Marketers have been a staple in professional service firms for a number of years now – in many firms this position developed in the late 1980s or early 1990s. So, why is it so surprising that an abundant of firms are now seeking to find a sales professional to add to their knowledge base?
During my 11+ year tenure at a professional service firm, we distinctly separated the activities of marketing and sales. We had two specific roles within our department: Marketing Director and Director of Business Development. Here’s the primary way we delineated the duties:
Marketing was responsible for developing ideas and materials that would help the salesperson identify, engage and ultimately close the sale.
So, are you wondering how a firm can successfully integrate a sales professional into their marketing department? Below are five strategies you should consider:
1. Clearly Define the Roles of Both Professionals
If a firm has an established marketing professional, odds are that this individual has taken on additional responsibilities over the years, or from time to time, that have stretched / been placed into the sales world. At times it happens without the marketer realizing the extent to which they have developed into a business development role. So, be sure to meet with the employee to assess their current responsibilities, likes and dislikes, then determine how the two positions will be defined.
A note of caution – if you’re considering “promoting” your current marketing professional to the sales position, or worse yet, asking your marketing director to “do this too,” think again. Although this tactic can be successful, it can also set-up your marketer for failure if they don’t possess the experience or aptitude for the sales role (or dual roles).
2. Educate Your Team on the Difference Between Marketing and Sales
It is vital to set the stage for a sales professional, prior to hiring. Since marketing is an existing position, most employees understand it now, but what they don’t understand is the differences between the two and the talents that each individual must possess for success. Communication is the key to marketing, in general, and this decision is no different.
3. Develop and Define the Sales Process Steps
By identifying what steps are involved in the sales process and realizing that both the salesperson and the marketer are on the same team, it’s easy to identify who is responsible for each step. Remember the overall goal of marketing and sales professionals is to reinforce the “buying decisions” that existing clients have already made while expanding the firm’s client base.
The CSO (Chief Sales Officer) Insights recently released that 53% of sales leads are generated by sales people, compared to 24% by the marketing team, thus proving that marketing may be utilized to set up the sale, but the marketer is not selling in many cases. To be stronger in your firm, consider partnering a sales professional and marketer, if they are in synch, you will generate substantial opportunities for the firm, thereby justifying their existence to the firm’s partners.
4. Develop Reports to Show How They Are Working Together
To prove the power of marketing and sales efforts, be sure to create reports sharing all successes. Generate a Marketing / Sales Report (pay particular attention to the saleslead field) and distribute to all the firm’s owners to keep them informed on the pay-off of their marketing/business development investment. Tracking performance of marketing and sales efforts can also reinforce your existing programs and identify areas for improvement.
5. Plan an Annual Retreat to Ignite (re-ignite) Creativity and Refocus Efforts
Many marketers and sales professionals are conditioned to do what has worked, what is working and ignore what didn’t, what I refer to as the SALY (same as last year) method. Encourage your team to host an off-site retreat to evaluate current programs and ignite the creativity in an effort to generate out-of-the-box ideas. New ideas need to provide break-though results while staying in alignment with the firm’s marketing strategy – and managing traditional versus digital efforts it’s more important than ever to keep up with technology.
Too often the sales professional is asked to be involved in marketing functions of the firm. The net result is that the sales professional is asked to be a hybrid -part sales professional, part marketing director-who may not be especially effective in either capacity due to time constraints.
S0, finding two professionals who can clearly understand one another’s roles will elevate both individuals to the highest levels of respect in the firm. It will also position them to pitch-hitch for one another, should the need arise on a random basis.