I think if we look at one of the traditional roles of marketing and sales and the way that they have worked in the past, it kind of helps explain where they need to go. So historically, what has marketing’s role been? It’s lead generation, handing leads to a salesperson. So, crafting content that is messaged out into the marketplace that generates some form of interest, and then understanding those interest points and who the individuals are, so that it can serve as a lead for a salesperson to follow up on. And then what does a sales person do? They’re taking that general messaging to the marketplace and they’re pivoting it to the specific circumstances of the buyer. So that’s classically what salespeople talk about as value selling, they have to put it in their context and sort of describe what is in it for them and how we’re going to solve your unique problem with our broader offering in the marketplace. That’s a pretty cold handoff if you will. Really cut and dry. And I think that is part of the problem.
You don’t have to look any further than the dialog around the way in which marketing and sales accomplish that handoff. There are concepts of MQLs, which is a marketing qualified lead and an SQL, which is a sales qualified lead, and I ask you why are there 2 qualified leads? And the reason for that is that there is such a significant amount of work that a sales person needs to do as a secondary step, because marketing hasn’t been able to qualify that appropriately. So it is this artificial barrier that marketing and sales puts between them, that assumes that sales doesn’t have any responsibility for helping to define what qualification means from a marketing perspective. And it’s always looked at as, well marketing does its role and we [sales] do ours. We have done a lot of survey work in the marketplace that suggests that organizations see a lot of benefit and value from marketing and sales team being better integrated. But, their ability to execute in that area is pretty difficult, and they look for assistance in that. I think that is part of the reason in that, it’s almost the B2B landscape, broadly, has sort of thrown their hands up and said “look, we know that we’re never going to bring these two audiences together for them to work effectively, so let’s figure out a way in which we can reach a compromise and recognize that there is always going to be this work that the sales organization is going to need to do.
We believe that if there is a better alignment, then you can start to pull some of those sales attitudes and values selling earlier into the process and accomplish that via the marketing channel. So no longer is this content that’s wielded early on by the marketing organization something that marketing does, it’s something that sales does, powered by marketing.
Sales organizations tend to spend a lot of time focusing on value selling and what are your messages and developing your elevator pitches. We have all heard that in our careers and think of this as “it’s the elevator pitch without the elevator.” It’s all virtual now, right? You’re never standing in an elevator with and individual and have the opportunity to have a conversation. It happens, certainly, but, more often than not, a market has to figure out the ways in which you do that in a virtual world, if you will. So, sales people “stepping across the aisle,” for lack of a better term, if you sort of think about it politically, is “how do you start to help marketing organizations help you do your job better?”
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly specialists can help, contact our team.