This is no longer about chucking the 'good leads' over the wall only to have bitter enmity grow between the marketing team and sales. It goes beyond that. The entire organization needs to generate unique, compelling insight. It's not Marketing's fault Sales can't close their leads. It's not Sales fault that Marketing is so out of touch. Let's not even get to the impact this vicious cycle has on Client Services trying to fulfill on solutions sold that the company probably doesn't even deliver.
The lines between sales and marketing have inextricably blurred. It's time to get stakeholders from all sides into the same room weekly to get on the same page.
- Marketing and Sales must collaborate together to build an insight generating flywheel machine. If you think this will erode selling time, think again. Generic decks and off kilter personas from the marketing team that don't align with top seller's vision, clutter the pipeline and create busy work ad nauseam.
- Marketers work hard and often make great sellers. They're masters of lead gen and due diligence experts. Sellers needing marketing skills and marketers need selling skills. Exchange books, ideas and training programs. Build an interdisciplinary marketing and sales superpower.
- Content marketing has changed the game for inbound selling, marketing and PR. If you haven't embraced a culture of content generation, you are simply behind the times. Every person on your staff should be blogging about their expertise. The caveat is obviously strong social media policy but that's so ten years ago. Build in quality control via a series of editors, even if you bring in former journalists to your content team, as LinkedIn is does. Massive open source software companies can now scale to tens of millions of dollars through community learning centers alone, pumping out vibrant, lively user generated forum content that attracts the key B2B customers, incentivizing them with value added services.
- The costs of paid content and native advertising are astronomical in contrast to guerrilla efforts customer driven and amplified. You need to be paying for a portion as a catalyst but a strong organic strategy is sound for SEO juice to fill the funnel. Google is a cash machine and for good reason. Jason Miller of LinkedIn, recently made the case that paying to promote select content in a "bat out of hell" strategy for the "big rock" content like The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn, is essential. Thisexclusive interview is insanely relevatory. ––– 'I’ve seen ‘Big Rock’ content drive millions of dollars in business…. The first ‘Big Rock’ piece of content we created at LinkedIn over a year ago was called The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide To LinkedIn and has driven more than $4.6 million in business in just the first 90 days- it’s still bringing in business to this day!'
- Seth Godin said that 'all marketers are liars' and then as a corollary to that hit book redefined them as 'storytellers.' Truth be it told, only a data driven approach, that benchmarks performance, highlights case studies and allows your best customers to generate new customers, will ever be trusted. Bottom line is both sellers and marketers are fighting a tarnished image and reputation. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and there's just too much spam, scam and get-rich-quick empty promises reaching epidemic proportions in this modern incarnation of the internet.
These quotes from Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn are just too phenomenal to pass up. Buy his stellar book: 'Welcome to the Funnel' to here and rock out with him! Underscore, double-underline, solar-flare high ninjitsu kick on these gemstones of quotes:
If you’re not using some kind of marketing automation… you’re behind the times!”
I’d rather one piece of content be viewed by 15 CMOs that I want to reach than a thousand-practioner types that we’re not trying to reach”
It’s 2015, folks: Native advertising – if you’re not paying to promote your best content then you’re missing opportunities."
At the end of the day, you don’t need to create more content you need to create morerelevant content”
I worry about our messaging being too forward-thinking…it’s no good if what you’re saying is not relevant to your audience or their current interests”
You have to repurpose the hell out of your content – make sure it’s optimized for every channel where your audience is.”
Marketers who use the right technology can now show their contribution to pipeline and prove that they’re a revenue-driver not a cost center.”
Don’t let your ego hijack your content strategy… I’m not concerned with the number of shares, I’m concerned with who is sharing it.”
It's time to break down the silos and competing methodologies and realize both groups are very much morphing into the same thing. The 'smarketing' of 2020 is about attraction. It's about building audiences and increasing engagement. The sales cycle on magnificent content can take up to 2 years to convert according to the prescient Tony Hsieh of Zappos. Here's a mind-blowing slideshare by Rand Fishkin of Moz that you should sit through explaining why your content marketing efforts are failing. It has massive implications on complex B2B marketing and sales alignment.
You have to ask yourself, whenever you are producing any type of content, Who will amplify this and why? ~ @randfishTechEmergence
Now it's your turn: Where do you see sales and marketing going? Will it become 'smarketing?' Will this battle du jour ever end? Do you agree with this article? I would love to hear your most outrageous or innovative thoughts about revolutionizing sales and marketing into something that works in a modern context below.
If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website: www.TonyHughes.com.au.
Main image photo by Flickr: MGEARTWORKS