How Sales and Marketing can Work Together to Achieve Business Excellence
Updated on August 19th, 2021
With the entire world transitioning to online, retailers and enterprises alike are facing a serious transformation in the way they do business. With the global pandemic altering the way in which people purchase and absorb information, marketers and sales teams are being forced to adapt.
In order to get there, it’s vital that businesses have the right leadership team in place – across both sales and marketing. Australia’s recent National Skills Commission report shows that sales and marketing management will be in strong demand in the future and the good news is that Australians have the right skills to meet this high demand right now.
Traditionally, sales and marketing departments operate in their own silos – often to the detriment of the business. In order to meet the ongoing demand for both roles, organisations must invest in upskilling their sales and marketing teams simultaneously, in order to fulfil both functions and properly meet demand.
Sales and marketing excellence starts with learning from one other (a core principle in the Business Excellence Australia framework) which could potentially mean getting marketers in the front line, sitting in on customer meetings. It might also mean sales having joint responsibility for the marketing budget’s return on investment. Until both teams can share the responsibility for business outcomes, the business as a whole is put at risk. Joint business planning between sales and marketing is key to achieving the right business objectives in today’s world.
Going beyond the CMO
Amongst all this change, the role of the CMO is shifting, with more of a focus to educate the board on the business benefit of customer-centricity. A recent study by Deloitte found customer-centric organisations are on average 60 per cent more profitable than those who don’t have the customer at their core.
As We Are Unity’s Jonathan Pease explains, marketing roles are absolutely vital to overall business growth: “The world is awash with new ideas and innovations but if you can’t tell that fresh story to the market, you’re dead on arrival. Those in marketing roles, along with their agencies and partners, are a key ingredient in achieving the ‘product-market fit’ that every brand and business desires.”
But aside from simply growing the business, it’s now also the CMO’s job to persuade the board that customer-centricity equals growth. Clearly, growth is something that’s always on the mind of every board member, but advocating for customer-led growth shouldn’t be the CMO’s job alone: sales has a key role to play, too. And looking beyond the traditional C-suite roles, could it be time for a chief growth officer (CGO) to join the executive team with a combined sales and marketing remit?
In order to unpack these issues and more, we’ve spoken to several leading Australian marketing agencies on how the role of their sales and marketing teams have changed in the last 12-18 months.
King Kong’s sales-first approach
At digital marketing agency King Kong, founder and head of growth Sabri Suby has perfected the art of having marketing and sales work in tandem. The agency has made this happen by using a sales-first approach, backed by the marketing know-how the agency is known for.
“Throughout the pandemic, my team has become even more disciplined, and more focused on sales – even if that’s hard to fathom, since we use a very sales-first approach,” says Suby.
If anything, sales teams become infinitely more important to any business at a time filled with economic uncertainty and lockdowns, says Suby. “A sales team needs to be able to transition from selling in a one to one environment in-person to being able to do it on a zoom call or over a telephone. There’s a lot more skill that is required in order to be able to convert a prospect over the telephone than doing so in person.”
Saby explains how King Kong’s emphasis has always been over the telephone, so the adjustment hasn’t been quite as dramatic for the agency. However, he warns: “For a lot of businesses that are used to selling face to face, selling over the phone requires a whole different level of skill.”
Sales teams & marketers, by planning together and learning from each other, can also use audio and video remote working tools to their advantage. These communication tools give them the ability to invite more decision makers onto the joint meeting and at a time most suitable to their prospective clients, particularly when negotiating and closing business. Sales and marketing team communication becomes critical when you have a dispersed team or key stakeholders overseas, especially when we’re experiencing adversity during a global pandemic.
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