To optimize the success of any marketing or sales campaign, the priorities and activities of the Marketing and Sales teams should be coordinated. Pretty obvious, right? This is truly a situation where “One plus One can equal Five or Six! Unfortunately, getting this mix right is the exception rather than the rule in our industry. Why is that, and what can be done about it to improve sales performance?
We learned in our college classes that Sales and Marketing are related disciplines and that, in fact, Marketing grew out of Sales Management. So why is it often so hard for these groups to get on the same page? For starters, the personalities of those attracted to sales versus marketing roles are often very different. Assertive, individualistic, and goal-oriented status seekers gravitate toward Sales, while more introspective, process and project oriented folks tend to opt for Marketing. These differences in personalities can create tension. The process for collaboration between these groups needs to recognize and address this.
Additionally, the different business languages, goals, and time horizons for each group can get in the way of effective cooperation. Even worse, these differences can lead to either internal competition or even finger pointing when things go wrong. At the very least, a bit of unfamiliarity and even distrust often exists between the two groups.
This disconnect leads to five behaviors that can be detrimental to sales and marketing performance. For instance:
- Sales and Marketing campaign calendars are developed in isolation from one another.
- Marketing campaign goals are developed independently without Sales force insight or buy-in.
- Marketing launches campaigns without leaving time for the sales teams to adequately prepare
- The product focus of the Marketing campaign is inconsistent with what the Sales force is focusing on
- Marketing views its job as “advertising” and does not provide sales tools, sales leads, etc. to support the campaign
What Is To Be Done?
Given the performance enhancement that occurs when this is done right, senior bank management can’t afford to let a Sales and Marketing disconnect persist. It’s imperative that executive management work with Sales and Marketing management to get them to collaborate effectively. Putting aside personalities, there is a straight-forward process for getting this done. Let’s look at the key components.
A “Six Point Plan”
Create a Win-Win Partnership. Executives need to get Marketing and Sales together, lay out common goals (i.e. growing new households, growing deposits, etc.), and set the expectation that the two units will work closely together to achieve the goals. Incidentally, individual and team goals and incentives should also be reviewed and aligned if necessary.
Collaborate on goals and campaign calendars. It all begins with Marketing and Sales talking about what needs to be accomplished in the next quarter or year, and agreeing on common goals. Then sales and marketing campaigns to achieve those goals should be defined and their timing should be coordinated to reinforce one another.
Leverage sales force insight in creating Marketing campaigns. Work together to select product offers and stipulations that will resonate with consumers and stack up favorably against competitors. Remember to avoid a common offer pitfall – only making it available to “new customers” or “new money” while forgetting about your existing loyal customers.
Coordinate Marketing campaign launch with Sales Management support. Provide ample time for sales force training and sales campaign creation. Emphasize internal education to build sales force engagement and excitement around the campaign. Don’t restrict training to product and offer – be thoughtful about how this specific offer can lead to a relationship discussion. And remember, effective internal communication is more important than advertising. If your sales force doesn’t understand the program, or isn’t excited about it, customers won’t be either.
Use analytics to improve productivity. Marketing and Sales Management should work together, using internal and 3rd party data to identify the most likely customers and prospects to respond to each campaign. These lists should be delivered to each sales person at the very beginning of a campaign, and results should be tracked, reported, and celebrated frequently.
Create shared measurement and reporting. Since the Marketing and Sales goals are the same, common metrics for success should also be used, and shared Sales and Marketing reporting should be created and reviewed together at least weekly, and jointly presented by Sales and Marketing leadership to executive management at least monthly.
The Six Point Plan for Marketing and Sales Collaboration may take 6-12 months to get fully in place. But it’s absolutely worth the effort. We have consistently found that when this approach is taken, the probability of your Sales and Marketing teams collaborating skyrockets, and so do your sales results.
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