We released our new book, Leads Are Good But Sales Are Better, less than a month ago and it has already run up the direct marketing charts on Amazon.
Which is funny, because we think of ourselves more as sales experts than marketing experts – even though we’re both.
Another funny thing: even when we talk about both marketing and sales, some people only hear the “marketing” part. When we message prospects about what we do, we may not even mention marketing, because sales executives tune it out.
But we do our best work with sales executives, not marketers.
SALES EXECUTIVES WANT RESULTS
Sales execs want sales. But, often, all Marketing cares about is branding and mid-stream metrics like
- SEO rankings (often on low-volume keywords)
- E-newsletter open rates sent to warm lists (not new prospects), or
- Website visits (which are not even leads yet).
Salespeople don’t care about that stuff. They care about sales.
Let’s be frank. Unfortunately,
MANY MARKETERS DON’T CARE ABOUT SALES
Many marketers don’t know how to generate sales. Or even how to warm up quality leads salespeople can close.
Marketing may say, “Sales development? That’s a Sales job!”
No, actually, if you are a good copywriter, you can out-SDR most salespeople.
And incentive-wise, the marketing paycheck is not affected by a lack of sales. They’re not rewarded for getting more sales. So, really, why expect them to care?
I hate to rake my old profession over the coals – I started as a marketer and advertiser – but I am embarrassed by the laziness and lack of ambition I see in them.
People get into marketing for many reasons- maybe they like branding (which does not by itself generate leads or sales). Maybe they love nerdy metrics. Maybe they just like making things pretty.
I don’t know, because from the start (with Google ads), my marketing focus was always on driving sales and ROI. And over time, selling my own services and those of others, I became better and better at sales.
So, you get it…
MANY B2B MARKETING DEPARTMENTS CAN’T SUPPORT B2B SALES DEPARTMENTS THE WAY THEY NEED TO BE SUPPORTED
What happens when Sales is unsupported?
- Salespeople do all the prospecting, but without an expertise in data, targeting, or sales development. It’s an uphill battle.
- They’re hunting, developing, and closing, which is a ton of work.
- They use inferior data sources inefficiently, which leads to lower quality leads, more work, and wasted effort.
- They don’t have a background in direct response copywriting or in how to test which phrases get the most results, so they lose potential sales in the sales development phase.
SUPPORTING SALES & INCREASING CLOSING CONSISTENCY
If you know salespeople at all, they can be idiosyncratic loners who insist on doing things their own way… especially star salespeople, who sales managers may feel they have to treat with kid gloves. Plus, you have non-stars, who the stars don’t want to mentor. That means the Sales team often has no consistent processes, which leads to inconsistent results.
When a Sales department like that goes up against another company whose Sales team is follows processes, is on the same page, and is handed warm, “Ready to Talk” leads by a competent B2B Sales Development team, who do you think is going to win? Almost always, the second group.
If your salespeople are doing three jobs (hunting, developing and closing) instead of one – closing sales – what does that do to their output? It cuts sales dramatically.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION? THE SALES BRIDGE
Many modern sales teams include Sales Development Reps (SDR). Their job is to take prospects from a teeny, tiny bit of interest (maybe the prospect responds to an outbound message), to active interest and readiness to talk to a salesperson (“Yes, I’d like to talk to you about this”).
SDRs also often do some parts of sales qualification, such as, for example, uncovering Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline (BANT).
The warmer and more qualified the lead, the more your salespeople can focus on
- Increasing rapport,
- Scoping the contract, and
- Closing the sale.
Smaller and newer teams often force their salespeople to do the sales development, which as we’ve seen above, hinders sales. That’s where we often come in as a vendor, not just to assist with sourcing leads, but developing them to hand off to your sales team.
The overall point is: the traditional approach of combining a Marketing department with a Sales department is insufficient. The two departments need a bridge.
It may be unrealistic to ever think the Marketing and Sales teams could be combined into one department. I think it’s worth trying so that everyone is aligned and on the same page. But until that happens, you either need a vendor like us, or you need to hire more expertise into a Lead Gen + SDR department that can bridge the gap.
Take a look at our new book, which covers all of this in much more depth, and let us know what you think!
Find out more about what we do at Gerson & Associates.
I also do sales and marketing keynotes and workshops to inspire and equip salespeople and help them evolve into more effective sales teams.