Innovation through Collaboration:

When Sales and Marketing Join Forces

Mad Men, House of Lies, The Pitch, Shark Tank, Wolf of Wall Street, and The Boiler Room. Who wouldn’t want to join the world of sales and marketing after viewing these shows and films? We live in a society that promotes the provocative side of the job: dress fancy, talk slick, and make millions. While this scenario can be true at times, you have to dig deeper to understand what goes on behind the scenes.

The term “sales and marketing” gives off such power and bravado. We hear the two words together so much that we treat them like brothers, instead of cousins. They are in the same family but have different functions. Sales sells. Marketing markets. Some companies have great marketing but no one to answer the phones. Others have a hungry sales team but no one promoting the products. Separated they survive, but integrated they thrive. And when the two partner there is evidence of substantial growth.

Working simultaneously, sales and marketing teams can approach customers through the innovation of collaboration. The message on both macro and micro levels becomes detailed and customer centric. Every business and consumer is another opportunity to convert an account to revenue. This process may not as exciting your TV and movie choices, but it is just as important.

Developing a collaborative strategy with a natural progression is crucial for success. Gaining new business always consists of learning, becoming, and doing. These objectives are symbiotic and have a tendency to overlap in the sales and buying cycle. The game plan is constantly evolving and adjustments have to be made. Each sales and marketing team, should make sure they are in sync in each of the following phases:

Assessment

For sales this is where education and training happens. Whether self-taught, coached, or both, this phase is the foundation of your success. Increased knowledge of your company’s portfolio and practicing the choreography of your sales pitch are key indicators of a high performer. At this point, marketing is focused on the SWOT Analysis. Knowing where the company leads and bleeds in comparison to their competitors, gives a more definitive picture for direction.

While this work is done independently, it is good for both parties to be informed and involved in the activities of the other. Sales may have some field experiences that can contribute to marketing’s evaluation, and marketing could have some information that assist with training and teaching.

Acquisition

Yes prospecting has arrived. This is where the onboarding of customers truly begins. Commercial insight and data guide decisions on the creation and distribution of content. Profiles are designed to give a face to the target audience, and patrons are paired with product mix.

As marketing compiles new information and hot leads, sales is doing its due diligence as well. Networking, personal branding, social media, and any other viable avenues are observed during this time to draw up potential customers.

Concurrently, sales and marketing are using their best investigative skills to learn as much as they can about who they will be dealing with. They find out where decision makers and influencers went to college, favorite sports teams, weekend hobbies, etc. You have to stalk before you talk!

Attack

All efforts are catered to individual accounts for the specific outcomes of accelerating the sales process and winning business. Account based marketing and sales takes a level of engagement that is not needed during the acquisition phase. Possible has become actual, which means the message must reflect to the audience. The art of sale is in play.

Sales and marketing align at their highest level to create proposals and presentations tailored to customer objectives, size of the account, industry, and brand. Most importantly, this is where the positioning of the company’s value happens. There are pain points that keep customers the up at night. The pressure to perform is a big burden for them to carry alone. Be passionate about what your company can do for them. Keep your focus on the target and follow through on the sales process. Go with the Marshawn Lynch mindset of “You know why I’m here!”

The innovation of collaboration is the driving force behind effective sales and marketing. If you are in sales you should develop a working relationship with your colleagues in marketing, and vice versa. But what if your company is either marketing heavy or sales strong? There are plenty of resources, books, and websites that touch on both functions. Lean into your weakness and develop the shortfall. You don’t have be an expert, but increased knowledge will add confidence and breadth of perspective. When you close the gap you will also close more deals. Collaborate to innovate. Don’t be an office divided.

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