Bridging the Gap Between Marketing & Sales
If you were to google “the gap between marketing and sales” you’d be hit back with 33,900,000 results. This is because the gap between marketing and sales is an issue many companies grapple with on a daily basis. However, what we have found through first-hand experience is that the struggle occurs not because there is an actual gap, but because there is a faulty or weak bridge to cross it.
To illustrate this point, we’ll use a pretend Company X that employs one person, Suzie, for their marketing department and another person, Bob, for their sales. Suzie is an excellent marketing executive who excels at her job. As such, she has conducted all the necessary market research to discover the ideal buyer persona for the company’s products and services. She has used that knowledge to advertise and market Company X through all channels possible such as social media, email, direct mail, white papers, blogs, articles, relationship marketing, brand marketing & PR. Through her efforts, Suzie has amassed a list of leads, which she passes along to Bob in sales periodically as they come in.
Bob is an outstanding salesman. Roughly 70% of his appointments turn into clients for Company X. Plus, he has great client retention rates. Like most salesmen, the part of the job Bob dreads the most is cold calling. He finds it very frustrating because the leads are so hard to get on the phone and, even when he is successful at reaching them, they usually try to brush him off. Some of them don’t seem to have even heard of Company X! He wonders if Suzie is doing her job right. Meanwhile, all these new calls make it harder for him to follow up on the leads that he HAS managed to move further down the sales pipeline. Plus, he is also expected to follow up and talk with his current customers to make sure they are happy and to see if they would like to purchase any other services/offerings or if they would refer him some new clients. Needless to say, Bob has a lot on his plate, and calling Suzie’s not so warm (sometimes even cold) leads gets put on the back burner.
When Suzie finds out that Bob is not calling her leads she becomes quite irritated. She understands that Bob needs to take care of current clients and everything, but how can they ever expect to get new business if Bob doesn’t follow up on the leads she sends? And how does it reflect on her work if Company X isn’t getting any new business from her marketing efforts? This could put her job at risk! Suzie tries to help Bob out by calling all the leads as well but she’s not very good at it and it takes away from the work she should be doing as the head of marketing.
As you can see, there is not so much a gap between Suzie and Bob as there is a ball that is being dropped – calling the leads. That is the weak and faulty bridge. Suzie’s no good at it. Why should she be? She was hired for her marketing acumen, not her cold calling ability. Bob is better, but he wasn’t necessarily hired for his cold calling skills either. He was hired for his ability to close the sale and his ability to retain the clients once they got there. Cold calling is not his strong suit. Plus, it zaps his energy and takes up a lot of his time.
It would be better for Company X to hire a third person, Christie, to call the leads. (Or, to hire Company Y to have a team of people call the leads.) Christie (or Company Y) should be experts at cold calling with the skill set to turn those leads from Suzie into appointments for Bob. This is how you can eliminate the “gap” between marketing and sales. This is how you build a strong bridge between the two. That bridge is an essential component to a company’s ability to drum up new business and it requires a person to manage it that is uniquely and singularly qualified to do so.