One of my clients was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing programs yet their customers didn’t seem engaged. They felt there was a problem with their sales team and asked if I could help.
In many businesses, there’s a disconnect between the marketing department and the sales team. In an established business like the one I was working with, sales reps focus on building relationships with their customers and servicing their needs in order to build sales. Marketing wants to drive sales, using the methods they know best. Sometimes these methods are at odds with the way the sales team operates.
Sales teams may be confused, thinking that management is trying to force the wrong products into the sales funnel. Management can feel frustrated because they don’t believe the sales team understands what they’re trying to do. There are feelings of resentment between the sales and marketing departments because neither has a clear understanding of the other’s needs and goals.
As a result, money gets wasted.
Too often, marketing and sales departments operate in silos. They have the same goals but use different techniques. Sales teams don’t communicate the information they have about their customers’ needs with head office and the marketing department. Marketing believes they have the solutions to drive sales but don’t communicate those thoughts to the sales force. As a result, there’s dysfunction.
So how do we overcome the problem?
We need regular, repeatable communication systems that bring marketing into the sales cycle and allow sales to contribute to the marketing plans. This ensures that both departments are on the same page to achieve the goals of the management team.
When marketing and sales departments work together in a way that creates value, we move from selling to customers to selling with customers. This relationship ensures the building of the long-term success desired by everyone.
To help solve my client’s problem, I facilitated a five-hour discussion with the sales team. We had company representatives update the marketing efforts. We asked about challenges with their jobs. We talked about what it would take to achieve sales growth with increased customer buy-in of the programs.
The process was invigorating for the sales team and insightful for the company. It was the start of an ongoing communication process to ensure success for the company as they achieve their sales goals.
When marketing and sales teams work together, we save money, build relationships and create businesses that are wholesome and functional.
Troy Media columnist David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy.
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