Cody Strate is VP of Marketing at Access.
Why is it that since the dawn of time, sales and marketing departments have been bitter foes? Was Cain the vice president of sales and Abel the vice president of marketing of their family business? Was it the other way around?
At companies around the world, these departments seem to view each other as the personification of their respective clichés. Marketers often see salespeople as flashy, jet-setting attention seekers who drive fast cars and wear fancy clothes. Respectively, salespeople all too often see their marketing colleagues as vegan mustachioed hipsters, jonesing for their next IPA or pour-over coffee, depending upon the time of day, of course.
The bottom line is that there is a palpable delineation between these respective departments. Not surprisingly, this division serves only to draw a negative impact on team harmony, company culture, customer experience and revenue. To be clear, this is a manufactured division that consistently exists across myriad companies for no other reason than the detestable and inexcusable reason of “because it’s always been that way.”
No company should suffer the cost of this self-inflicted division between the marketing and sales departments. The way I see it, what companies truly need is a transformational alignment between these respective departments that’s brought about by marketing and sales understanding their respective roles in the sales cycle — and, most importantly, for marketing to assume the ethos of “sales at scale.”
The Marketing Ethos ‘Sales At Scale’
Let’s be clear about something: Marketing and sales are on the same team when it comes to the sales cycle. In the context of how marketing and sales should work together in an ideal sales cycle, we should look no further than how a Major League Baseball team handles its pitching rotation in a nine-inning game.
Simply put, in baseball, you have the starting pitcher who starts the game. He throws four to six innings and sets up the rest of the game for a successful outcome. The middle relief pitcher comes in for a couple of innings to move the game along. Finally, you have the fabled closer, who comes in the eighth or ninth inning to bring the heat and secure the win.
This is precisely how the roles of marketing and sales should play out in the sales cycle. Marketing serves as the first encounter with a prospect, and they carry the prospect forward in the sales cycle. Naturally, as things progress, sales comes in to carry the engagement forward and close the deal.
Once this fundamental principle of how marketing and sales should work together in harmony as part of the sales cycle is understood, the “sales at scale” mentality can take hold. This mentality is simply the understanding of marketing’s role in the sales process and that they are responsible for setting up the sales team for bountiful success. In this manner, marketing is an extension of sales, with the main difference being they tell the story at the front end of the sales cycle with a megaphone. Marketing’s role is to reach out far and wide, telling the story of your company to would-be prospects.
Prospects who answer the call are greeted with phenomenally helpful content that directly resonates with their pains and desires. Additional relevant content is effortlessly available to the prospect until they pass the threshold where they become a sales-qualified lead, at which time the sales reps come in to do what they do best.
This is “sales at scale” at work, and it’s far removed from the unfortunate oppositional state of marketing and sales departments at most companies.
This Ethos Comes Down To Revenue
According to the NAICS Association, nearly 90% of the 17,310,600 businesses in the U.S. produce under $10 million dollars a year in revenue. These businesses do not need their marketing and sales departments bickering the way they’ve always done.
Leaders need to lead out of the status quo and toward a more harmonious way of doing business that provides a better buying experience for the customer, happier employees and more revenue. Businesses must shape the narrative so that marketing and sales understand they each have tremendous responsibilities relative to the sales cycle.
Once marketing fully embraces and implements the “sales at scale” ethos, they can enable the sales team to experience more success than ever before. Reject the status quo: Embrace the “sales at scale” ethos, and set your company up for the success it deserves.
Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?