How Marketing Supports Sales
Literally everything a Marketing department does is intended to facilitate Sales. Some of the efforts are long term or strategic, for example, the creation and maintenance of the company’s brand. Other efforts are more immediate and tactical. These include various kinds of lead generation activities.
The most visible and least understood marketing initiatives are branding and advertising. These are expensive campaigns and, unless a prospect tells a salesperson that seeing your company’s ad in The Wall Street Journal was the decisive factor in closing the deal, you’ll find it hard to ever truly get Sales on board. Selling straight from an ad rarely happens. No one ever says, “I’m buying your product because I like your new logo.” Although that was never the expectation from these awareness-building campaigns. Clearly, better communication is needed.
Salespeople can easily point to the exact amount of revenue they’ve generated. Couldn’t marketers, in turn, calculate the ROI from advertising or a rebranding? Many experts suggest doing this. It poses challenges and expenses for some small businesses, but it’s certainly not impossible, as this Playbook article discusses.
Even if they don’t take on ROI measurement, what Marketers can explain is that awareness is the first step in the Marketing/Sales process. Elsewhere in the Playbook we looked at the idea of the “Marketing Funnel” in detail. Awareness, or “Attention” as it is known in the Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) model, is the first step in getting prospects to consider your product or service. Branding works subliminally to qualify your firm in prospects’ minds and overcome any initial objections.
Originally, product management was a discipline that focused on consumer products. For example, laundry soap. Product managers ask questions like, “What is the market looking for? Is it price? Or do they need specific features such as adding bleach or fabric softeners? Does it need to be biodegradable, organic, fragrance-free?”
Today a broad spectrum of products and services are brought to market with the aid of product management. If Marketing gets everything right, then its product strategy should work to optimize sales. Due to salespeople having some of the best anecdotal evidence of how your products and services are perceived, it makes sense to solicit their input in the early phases of the product management process.
Lead generation is where Marketing truly enters the tactical realm. Recognizing that Sales is a numbers game, Marketing tries to collect as many names as possible to feed its hungry sales force. Depending upon the industry, Sales may push back and say, “It’s not just quantity; we want quality, or “qualified,” leads.
Marketing departments can always buy leads from data companies that compile lists of names connected with contact information and, perhaps, other relevant information such as individuals’ age, sex, profession, hobbies, and income. The cheapest list might have the names and addresses of everyone in a particular ZIP code. If you’re opening a pizza restaurant in a new neighborhood, then that’s probably what you’d use for establishing initial contacts.
On the other hand, a developer of tax accounting software might have research showing its best prospects are independent accounting firms with at least $1.5 million in annual revenues, headed by a female CEO between the ages of 32 and 45. That list would cost quite a bit more.