Align Sales and Marketing

One of the biggest divides in business is the perpetual gulf between sales and marketing.  These two disciplines are so critical to driving traffic, leads, and customers, yet in many companies they can never seem to get on the same page.

However, today’s environment is forcing that gap to close. Technology is changing how people buy from us and how we market and sell to customers. In other words, sales and marketing have to get it together — and fast.

David J.P. Fisher will share with us how to bridge the gap and create a seamless customer experience in his October 30th Craft Marketing presentation: “Aligning Sales and Marketing in a Hyper-Connected Landscape.” (Sign up here!)

David J.P. Fisher

David J.P. Fisher

David J.P. Fisher (also known as D. Fish) is a speaker, coach, and author of seven books. His goal is to help you understand the new landscape of hyper-connected selling where social media, networking, and old-school sales and communication skills are the key to providing value and staying relevant.

D. Fish lives in Evanston, IL, but he’s making a special trip to Madison to present to us.  We caught up with him to ask a few questions about this month’s presentation.

Before we get to the interview questions check out this video clip of D. Fish in action:

You’re joining us from Chicago. Can you introduce yourself to the Madison community and tell us a little bit about what you do?

In my defense, I grew up in Milwaukee and my two sisters and two best friends went to UW-Madison.  So I spent a lot of time on State St. I’ve been to a 5th quarter in Camp Randall and the Packers are still the only real football team in the Midwest. : )

For the past 14 years I’ve been a professional speaker, coach, and author of 7 books and over 300 articles on networking, LinkedIn, and sales. My work focuses on helping salespeople, business owners, and entrepreneurs develop the strategic and tactical skills necessary to build their professional success.  I’m also the host of the podcast Beer, Beats, & Business and the YouTube channel D. TV.

You’re going to be talking about aligning sales and marketing in a hyper-connected landscape.  First, why does aligning sales and marketing continue to be a bear — and then, what the heck is a hyper-connected landscape?

For a long time, businesses treated getting customers like an assembly line.  Like any good factory, they split apart each function into the most narrow job possible.  Now we’re trying to put these back together…which causes friction.

A lot of that friction exists on a very human level.  It’s easy for each side to overvalue what they do and undervalue the other.  But taking care of our end customer really is a yin/yang situation, and it requires both sales and marketing to work on an integrated level for success.

The hyper-connected landscape describes a business world where technology has given our buyers access to information like never before.  That connection to information, each other, and us means that they are in firm control of their buying journeys – which is a relatively new occurrence.  And since buying has changed, we have to change how we sell to our customers. Now we have to be Sales Sherpas and provide insight and guidance as opposed to just information (which they have in abundance).

You mention a seamless customer experience occurs when you align sales and marketing.  Can you give examples of what that would look like?

We forget that our prospects and customers don’t see our different departments…they just have one brand impression.  A seamless experience could be a series of articles or case studies that marketing creates based on feedback from the sales department.  The sales team not only uses that content to start conversations, but refers to it throughout their relationships with prospects. And they are continually reporting back what is resonating with the customers which allows marketing to refine their content.

At no point is there a time where the prospect/customer thinks, “Oh, I just got handed off to a salesperson.”  It’s a seamless relationship that ends with a sale or with the realization that it’s not a good fit.

As marketers, we have an inclination to think sales needs to be more aligned with marketing.  But you’re going to talk about creating a marketing team that is also sales-oriented. What does that look like?

The stereotype is that marketing is creative and strategic and sales is tactical and pragmatic.  So a sales-oriented marketing team is much more tactical and pragmatic than their peers in other organizations.  They eschew feel-good programs for ones that they can connect directly to business outcomes.

When a salesperson doesn’t win a customer, they look at it as their responsibility as well, and ask questions like: Does our overall brand help our salespeople close sales at the other end of the pipeline?  Does our messaging prep buyers for what sales is going to tell them? What can we do to give the sales team as much ammunition as possible?

If you can create a marketing team that thinks like salespeople, and a sales team that thinks like marketers, you are going to be a strong competitor in any industry.

You Will Be a Strong Competitor if Sales & Marketing Think Alike

Who would benefit from this presentation?

Everyone! : ) In a purely professional development sense, I think that we all need to understand this evolution of how buying happens because it has a huge impact on the direction of our careers and work in general.  No matter your job title, the ability to influence buyers is going to be key and that’s exactly what we’re talking about.

When we look at implementing sales/marketing alignment, any marketing leader who has to interact with the sales team will learn some valuable strategic ideas they can take to their sales counterparts that will make them look good.  And for the front-line practitioners, they’ll walk away with a clear view of how they can tactically support the sales team and enlist the salespeople to help them make better content.

This is also really important information for any independent professional, consultant, or agency owner who has to do their own sales/marketing.  Understanding how they fit together will make them much more efficient and effective working with their clients.

Click here to sign up for AMA Madison’s October Craft Marketing event!

Greg Mischio is the Owner and Strategic Director of Winbound. Winbound is a content marketing firm that provides an all-in-one content marketing and conversion optimization package specifically designed for small marketing departments. Read his post on how to start content marketing. Twitter: @gregmischio

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