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Marketing a Strategic Advisor? Yes!
Why do sales and marketing act as two separate organizations? Sure, marketing supports sales by providing “marketing functions”. Sales provide “input” to marketing to give them the fuel for their “marketing functions”. This can be much more efficient when Sales and Marketing work more closely and Marketing takes on a role of strategic advisor to drive revenue growth.
A recent survey showed that nearly two-thirds of the CEOs think their marketing programs have impact. Think? That’s not very good. And I see this in my business – the division between Sales and Marketing; that only Sales brings in the revenue and Marketing sometimes helps out with leads and other marketing activities.
I have been a sales rep and I know the feeling. When you are closing the deal that brings in a ton of revenue, you feel pretty important and invaluable to the company. And you are. But Marketing can and should play a much more strategic role by contributing valuable market, customer, and competitor information that will forecast and drive future revenue.
Marketing as a Strategic Advisor and Member of the Executive Team
When Marketing takes a seat at the Executive Table, they not only bring valuable information that can set strategy and initiatives, but they also bring value to the organization as an equal member of the team.
- Long Term View
Sales is typically looking at 3, 6 or maybe 9 months into the future and providing revenue forecasts. Marketing has a view of the market that has them looking at 3 months and longer. By working tightly with Sales, the company gets the short-term and long-term forecast to better plan for growth.
Knowledge of the markets, the customers, and competitive information brings intelligence into the organization that helps better position the company and the products. The Sales team talks to customers and often have a good current view of the market. Combined with marketing research on the trends and forecasts, the company can stay ahead of where the market is going to adjust their product lines and messaging.
- Customer and Prospect Knowledge
Marketing often has insight into the prospects and buyers, their drivers, and their buying patterns. The research done by Marketing uncovers detailed information on specific buyers – their professional accomplishments, personal interests, social media contributions – all information that is used to connect more closely and personally to the prospect. As Sales connects more closely and personally, strong relationships that are crucial in today’s environment is developed.
- Reaching Customers and Prospects
Ways to reach customers is changing daily. How customers and prospects get their information, what they respond to, and the explosion of social media tools makes for a dynamic arena. Marketing keeps up with these trends and can help sales be where the prospects are.
- Marketing Tools
Marketing writes the content that attracts attention and shows the company value. We communicate to create awareness. We produce the events and demand generation that generates leads. These skills are specialized and creating the marketing tools that produce results will pay off in long term revenue gains.
When Marketing brings together the customer and market intelligence, marketing tools, unique product positioning, and methods for reaching customers, they have a function and value to the organization that will pay off in long term gains.
About the author:
Kim McMahon has done sales and marketing for more years than she cares to count. She writes frequently on marketing, life, the world and how they sometimes all come together.