Marketing and sales need to be in tandem with each other
Oct 28 2013
For ages, marketing and sales have existed in a state of friction and this hasn’t changed much even in recent times. This is indeed getting in the way of productivity and results for most companies. Slow realisation is coming in now for marketers that improving the relationship with sales will result in a better ROI. Indeed, marketers report realigning operational processes and capabilities to better support sales as one of their top priorities for this year.
With marketing responsible for every rupee being spent these days, they need to be wiser to work closely with sales teams to ensure the maximum conversion of leads. They need to direct the sales team to the most profitable sales than mere numbers. Here are a few suggestions for marketers to drive a path with sales team to improve results:
Marketers should undertake primary research and also database analysis to segment the market into groups that are distinctly different based on certain criteria that make business sense for the company. It could be profitability potential or long term value, for instance.
Marketing should be able to direct sales team to go after specific segments and drive up the sales and profitability. They should also be able to guide them not to bother with some segments at this stage based on solid analysis. Taking the time to understand what kind of information they can use to qualify a segment will go a long way towards ensuring that sales will use the information.
In order to make sales teams listen to segment-based targeting plans, marketers should make a business case on different segments and their buying propensity. It is like helping a sales team find the right customer segment for selling Swift when they are going to a segment that is looking for Nano. They won’t spend time trying to sell a sedan to customer X when customer X wants an SUV. Marketing should tell them how to sell more smartly to those buyers who will part with their money faster.
Marketers should also consider the kind of information that will help the sales team get to the right customers. Provide them with information from your database as to where they live and work, what they watch, listen or read.
The segmentation and analysis are only parts of a plan. Price is critical for any buying decision. Price segments probably are the biggest in any market and category. Customers in this segment do not care much about ambience in stores, delivery time, service quality or brand name. They just want the best and the lowest prices. These are the customers of Big Bazaar and such. But not every one belongs here, fortunately.
According to information we have analysed, in most industries, the price sensitive customer segment will represent at the most 40 per cent of the total market. This could be as low as 20 per cent in some industries where cost of quality is high. This means that 60 to 80 per cent are not fixated on price and willing to pay more for a product or service that solves a major problem or addresses an unmet need. Here is where marketing plays a vital role.
With each of the segments, identify unique needs, problems, pains, and new product/service interests among segments and give the sales team different content to move prospects towards the brand, product, or service and make the business grow profitably.
If with all these steps, marketing can improve integration with sales, the results will be much better even for a year like this with unusual upheaves. This will further the growth of ROI. I know it is tough for marketers to think in this direction but logically and rationally this is the right path. Just consider how difficult it is for sales folks to drive numbers when marketing is not integrated with their needs. Show the sales team the money and they will show marketers how to look good. With better ROI or market shares! zz
(The writer is CEO and MD of CustomerLab)