It is no secret that sales and marketing departments typically have an adversarial relationship. Sales wants marketing to provide better leads, and the marketing department thinks the sales team isn’t doing their job effectively because they don’t close the leads that they give them.
Traditionally, marketing agencies look at the “hand off.” The handoff is where the marketing qualified lead is passed along to the sales department for “qualification.” I use the word qualification loosely because many of these leads are not truly ideal clients that are appropriate for any sales engagement at all.
Taking a step back and thinking about things from the lens of the Ideal Client Experience enables us to remove the barriers that traditionally exist between sales and marketing. This might involve:
- Considering the client’s motivation at each stage of their experience and any friction that is keeping them from moving forward
- Determining what could be done to minimize that friction for the client and grease the skids to get to the next stage
- Deciding what role that sales and marketing have in greasing those skids to enable movement. Operations comes into the picture as well when you are looking at the product or service delivery stages of the client experience.
Let’s look at a practical example from our experience as to what this might look like. I am sure you have clients that are leveraging some of your products or services, but may not be taking advantage of everything that you could do for them.
Two primary reasons for the client not taking full advantage of all of your products and services that we typically see are:
- The client is not fully aware of the impact that you have on their business
- The client is not aware of the value of the full suite of products or services that you might be able to provide for them.
So what can be done? Conceptually, the client needs to be reminded from time to time of the impact of your products and services on their business as well as the additional outcomes that your company can provide for them.
How can sales, marketing, and operations align around this? Here’s an example solution with two complementary parts:
Implement a Periodic Business Review Process
This is a sales-led strategy where you can:
- Get calibrated on your client’s business
- Report back to the client on the success metrics that you are delivering for them. Operations can usually support this by providing metrics and insight on what is going on from a delivery perspective.
- Gather additional insight from them as to how your products and services are affecting their business. This will help you have future discussions with prospects and other clients.
Implement a Communications Plan
This is a marketing-led strategy that might leverage platforms like email and social to ensure your clients are aware of all of the possible outcomes that you could deliver to help them with their business.
This is just one example of sales and marketing (and operations) working together to improve the client experience instead of being at odds with each other about “leads.” Thinking about things from the clients perspective can align the thinking of the entire organization around improving the client experience to grow revenue.
Both sales and marketing have a role in taking the client through the experience with your organization. With sales and marketing working together to create a great and seamless experience at each stage, there will be more clarity on what makes a good lead and how to convert that lead to be a loyal and happy customer.