s social media skills and as a sales person don’t wait for that just crack on with self-learning. If you are already using social media then always be looking at ways to be more effective. Of course, social media isn’t the only way to stay visible when you are normally invisible, messaging platforms, email and the good old fashioned phone! Email should not be your primary contact medium.
A lot of people over use email and default to it but in my opinion email is there to follow up conversations and to share documents Not a chat medium and definitely not as a long draw out e-meeting that could be solved in a a 2 minute phone call. As a general rule if it takes more than 2 emails in each direction then pick up the phone.
The method in this madness is quite simple, take time to get to know your customers using social media and let them see the real you. Build real relationships and invest the time in your customers that validates any investment you will ask from them. It always amazes me how lazy sales people invest nothing in their customers and the relationship and yet are still left dumfounded when they don’t buy. I subscribe fully to the notion that people by from people, but:
People buy from people they trust
People trust people they like
People like people they know
People know people they see
So, step out of the wilderness and into 2017 and get social!
It’s generally accepted now that potential customers will engage with a business later in their buying process but before this they will be absorbing content and researching you.
Marketing now own more of the sales funnel, the sales teams own less but there is more pressure to convert when those opportunities do land in the companies lap.
So, does this mean that your marketing function are now sales people?
I believe so.
The content and contact points of the marketing team have changed and the messaging should replace the early work a sales person used to do so the answer must be yes. In addition, its often the marketing team who are the first point of contact through social and web platform. Having them skilled in handling those enquiries and qualifying them is an asset to your sales team and your business.
Don’t worry marketing folk, don’t go reaching for the polyester tie and faux leather brief case just yet. You are very much part of the team and we do need you leading the charge, educating our customers, engaging with them and helping us sales people be better at all of that too!
If they are not already then your sales leader and marketing leader should be best friends. Their teams can cross pollinate on skills to support each other and when joined up and heading in the same direction they will be the super heroes of your business.
Happy selling and happy marketing!