The B2B Brand Differentiator
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Marketing manager vs agency
Let’s be honest: the founder of a company seldom has the whole package. More specifically they tend to either have a sales mindset or a marketing mindset; rarely can they see the benefit of both.
When a founder is proficient in one aspect it can start to takeover. You do what you know because you know and do it well. Naturally, it’s important that you play to your strengths but you shouldn't let it blind you to better options.
The comfort zone bias
The founder of a company that I used to work for was all sales. It was what he knew and, considering he had started his own business with that mindset, what he trusted. As such, the ratio of marketers to salespeople was 1:5 – with me in the lonely position of the single marketer.
Unfortunately, to that sales-driven founder, taking on the mysterious realms of marketing seemed a big risk. Consequently, my one-woman-marketing-band remained understaffed and, despite the clout of my ego, there was no way I could conjure up sufficient marketing mojo alone.
This left the salespeople cold calling or, at best, chasing lukewarm prospects. I simply couldn’t churn out enough nurturing content on my own to get a steady flow of leads through the sales funnel.
The secret sauce
Articulate, you might have guessed, is at the other end of the spectrum; we love our marketing. We don’t just do inbound marketing for our clients; it’s how we work to get clients in the first place.
Back when Articulate was starting out with inbound, we were great at attracting visitors. Why? Because we had great content that people wanted to read. Unfortunately, our conversion wasn’t so hot, meaning all those keen prospects remained one step away from becoming customers.
We knew that pure marketing could only get us so far – and the same applies to sales. [Tweet "For the best business results you need sales and marketing to be an unstoppable dream team."]
The sales methodology
Outbound sales is the equivalent of going up to a stranger in a bar and asking them out on a date. You like their look, but you don’t know anything about them or even if they’re single.
The same goes in the office; you can set targets for the number of cold calls a salesperson makes in a day, but is that really a worthwhile metric? You could make 10 calls or 50 but if none of the prospects are interested it’s wasted time.
So why do people still use this method? Because it’s proactive and immediate. You’re not slowly courting a prospect over weeks; you’re picking up the phone and talking to them today. You can qualify a lead after one conversation – and you can disqualify the chaff just as quickly.
The marketing methodology
Inbound marketing is the equivalent of internet dating. You’ve reviewed their profile, they’re clearly single and they’ve shown interest. It looks promising so you suggest meeting up in person.
The problem is, it’s a slow burner. You still have all that small talk to get through, all the likes and dislikes. You have to take them out on a few dates to build trust and see whether it really is a good match – just like your marketing strategy.
You write a blog post, then another, then an email newsletter. You attend an event and hand out a brochure, you write a follow-up email, then you deliver a content offer and hope that you’ve done enough to convert the lead into a customer.
You can be my wingman anytime
Separately, sales and marketing both have their merits, but it’s only when they start working together that everyone’s true potential is realised. Instead of acting like opposing forces, or thinking that one is better than the other, it’s high time businesses started seeing sales as the Iceman to marketing’s Maverick.
The Smarketing movement
Smarketing is far from the prettiest word in the English language but HubSpot champions the movement because it aligns the goals of sales and marketing. Like us, HubSpot believes that bringing these two forces together is the best way to achieve your business goals.
As part of their certification process, HubSpot offers an Inbound Sales Certification to teach sales (and marketing) teams how to identify potential buyers and guide them through the sales funnel.
If the sales team need more qualified leads, it’s back over to marketing, but the two must team up to create a plan that works. Sales need to communicate their definition of “qualified” so that marketing can deliver the right targeted content.
This is where HubSpot’s manual lead scoring comes in. Businesses with a HubSpot portal can assign a score to a selection of criteria such as social interactions, click-throughs and blog engagement. When a prospect matches any of these criteria they accumulate a score.
For example, any lead that has engaged with the company on Facebook scores 1 point, filling out a form might be worth 3 points but unsubscribing from email communication may be worth -5 points. From here, sales can then filter through every contact with a lead score higher than, say, 10 points and focus only on those. In the meantime, marketing works on delivering content to those with a lower score to nurture them up to a 10.
Let our powers combine!
Getting sales and marketing to work effectively together requires active input on both sides. You need to set up regular meetings and link together the goals of both departments. After all, everyone’s overall objective is the same: to get new customers.
It’s time to end the war between sales and marketing and bring in the age of collaborative working. In the words of The Planeteers ‘This calls for a team beam!’
(Hat tip to Pandawhale and Culture Crossfire for the images)