Sales and Marketing – More Alike Than You Think!

My ‘Sales Masterminds Australasia’ colleague, Peter Strohkorb is a strong advocate of the need for sales and marketing to be more collaborative. In fact he is so passionate about this he has coined a phrase to cover the concept –Smarketing! His research has shown that businesses where this occurs are twice as likely to be financially successful than companies where sales and marketing collaboration is not present.

Now while I know Peter has strong anecdotal evidence to back this finding, this should not come as a surprise to those who follow trends in how people buy. In days past the lack of information available to buyers meant businesses ‘held the high ground’ when it came to providing information and hence solutions to buyers needs. Marketing sold to the masses by providing general information and creating awareness, sales people followed up and sold to individuals (or individual businesses) by fine tuning offerings to meet specific needs. A bit like strategic bombing or artillery followed by the infantry.

But today, is there still such a delineation? Aren’t salespeople marketers and marketers salespeople?

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks, then it’s probably a duck….

or is it?

Salespeople can no longer sit back and rely on marketing to create awareness within the target audience and then ‘just sell’. Buyers are being inundated with marketing messages from companies, both online and offline, credible and not; and that means the marketing message is being diluted and building trust between buyer and salesperson is becoming more and more challenging. (Photo credit this para – Flickr; Leigh Ann)

Salespeople must therefore work harder at marketing themselves to ensure they have credibility when they do engage with prospective clients. Sales Mastermind colleague and personal branding expert,John Smibert believes this is one of the greatest opportunities for salespeople to stand out in the market. John says, “A strong personal brand enables you to use your authenticity, vulnerability, courage, and your unique promise of value to naturally attract opportunity. And to do this without massive self-promotion which can in fact damage your brand.” (Photo credit this para – Flickr; Dave Wadsworth)

Build your presence and hence your brand by engaging with others in the market, offering insights, challenging the status quo, providing worthwhile content on social media channels and directly to prospective clients and generally becoming recognised as an expert in their field – not necessarily a thought leader, but one who really knows the industry and market and could therefore be of value to the buyer. Traditionally, doesn’t this sound like marketing?

Likewise, marketing’s role is changing. The buyer’s journey is becoming more complex, at least from the seller’s perspective. Sellers now need to engage early
and often with impactful, valuable and relevant content at whatever stage of the buyer’s journey they may be. This content needs to help guide the buyer to the finish line of the sale as while it is estimated that a buyer can be 50-70% through the buying cycle before engaging with a salesperson, they may in fact be at 100%! This requires marketing to be much more engaged throughout the buyers journey and the decision making process. Marketing is no longer just about getting opportunities onto the buyer’s journey, but nurturing them along the road. Smells a bit like sales to me.

Even if Peter’s research is only half-right (and I have no doubt he’s right on the money!), doesn’t it make sense for sales and marketing to follow what is becoming a natural development and evolve into Smarketing?

(This article was originally posted on Linked in)