In his 1954 book, “The Practice of Management,” management guru, Peter Drucker, famously declared:
Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.
And yet, six decades later, Sales still takes precedence because it is responsible for a company’s top line revenues. It’s only in the past couple of decades¾with the advent of the World Wide Web, social media, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, marketing automation platforms (MAP) and a prolific demand for purposeful content¾that Marketing is finally getting its “revenue” due. In marketing-driven companies, as Drucker always wanted them all to be, the Chief Marketing Officer is gradually being recognized as an integral part of the corporate Revenue Performance Management (RPM) team.
So what is it that is bringing Marketing and Sales closer together in today’s hyper-connected, social media savvy, content rich business environment? One of the primary reasons is the evolution of a more tightly integrated E = MC6 ecosystem and the evolution of the social Enterprise, which The Marketing Id has previously defined as:
A social Enterprise is one that supports Mobile, Customer-centric, Cyber-secure, Cloud-based, Communications, Collaboration & Content.
In this new E=MC6 ecosystem, Marketing and Sales take a holistic, same view, customer-centered approach, in which the business strategy is to optimize interactions with customers and prospects across a company’s revenue cycle to enable predictable revenue growth. This RPM strategy requires a business to manage its revenue cycle across an extended, yet integrated “sales and marketing” funnel as shown below:
Looking from left to right at this integrated funnel, it’s pretty clear that before anything enters the funnel, there is an overarching business strategy, which defines what goes into and what comes out of it. With this overview in mind, the following is a discussion of the five well-known, yet newly synergistic, factors that are compelling Sales and Marketing to work in sync towards achieving business goals:
- Marketing drives business development strategy; Sales executes it to generate revenue.
Thanks to the Internet, search engines embedded with sophisticated algorithms, CRM-integrated MAP platforms, and social media applications supplemented with monitoring tools, Marketing now possesses reasonably accurate scientific means to generate and maintain an ongoing awareness of a company’s value proposition. The corporate RPM team uses this awareness to generate a business development strategy that Sales executes to generate revenue.
- Marketing generates leads; Sales closes deals.
The old-line method of telemarketing is slowly dying on the landline vine and the traditional Sales cold call is losing its efficacy as The Marketing Id had anticipated almost four years ago in, “Hello Sales, the Cold Call Just Got Warmer!” Thanks to MAP and inbound analytics, Marketing can generate more hot leads and in a more efficient manner than cold calls ever did. Sales can thus focus on closing real deals and delivering more predictability to a company’s revenue stream.
- Marketing provides competitive intelligence; Sales uses it to outsmart the competition.
Competitive intelligence is no longer either the sole or the reliable domain of professional analysts and their magic quadrants, which while useful at a strategic level are not granular enough to impact a company’s tactical revenue generating decisions. Again, thanks to the increasing power of search engines, social listening and Big Data analytics, Marketing can closely monitor the competitive landscape and hone in on prospects with much better accuracy than ever before. The closer the Marketing Qualified Leads to Sales Qualified Leads ratio is to one, the better Marketing is doing its job in analyzing the competition and qualifying prospects. Sales then needs to use its innate selling skills to outsmart the competition.
- Marketing owns the product ecosystem; Sales owns the customer base.
Rumors of the demise of the original 4Ps – product, pricing, placement and promotion – have been exaggerated ever since Al Gore invented the Internet. Again, almost four years ago, in “How Inbound Marketing Is Driving the B2B Marketing Mix–Viva La 4Ps!” The Marketing Id had revealed how a company’s product ecosystem had benefited because:
“Clearly inbound marketing has become a rather useful driver of the traditional B2B marketing mix – in fact; the 4Ps have become more reliable and effective within the new marketing paradigm!”
More importantly, while Marketing has gained a more customer-friendly hold on the product ecosystem, Sales has also seen a commensurate benefit because it is able to use this customer-driven product lifecycle to more effectively manage not only its customers, but also its prospects. Deal making, while still an art, has thus become more predictable.
- Marketing owns the content ecosystem; Sales disseminates content per requirements of RPM lifecycle.
In the new marketing paradigm, the cliché “content is king” is being superseded by the reality that content marketing is ace! Marketing owns the content ecosystem for sure, but barely four months ago, The Marketing Id had discussed “Overcoming Content Marketing’s Two Biggest Challenges.” If Sales too needs to be “targeting the right content in the right amounts to the right audiences at the right times” – Marketing simply has to find the time to create this content as required.
Finally, the good news from the Internet and social media revolutions has been the evolution of a tighter relationship between Sales and Marketing. While the former remains a very sophisticated art, the latter continues to evolve into a more exacting science. Together the synergies between Sales and Marketing are breathing new life into the revenue generating abilities of the business enterprise.