Bridging the sales and marketing divide

Bridging the divide can deliver a range of benefits, potentially leading to innovation in business practices. Greater access to customer insights and an engaged sales force are just a two reasons for marketing and sales to work closely together. Bringing each business function closer together requires us to consider the following aspects of sales promotion:

Campaign translation

The ability to translate a marketing campaign into sales actions and targets is the key to success.  Taking the big idea or concept and transforming the message for sales to utilise with their customers is essential. It is also important to involve your key stake holders early in the campaign development process.

Campaign development often begins with:

•    Effective stake holder management and internal communication

•    Obtaining senior sales buy-in to your promotion

•    Negotiating budget support for your marketing programme

When managing the translation of top-line corporate campaigns into your market segment it is important to:

•    Build sales collateral resourcing and planning into the bigger campaign picture

•    Allow for lead times in access to top-line creative outputs when transforming messaging into sales communications

Remember that the Brand and Campaign teams can overlook tactical sales collateral as they are busy fighting fires and making sure marketing agencies deliver on creative promises.

The sales launch

Get the sales force behind your marketing plans and interested in your campaign activity. Utilise their eagerness to know what marketing support they can expect from you to help achieve their targets and remember:

•    Attention spans over the launch day can be worn-down by the overwhelming weight of information.

•    Create PowerPoint cut through and viewer retention at a launch

In a large business there are often several marketing campaigns or promotions being deployed during the same calendar period so you need to:

•    Keep your presentation punchy

•    Provide appropriate support and sales collateral that can be used with customers

•    Push their buttons and help them translate or apply campaign ideas to their customer’s situations

Sales centric

When developing sales collateral and support materials the opportunity to bring the sales force into the design loop will have many benefits. Their buy-in and input into a project will give you greater certainty of market application and effectiveness. To develop effective support material you should consider:

•    Riding shot gun with a sales person to gain an understanding of their personal selling situation

•    Allowing sales to see that you are genuinely interested in their success

•    Creating user-centric sales collateral that is developed to fit the selling conditions

•    Gaining early political support

Empathy

Generating empathy for each others issues is a great starting point. Put your traditional prejudices aside as after-all everyone is in the same boat. With sales behind your marketing programme from the outset you can benefit. The sales team can be a great advocate for your efforts and provide amazing customer insights to further improve your campaigns.

Quality not quantity

It is amazing how many organisations are poor at launching promotions into the sales function and providing adequate support. Some companies seem not to have the time or budget to do it effectively. In some cases the marketing calendar is just too full, allowing marketing to use volume as a measure of success. It takes confidence to be able to stand your ground and fight the case that less is more.

Finally remember that it doesn’t matter how good the creative idea is and how well the concept has been developed, you must be able to deliver the message the final campaign mile and overcome the last sales hurdle.