In my five-step guide, The Ultimate Guide to ROI-Based Marketing & Sales Alignment for Manufacturers, I outline the top five most important components for a real return on investment from marketing and sales. This article dives deeper in to the first step: Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams.
Its Time to Get Calibrated!
As a manufacturer, you work tirelessly to reduce costs while delivering the highest quality product in a timely manner. With a focus on engineering, supply chain and machinery it's no wonder that manufacturers often overlook their revenue engine: Sales and Marketing. To drive business growth both sales and marketing teams need to be calibrated for optimal results.
Buyers have changed the way the buy. In years past, manufacturing companies could focus on a sales-only strategy, meaning they traditionally did not need a strong marketing infrastructure. Today, buyers are conducting research online and being relevant during the research phase of a buyer is critical for new business revenue. Understanding that marketing is critical for being relevant the sales and marketing roles have changed.
Marketing: Today, your marketing team should focus on brand awareness and getting your business found. This is the first and most critical step in the equation. You must position your company as a viable choice for a prospective buyer. Buyers don't call you anymore. Buyers want information fast and they want to do business with a company that has a good reputation and this reputation must be conveyed in your online presence.
Sales: Cold calling is out. Buyers don't want to be bothered or interrupted and sales people are finding it harder and harder to "get in the door" at target prospects. Today, sales should focus on the higher priority sales activities that drive stronger relationships and more qualified quotes and proposals.
In review, marketing should focus on getting your business found by buyers that are already looking for our product or services and salespeople should focus on building those relationships and closing more sales.
Just like fishing: marketing throws out the chum and sales reels them in.
First and foremost, if you do not have a marketing team or a marketing person on staff get one and make sure they have a strong comprehension of digital marketing. Key skills include search engine optimization, content writing, graphic design, videography, social media and marketing automation. My experience is that it is nearly impossible to find someone with all of these skills, hence why hiring a marketing agency is often more affordable and efficient.
Now that you have a marketing team, get your sales and marketing teams talking. Ensure that there is a solid plan for accountability and desired results from both teams.
Sales and Marketing Teams should:
- Have common goals with clear responsibilities.
- Have an integrated technology solution including Customer Relationship. Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation (MA) software where all efforts by both teams are tracked, measured and analyzed.
- Have a clear understanding of your buyers needs and desires.
- Hold open conversations about marketing and sales challenges and trends.