Managing Your Role In The Selling Process Is Key To Marketing Success
You have all seen this before – the classic “Selling Process” (aka “the Sales Funnel”. Any marketer you come across should be able to explain to you how this works – in theory. The challenges happen when the marketing team’s idea of how this works does not align with upper management. Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence.
What happens when the board or C-Suite have a different view of Marketing’s role in this process than you have? At a minimum, you end up wasting precious resources. At a more serious level, this can lead to some pretty tough discussions. This can all be amped up if sales results are not meeting expectations. So . . . getting alignment is key. But how do you get there?
Aligning Expectations on The Selling Process – Three Simple Steps
Achieving alignment may not be easy, but you can get on the right track by following these three simple steps.
- Get to know how your sales team interacts with customers. There is no substitute to seeing this live in the field, preferably right in front of the customer. Are there things you could provide them with to accelerate this process? Are they calling on true qualified leads, or are the “customers” glorified cold calls? Ask your rep: How do you define a qualified lead? It is crucial you perform this first before jumping to step 2.
- Ask Executive Management what they expect from Marketing. Yes – you need to ask them. Ask them to describe (in detail) how they see marketing’s role in this Selling Process. This is not a 15 minute discussion. It might not be completed in a single meeting. Be sure you are asking many questions, and taking good notes. Let them know you will be doing a lot of “capturing” and will need this great input from them as you develop your marketing strategy.
- Re-Define Your Marketing Strategy. You are now armed with very valuable information from the market as well as the company principals. Your marketing strategy will be centered on alignment. First you include recommendations for changes in how you equip the sales team to drive new business. Then the tougher one. You have to point out areas in which executive management has to “modify” their expectations. They will be far more accepting of this when you wow them with your field research. Along with your updated marketing strategy and planned activities.
Having these valuable conversations with the field and executive management will begin the alignment process. You will likely discover other nuggets/ideas in the process that should also help drive results. Time to start having those conversations – and asking questions!