3 Keys To Efficient Sales And Marketing

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

–Michael Jordon

Every business exists because it generates money. Financial performance is a relatively straight forward thing to calculate and is a result of operating performance. Operating performance, among other things, is a derivative of human performance. And one of the keys of human performance is the ability to work together efficiently.

However, there are two key business functions that have historically not worked well together: sales and marketing. If marketing and sales cannot work together, than the company’s strategy will be inconsistent and execution will be flawed.

One of the potential reasons that sales and marketing do not work well together is that management can sometimes blur the line between the two functions. Sales and marketing are very closely related, but they are different.

In many situations, sales is frequently reactive. Marketing is usually proactive. Sales reacts to the individual customer. Marketing takes the 30,000-foot view. Marketing’s role is to match the company’s capabilities with the customer wants. How often have you heard about (or experienced) a sales person who promises things to the customer that the company can’t deliver?

Producing special offerings for special customers can be done, but at what cost? Should you impose a minimum order? What other limitations should be placed on this “offering” to limit your risk? Yet, do you risk removing the value for customer by placing these limitations on this special request? Running a business based only on the wants of the customers will kill your company. In that environment, you are looking only at short-term goals. This manner of thinking will provide you with little or no substantive gain towards accomplishing the bigger company goals.

Still, you don’t want to ignore your customers either. Therefore, integrating your sales and marketing efforts is critical to your company’s success and will lead to efficiencies that pay for themselves. In today’s business landscape, sales and marketing must pull together at every level from the central concepts of the strategy to the minute details of execution.

We have taken a careful, methodical approach to researching how companies can better integrate their sales and marketing efforts. Through this process, we have discovered several methods, some more successful than others, each promising to increase motivation, efficiencies, and ultimately to enhance the bottom line. Based on our research, we believe–if an organization really wants to affect change– the following three steps are critical to successful integration:

1. Objectively assess how well sales and marketing are integrated currently. You cannot possibly know where to go if you don’t know where you are. It is important that this is done as objectively as possible, understanding that it is sometimes difficult to see the forest through the trees. If you ask the right questions and answer them as honestly as possible, you will learn a lot about the health of your organization.

2. Discover how consistently your message is being communicated. This is one of the first areas that begins to drive marketing and sales apart. The sales team is trying to close the deal anyway possible, message and rules be damned; marketing is working on crafting a specific package, regardless of the present environment. Ensuring that sales and marketing are together and “on message” should be a key area of focus if you want to integrate your teams.

3. Assess the selling process. One of the most important aspects of the selling process–and an area that is frequently neglected–is setting quantitative goals. Without the proper goals, neither sales nor marketing will be able to work towards a common objective. It will all be left to the interpretation of the individual, and that will never lead to improved teamwork. Other areas, such as pipeline management, are key to helping both sales and marketing work together.

These three areas are critical to improving your revenue. The trick, of course, is knowing the right questions to ask and then to objectively use this information to improve your situation. The benefits to this approach is that you will be making improvements to EXISTING resources. By capitalizing on your company’s intrinsic value, you can reduce costs AND increase revenue, affecting the bottom line much more quickly than extending product lines or chasing after proliferating market opportunities.