You might think this is an obvious question and say ‘of course’. In my experience, marketing often creates programs and tools more or less in isolation from sales, with the hope that they will work well in one way or another. The sales team is often a passive receiver of new tools, such as new brochures, other presentation materials, and even campaign ideas. One problem is disconnected metrics, where marketing looks at aspects of segments to penetrate, brand awareness, campaign metrics, and top of Lead Funnel, whereas sales focuses on accounts, sales targets, velocity through the sales cycle, and on closing deals.
If marketing is to more effectively support sales, you need to start by getting everyone on the same page regarding what success looks like. If you don’t invest the time to align on the big picture, then you shouldn’t expect to see any change when you look at lead quality and quantity. Let’s take an example: Your company wants to achieve a certain volume at certain margins in an underserved market segment. What does this mean in terms of brand awareness? Lead generation? Messages? Directions to the field sales people? Tools for them to use? Metrics through the different stages in the marketing and sales process?
I’d say one way forward is customer journey mapping. This is a process to define how to approach a customer at the different stages he or she goes through from the initial contact, through engagement, and into a long-term relationship. The process also involves defining metrics at several different touchpoints, including sales volumes and margins, but also retention rates and long-term customer value. The result should be an ongoing integrated marketing and sales process towards both existing and new customers.
Even for customers buying one-off large complex equipment there will always be a need for preventive maintenance and upgrades, for example.
A typical customer journey could involve the stages in the image below where each stage requires different initiatives. People involved could range from marketing staff to sales management, field sales, back office, service staff, and many more. A clear purpose, well defined roles, hand over points, metrics, and more will result in a joint process that aligns all your resources for greater efficiency and effectiveness.
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