Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Marketing and Sales: A New Chapter

By Nuno Periquito
Head of Marketing

The relationship between marketing and sales has always been a difficult one. Although both teams strive to accomplish the same goal, the way each department gets there differs and, many times, there is unnecessary friction, which adds zero value to the company’s bottom line.

Fortunately, the next chapter in the relationship between marketing and sales has every reason to be different, with hopefully more cooperation already underway. The reason behind this anticipated change isn’t altruistic in nature--it’s clearly more a question of survival.

For every market and for every account, there is a fierce competition which is no longer just local. If you combine this increased territory with a more educated customer on a global scale, there is no other way to be successful than to have marketing and sales strongly aligned and working together.

On the marketing side, I see a clear movement where actions count more than words and marketing is in a position to support sales, not with fancy trade show booths or public relations, but with qualified leads and sales opportunities.

It all begins with strong content which must be innovative and relevant. Many marketers focus too much on technology. They are present in as much social media as possible, and use a plethora of platforms, but they do not necessarily having anything significant to say in all these different mediums. In a sense, what they are doing is amplifying the company´s silence.

Content, on the other hand, is developed once and it can be deployed many times, with the necessary adjustments, since writing a post for Facebook is not quite the same as doing a blog post on the corporate website or a LinkedIn entry.

Instead of flooding prospects and customers with emails, notifications and texts, there is another, better way that is based on developing content and making it available to your audience when they are ready to consume it, in a format that is relevant to them. Don’t get me wrong, outbound marketing is still important and relevant, especially for some businesses, but there is a new king in town and inbound marketing, particularly for B2B, is becoming the new norm.

For each stage of the buying cycle, marketing can make a difference by engaging prospects and clients and communicating segmented value propositions not “1 to 1” but “1 to many,” educating the audience and allowing sales reps to spend less time prospecting, (which they hate) and more time, closing deals.

In this way, marketing works at the “top of the funnel” by setting the stage and bringing in leads. It doesn’t stay there and moves down through lead nurturing and qualification programs so when sales steps in they already know what the customer or prospect has read, what he or she is interested in, and instead of wasting precious time presenting the company and the product, sales can learn more about what type of challenge is driving this person to action and can focus on the right solution.

Because there was work done beforehand, sales can now work more deals, and since the leads are already qualified, they can be more effective in closing deals.

Digital has revolutionized the way marketers work today. It brought down geographical barriers and opened up markets on a global scale, enabling and facilitating contacting target groups in a simpler, more efficient and less costly way.

No longer are marketers solely measured on the size of their budget but, more importantly, on how they use the budget to create value to the organization and support sales. Marketing is now in a position to deliver qualified leads and also get feedback and insight about what type of pain your product is trying to address, who your customers are, as well as explaining why your product is better.

Saying that the future holds a symbiotic relationship between marketing and sales or that the modern company will only have one team may be a bit farfetched for the time being, but it’s unquestionable that the way forward is to have marketing and sales aligned with a joint mission, creating value. Those who master this new game will be the real winners…the rest will be a footnote in history.

Nuno Periquito  is a seasoned marketing executive with over 15 years of  experience in B2B marketing, innovation, and technology. He has established an established track record of accelerating opportunities through the sales pipeline and driving demand through event management, demand generation programs and campaigns. He is a collaborative leader with proven success in managing multinational teams and working cross-functionally throughout the organization.