Sales & Marketing still hate each other?

I have never really understood the conflict between Marketing and Sales. It still doesn’t make sense to me. Sure there are different skill sets required for each, and the day-to-day activities of each flavor of professional are different. That said…

Sales & Marketing both have the exact same goal; Sell more!

Obstacles OpportunitiesHere’s my take on how to make the conflict evaporate – focus on Opportunities & Obstacles. The top sales exec and the top marketing exec need to have a series of conversations to identify, agree on and document:

  • The Top 5 Opportunities the organization can exploit
  • The Top 5 Obstacles inhibiting more sales

Almost certainly, the core of exploiting each opportunity and conquering each obstacle is to inject some set of knowledge into one or more constituencies. Ummm… that would be communicating, right? That’s what sales pros do? That’s what marketing pros do, right?

So give it a try. simply re-frame the goals of both groups within the context of Opportunities and Obstacles. Pretty simple – and surprisingly powerful – stuff.

Sales Process Media and the “One Bite At A Time” theory

The notion of having a collection of digital tools (like a blog posts, podcasts and videos) that can teach a customer every fact needed to make purchase of your product an obvious necessity is compelling. Why would every sales team not want such an awesome support system?

Well, wanting all those tools isn’t the issue. Creating all those tools is!

That’s where the One Bite At A Time Theory comes into play. And it has value from two two very different perspectives.

eating-an-elephantThe first is the obvious one – get started! Take that first bite. Now there’s one fewer bite to go. Yes you want to eat the whole elephant, but also need to remember that each and every bite delivers nourishment.

In Sales Process Media terms, think of writing a single blog post that directly addresses the #1 objection faced by the sales team. Then identify the #2 objection and create a video that addresses that. Then identify the #3 objection…

That’s “bites” of value for the sales team that makes them love the marketing folks.

The second perspective has value for the team developing all the tools. Laying out the over-arching strategy for all the tools needed and how each complements the other is not only fascinating and important, it’s a huge task. One that takes a looooong time. Serving field sales by picking off one objection at a time enables a balance between the tactical and the strategic. (Not to mention the fact that it makes sales actually appreciate marketing!) The short term value gets everyone on board regarding the long-term big picture.

Now step back for a minute and think…

You really needed a blog post to make the above points??? I doubt it. But if that’s the case, why is your effort for creating and deploying Sales Process Media dragging out?

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Media’s target audience?

mass-of-peopleLife Magazine, The Bell Telephone Hour, The Evening News with Walter Cronkite… Examples of text, radio and video specifically designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Long ago, organizations interested in selling their wares recognized the value of connecting their logos to this content to grab the attention of as many eyes and ears as possible.

It’s not news that over time, the breadth of the target audience for all types of media and the advertising that pays for it has grown steadily narrower. The market for $400 crank arms for bicycles, for example, is really, really narrow, but you can find information on which ones are right for you by reading Cyclecross Magazine! So what’s the point of all this for a sales leader?

The entire history of media has placed its use for business firmly in the hands of marketing people, and that’s no longer appropriate.

I’m not suggesting that we kick Marketing pros out of the media world. Not at all. Media is more important than ever for Marketing. The point is, technology has enabled Sales to exploit the power of media.

Most Sales Mangers fail to grasp the power and influence media can have on closing specific opportunities.

Think about this… It’s a big opportunity and their are 10 people on the customer decision team. The sales rep knows 5 of them well and sort of has a relationship with 2 more. 2 more are strangers and the last one, a really important influencer, is simply unreachable. That is, half the decision team is not all that interested – maybe not at all interested – in evaluating the proposal.

What if? What if your rep recorded a short video reviewing the value of the proposal and recruited the 5 influencers who are on board to get the other 5 to watch it? It’s not a face-to-face call, but it will get the message across.

execAnd think about this… Your ace sales rep just nailed a sales call with the decision maker for a major opportunity. She drove home the 3 key aspects of the value of her proposal. The decision maker loved it! Two days later, the decision maker couldn’t remember why he was so enthused. The e-mail the rep sent summarizing the discussion just didn’t seem to resonate.

What if? What if an hour after that sales call, the decision maker had gotten not only the e-mail, but also a short audio recording of the rep reiterating the 3 key value elements and why each by itself is an exciting proposition? Text and audio, reinforcing the memory of the enthusiasm.

Media no longer addresses only a mass audience. Media no longer addresses only a niche audience. Media addresses an audience as small as 10, or 5 or 1.

So, Sales Manger… As you read and hear about “social media” with all its [unintended] bias to the marketing mindset, remember that media – Sales Process Media – is a Sales tool.

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5 Reasons why Sales Process Media is so effective

Why does Sales Process Media Work So Well?

  1. Sales Process Media works really long hours
  2. Sales Process Media has “Pull”
  3. Sales Process Media is always available on-demand
  4. Sales Process Media has astounding “Reach,” “Speed” and “Odds”
  5. Sales Process Media Never Plays “Whisper Down The Lane”

#1. Sales Process Media works really long hours.

SPM is on-duty and hard at work 24 X 7 X 365.  It never gets tired.  It never gets sick.  It never has a bad day.  It never takes a vacation.  Not a minute.  Ever.

SPM puts in five times as many hours as the most dedicated of sales professionals. Do the math. Let’s say our intrepid example sales pro is out there in front of customers four days a week. A day for this individual goes nine hours. (Including that one day per week of paperwork, planning and the dreaded “miscellaneous duties as assigned.”) Only two weeks of vacation. Sadly, only one week of education and training. And miraculously, only four days a year when the selling spirit just isn’t there.

  • 4 days per week X 9 hours per day X 48 weeks/year = 1,728 hours for the human
  • 7 days per week X 24 hours per day X 52 weeks/year = 8,736 hours for SPM
  • 8,736 / 1,728 = 5.05

To repeat…  SPM puts in five times as many hours as the most dedicated of sales professionals.

#2. Sales Process Media Has “Pull.”  

This point is really, REALLY critical. It relates to how virtually all decision processes are now executed. Consider what happens when a Google search presents your SPM. The customer literally “pulls” you and your knowledge into their decision-making processes. You didn’t need to work, work, work to “push” your way in. They voluntarily “pulled” you in. Not only that:

  • 80%+ of buyers find sellers vs. the other way around
  • 70-80% of the buying process is complete before the buyer contacts the seller

80% of buyers go to Google first. They search. They research. They reach conclusions. Then, and only then do they call the human sales rep.

Was your SPM there when they searched??? If not, the customer found the other guy’s SPM.

They read the other guy’s perspective. They learned about the other guy’s products, services and value proposition. And then they called the other guy – they pulled your competitor onto their team. And maybe just maybe – long after the real decision has been made – they call you in so they can talk about the so-called “alternative” they supposedly considered.  All you get is the opportunity to waste your time on a lost cause.

#3. Sales Process Media is always available on-demand

It’s all about the customer. Whenever and wherever the customer is ready; on an instant’s notice; the SPM is ready, willing and able to be pulled into the customer’s world and to serve. Maybe it’s during regular business hours. Maybe not. Maybe it’s some random Wednesday at 3:00 AM. Maybe it’s New Year’s Eve at 11:59 PM.  Doesn’t matter.

It also doesn’t matter if 2 or 10 or 10,000 customers simultaneously want the same chunk of your SPM. Unlike its human counterpart (You!), the same SPM can be in 2 or 10 or 10,000 places at the same time – effortlessly!

#4. Sales Process Media Has Astounding “Reach,” “Speed” and “Odds”

SPM-Reach-Speed-OddsLet’s say you make an awesome sales call on the Director of A at a key account. As you’d expect, there is more than one person in the decision network, namely the Director of C, the VP of Y and the CEO. Those other three weren’t at the meeting.  You, for example, being astute, quickly embed the essence of that call in a combination text/video e-mail and send it to your champion, the Director of A.

You include a suggestion that she forward the e-mail to the others with a strong endorsement of your recommendation.  She complies, and:

  • Your SPM “Reaches” them…
  • Literally at the “Speed” of light…
  • With great “Odds” of being opened since it’s coming from the highly respected Director of A

It takes little imagination to see how the same logic applies on an inter-company basis as well. The CEO of Company X forwards your piece of SPM content to the CEO of Company Y, who in turn sends it to the CEO of Company Z. (Imagine that… getting “pulled” into C-suite after C-suite.)

Your value proposition gets spread far and wide, essentially instantly, by people with way more clout than you.

#5. Sales Process Media Never Plays “Whisper Down The Lane”

You remember playing the game as child. Kid #1 whispers a message to kid #2, who whispers it to kid #3, etc. By the time the message gets to the final kid, it’s totally different from the original version.  Same applies to business.

What are the odds the Director of A can repeat what you said in as compelling a fashion as you did to the Director of C? If your message is complex, what are the odds she can repeat it at all? And then how distorted does it get with the next repetition? And the next?

Your SPM (literally an electronic you in that video, podcast, blog post…)  faithfully reiterates the value proposition over and over; perfectly every time.