Joined Up Sales And Marketing – Part 1
Over the past three decades a lot has changed in sales and marketing, not least how these two disciplines, and the teams who fulfil them, work together. Digital technology has played a leading role in these changes, at first bridging the gap between sales and marketing, and then creating a defined divide between the two. Now, sales and marketing are re-aligning in what is being called the “Revenue Era”.
At first there was the Brand Era (pre-2000), where most advertising was offline (think print ads in media, billboards and printed mailshots) and there was no concrete way to assign a particular sale to a specific marketing activity. Measurement was done by press mentions and the nebulous “buzz” that really wasn't accurately quantifiable, but based on media mentions of the brand. Sales and marketing were two very separate activities.
As marketing moved online and digital started to take over, we entered the Demand Generation Era (2001 – 2019) where sales and marketing started to share some common ground, but still operated as two distinct forces. Digital technology allowed for proper targeting of marketing messages and even opened up the conversation about which channels worked best. Prior to this, marketing channels were limited to mainly print and cold-calling, but this era brought digital (including email, social, adwords and paid search) methods to the table. Performance could be tracked more precisely and it became possible to link a particular sale to one exact impression of a digital advert. Despite this link, marketing departments were still just responsible for generating demand, and then leads were the sole responsibility of the sales team to convert.
Post 2020 we are in the Revenue Era. This is where sales and marketing come back together and start to function as one unit, or rather as a team with shared goals. Instead of marketers getting leads in, and sales being tasked with converting them to revenue, both teams are looking at the same end goal. In this era, staff and customers are digital natives and have an intrinsic understanding of how digital channels work. Print is no longer the behemoth it once was, even in magazines (which are now routinely consumed in a digital format) and we have many more metrics against which to measure performance. Marketing and sales are about the experience of the product, with the best experience coming out on top, and companies are recognising the value of their existing customers, marketing to them with excellent content that turns them into brand ambassadors.
One of the bonuses of the pandemic was that it forced a new way of working. Remote working fostered new relationships between employees and teams that may once have worked in the same building without ever communicating properly, but who were now chatting on the same Slack channel. With this new relationship came much more productive ways of working as people realised they all wanted the same thing, and that sales and marketing teams could collaborate in real time – no more waiting for a monthly meeting and feedback.
So, now we know how sales and marketing have evolved alongside each other, sharing some goals but keeping each other at arm's length until the new Revenue Era of marketing came about. In this new era how can companies ensure this is happening, and how do we manage this when marketing is outsourced to an agency, and/or sales teams may be working remotely?
Join us in part 2 to find out.
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