In the era of modern business, the role of marketing and sales functions has shifted considerably in recent years. The marketing department is no longer a mere generator of inbound enquiries; their influence can take prospective clients from the point their interest is first piqued, through a process of building up a trusted relationship, to persuading them to purchase your products and services.
And at a time when lean and agile businesses must carefully prioritise their use of valuable funds, the shift away from large traditional sales functions can dramatically lower the cost of sales.
The challenges faced by sales and how marketing is stepping up to meet them
The changing landscape of sales is nothing new. The proliferation of online social media, review sites, search engine targeting, and YouTube channels means that customers are awash with information on products and services, and they are making buying decisions in new ways. For example, YouTube ‘influencers’ now carry such huge sway in buying habits, this specialist field is now worth around £4 billion globally, and is growing rapidly.
Meanwhile, according to Hubspot’s ‘State of Inbound’ report, sales prospecting is getting harder and harder globally, in part due to the lack of quality leads they receive; “salespeople say they source the most leads themselves, showing a potential rift between marketing, who should generate the most leads for sales teams to work”. In addition, according to 40% of respondents, prospecting is harder when compared to two years prior because they are not getting responses from prospects. It is considered that businesses with closely aligned sales and marketing functions are more likely to lead to growth, but only 26% of responding businesses had what they deemed ‘tightly aligned’ teams. Therefore, it is logical to conclude, the lack of quality prospects is due in part to the lack of effective integration of marketing and sales functions.
Another reason for the falling number of quality prospects is the decline of trust held byprospective consumers and decision makers in some forms of advertising. In the results of a 2017 survey on the global state of consumer trust in advertising, 83% of people found online ads disruptive, viewing them as “fake news”.
Interestingly, print ads are still seen as the most trustworthy, followed by TV, radio, outdoor advertising. And when it comes to online, search ads (such as pay per click), and video advertising is seen as most dependable.
From this, we may logically conclude that consumers are increasingly in search of products and services they can trust, and businesses adept at affecting this confidence can reap considerable rewards.
Marketing is now tooled up for the job
The traditional role of marketing was to create and promote brand awareness through online and print advertising and other channels such as trade shows and events. While effective, it was something of a blunt weapon in the fight to reach potential buyers, as not only were theythemselves sure if they were reaching their intended audience, they didn’t know what worked most effectively. Marketing has evolved, now becoming something of a science, albeit with a strong need for creative and artistic flair. Personalised data-driven marketingdelivered through a carefully selected array of channels to the most receptive audience is now reaping transformative results, with speed and accuracy being seen as the biggest benefits. And to achieve this, a knowledge of data analytics is essential in addition to peoplewith a strong knowledge of:
- Overall business strategy
- Marketing strategy
- Branding Industry and consumer need
- Products and services
- Social media
- Content crafting
While we are not saying salespeople will disappear, what we are proposing in this article is that sales must now be driven by a well-connected and resourced marketing function at the hub of your operation. The focus of sales and marketing teams should now be to build trust in potential customers. So important is this, 91% of Chief Marketing Officers state thatdeveloping trusted customer relationships is now a key emphasis of their departments’ strategic vision. According to Woody Driggs, EY’s Global Advisory Leader, businesses“need to leverage real-time data and analytics to enable them to be forward-looking and predictive, to know what the customer wants even before they do.”
Organisations with intuitive data analytics platforms which enable them to make sense of and gain insights into corporate data will gain a competitive advantage, but knowing how, and what to do with it, is key. Without a clear marketing strategy, not only will prospects continue to decline, but savvy competitors will have the ear of your audience.
Building a new sales and marketing function
Where to start Making the transition from a more traditional sales and marketing led organisation, or one that has lost its way, to one that can lead the way through best practice, needs expertguidance from the outset. In a world of agile business, many are choosing to seek outside expertise in the form of Consultancy as a Service (CaaS) from sales and marketing domain specialists who can quickly recommend how to reshape and resource teams for maximum effect and to meet the objectives of the business. Reach Revenue specialises in working with SME’s to craft their sales and marketing teams, starting by undertaking a current state analysis, then determining the next steps for maximum effect. Because Reach Revenue is at the forefront of data analytics techniques for sales and marketing, this forms the basis forour initial recommendations, iterative testing, and refinement to find the optimal model,always with the aim of minimising your cost of sales by considering the use of agileresourcing.
Reach Revenue works with business owners, leaders and investors to develop high performing sales and marketing teams aligned to the strategic objectives of their business. To find out how we can help you, please call 0203 858 8030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.