Archive for April 2011

You wouldn’t want an army fighting for you if their approach was to throw bullets? Nor, I guess if their guns fired blanks. But this is exactly how many companies let their sales & marketing departments work. Let me explain…

The marketing department are responsible for ammunition and defining the targets. For ammunition read sales collateral: the web site, brochure, direct mail item, case studies etc. For targets read market or sector: that is the customer profile or segment definition.

Surely, the better defined the target and the ammunition the more effective you would think the organisation should be? Wrong!

The sales department (and by this I pretty much anyone who has client contact) are responsible for using the ammunition generated by marketing at the appropriate targets. They need to understand at what point in the sales process a particular item is used and how. Does the full brochure go out after an initial email enquiry or is it better to use the “thank you” email with some additional qualification questions? During the first client meeting is it better to focus on the case studies leaflets or show the company presentation?

I’ve witnessed a poorly trained sales team stuff every piece of quality marketing collateral (product brochures, company profile, case studies, samples, technical literature, CD presentation and price list) into a single (bulging) envelope and send it off in response to a general enquiry. And this in a market where the sales cycle is 12-18 months long! I’ve also seen a pretty¬†knowledgeable and competent sales organisation having to rely on a black and white A4 photocopy of a 2 page brochure to break into a ¬£10K product into new market.

Clearly both sales and marketing need to have an understanding of each others role and how they best integrate to increase each other’s effectiveness. Sales need to be trained in the why, how and when of the sales collateral and marketing need to understand the sales process and customer journey to provide relevant material for sales to use at each key stage. If the marketing department are doing a great job, but not handing over their ammunition to sales in an informed way – sales may end up just “throwing the bullets” at the target. Sales need to be trained in how to properly use the ammunition.

Likewise if the sales department are great weapons experts, can aim at the target whilst doing a dozen other things, but marketing have provided poor collateral – sales end up “firing blanks” at the target. Marketing need to understand how to create effective ammunition.

Worst case of all is when both sales and marketing are doing a bad job. The end result is that blanks are thrown at the customer. Not very effective eh?

So, please ensure that sales and marketing are integrated within your organisation in order to get the biggest bang for your bullet.