Hi, How Can We Help You?

Have you spoken to your sales team recently?

I recently met with a client to discuss ideas for a marketing campaign that she wanted to launch for a particular offering from her company –an offering for a typical B2B enterprise. Initially we discussed coming up with something different and exciting that would catch the fancy of the target audience to remove the monotony from an otherwise boring offering. However, as we got into the details, a few things became clear. Coming up with something out of the ordinary would have certainly been innovative and different. But the client wanted a quick start and did not have the flexibility of a long preparation period which is essential in such cases. More importantly, a jazzy campaign was likely to end up as a marketing-led one with little or no participation from sales. Ultimately, the sales team has to buy-in completely into a marketing campaign or it to be successful. Finally, we converged on an approach that would be acceptable to sales and help them strike a conversation with the prospective client.

This leads to the important question – what is the objective of a marketing campaign? If it is to draw leads and is more sales-focused, it is a must to involve sales in the conceptualizing and planning of the campaign. Marketing needs to ensure that outcomes can be linked directly to sales activities. For example, every activity in the campaign should focus on how sales can get leads or connect with prospects. If you are unable to show this linkage, there is a pretty good chance of the marketing campaign not reaching its full potential. I agree that getting time from the sales team will not be easy, however, the marketing team’s internal customer is the sales team and so all efforts have to be taken to get them involved.

Similarly, even if the objective of the campaign is to create brand awareness and increase mind share – it is still important to connect with sales or field persons to get their perspective. If they are included in the initial parts, such a campaign is likely to resonate with the sales team’s view of the market and they are likely to use the artefacts from such a campaign more. I have seen the opposite happen at a client’s place. The marketing team which was trying to build brand awareness was unable to connect with the sales force owing to lack of bandwidth and pretty much operated in silos. Consequently, a lot of hard work was squandered because there was no real synergy in the objectives of sales and marketing. Marketing needs to enable sales and if there are no regular conversations, the outcomes are unlikely to be impressive and efforts frittered away.

Think about it – what has been the approach of your marketing team so far? What have been the outcomes? How could they have been different? Do share your experiences.

(This blog first appeared on www.prayag.com)