The Unanswerable Question Answered

by | Jun 11, 2021 | Business Strategy

The Unanswerable Question Answered

Everyone at some point in their life considered the unanswerable question:

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? 

The actual answer, based on evolution, is the egg, but I’ll leave that debate for another time 🐣.

What came first sales or marketing?

But on that topic have you ever considered what came first between a business idea and a customer, or probably more importantly between the sales and marketing.

Sales and marketing have always had this synergy, a need for each other and an unbreakable relationship that’s both embraced and challenged at the same time.

Over my years coaching sales teams, I have seen whole sales and marketing departments that refused to speak and instead just throw blame and insults around. 

It’s the sales team’s fault for not closing an easy sale after a carefully executed marketing campaign.

It’s the marketing department’s fault for confusing the message and turning prospects away.

In some ways it’s easier for a small business to have the sales and marketing aligned.

Both activities are usually run by the same person, but for larger businesses, instead of taking onboard that ethos and working together, it can actually be very broken.

Many businesses would say marketing comes before the sale.

You provide someone with inspirational information to get them hooked in, then the sales team go in for the close.

But if that were the case, if we accepted that a chicken couldn’t exist without an egg.

If sales couldn’t be made with marketing, why is the marketing department always the first to be cut during a downturn of sales?

At the start of 2020 16% of advertisers worldwide expected budgets to grow, by quarter 2 advertisers had made a net loss of 50%.

As an example, if you cut the opportunities for the egg, should you still expect a healthy chicken.

Must leave the chicken and egg analogy now!

If you are in the sales team or marketing department here are 2 things you can do to build and maintain the connection between your sales and marketing activity.

Talk to each other – often!

So simple, so obvious, so easy to achieve.

By talking between departments both teams will be able to monitor what is and is not working and come up with a solution that works for both.

I appreciate we live in a data rich world where numbers can often tell the story, but nothing beats listening from the people working on the ground.

Sales might want something that’s too time consuming to market and even though the optics are there, it’s too costly to make.

Marketers might expect sales executives to sell in a way different to their buyers’ buying journey, something not visible in the data.

By building a relationship between your sales and marketing staff you’ll be able to create and adapt your activity.

Set out mutual goals.

When it comes to aligning the marketing department with the sales team, or vice versa, it’s important that everyone is heading towards the same goal.

If the marketing department is targeting a certain amount of exposure, while the sales team is closing sales, neither knows if the other’s teams activities are working as well as they could be. 

The goal should always be to target more sales, it’s what drives the business forwards, but this doesn’t mean that the marketing team have to become salespeople.

If the marketing team know how many sales the sales team are converting from their marketing activities, then the marketing team can set their own internal goals to target more sales.

So what’s next.

What can you do if your departments are struggling to align?

The best thing is to both head to my website and take advantage of the free tools available to business like yours.

Secondly, check out my training program Plan Grow Do. In there we offer courses on how to handle their marketing and gain sales with a modern sales approach. 

Additional Reading.

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