Many companies have worked, and are still working, to improve the association between two functions: Marketing and Sales. The challenge is to collaborate, to move in the same direction to achieve the overall objective of the company more quickly. Yet, according to a study by Sirius Decisions Research presented last year, only 14% of B2B companies align Marketing and Sales – Basic Guide.
This means that in 8 out of 10 companies, during a product launch, Marketing does not act in synergy and synchronization with Sales. In other words, each one works separately, which makes the success of the new product, say, “hit or miss”.
Faced with this observation, I wondered how to make Marketing and Sales work hand in hand? And an answer came to me: they must both merge and unite around a mutual friend, the client.
Sales Marketing, Isn’t The Customer Obvious?
In recent years, the majority of companies have been thinking “customer first” and “putting the customer at the heart of what they do”. They are “customer-centric”. Therefore, aligning with the customer should be the easiest solution. Apparently, the customer is everyone’s friend and everyone wants to be the customer’s friend.
We Need A Link
For Marketing teams, customers represent knowledge for different reasons. As they (too) rarely meet customers directly, they adopt a general and top-down approach: they study the market as a whole to manage product ranges and structure marketing actions. The client is in the background.
The object of announcement effects, slogans or signatures,
the customer is sometimes just a distant acquaintance.
On the other side, sales teams visit their accounts, manage their customer base, and initiate actions on their portfolio. Everyone is limited to knowing their perimeter. In this local and bottom-up approach, the market is in the background.
In short, the top-down stops before the arrival of the bottom-up (or vice versa). This causes a major difficulty in alignment. A link is missing to unite the two worlds of Marketing and Sales.
- I made the assumption that the client can be the liaison between Marketing and Sales as a mutual friend.
- However, we realize that, in practice, Marketing and Sales do not have a common vision of the customer or prospect.
- So we need to find a way, based on the customer, that connects the world of marketers and salespeople. This link, like the famous saga, will allow the customer to become “the prodigious friend” of Sales and Marketing, and to be more than an acquaintance.
- The good news is that it does exist and it is called “customer segment”.
A segment is a portion of the customers and prospects of a market, distinct from the others, although complementary to them. The addition of the segments gives all the customers, existing and potential.
Each segment groups together several customers with common traits, to the point that we can draw a typical portrait of the companies/customers and prospects of a segment.
How will Marketing and Commercial carry out the segmentation?
Here is the protocol that I propose:
Marketing And Sales
Marketing and Sales can work wonders together if they have a common, nominative, hierarchical, qualified list of customers, to whom their actions can be directed together.
This list is the result of a progressive collaborative segmentation work that begins with the identification of market expectations: Marketing brings the results of his studies and the salesperson feeds his experience into effective meetings with customers/prospects.
The deliverable is a plan of joint actions, posted in the office of marketers and salespeople.
In Conclusion :
Segmenting the market is a classic activity for a marketer; in parallel, sales representatives generally work on the basis of a commercial segmentation of the customer portfolio (often with the ABC cross matrix).
The key to the Marketing Sales union ultimately is the reconciliation of segments.