Three crucial, rising trends are shaping the current and future state of integrated sales and marketing work. First, a changing workforce made up of digitally savvy workers who have a lot of technology and trends at their fingertips. Second, a focus on customer experience and what it means to communicate value to buyers. And third, rising demand for sales and marketing teams to change how they execute and work to help sellers compete. These three trends are driving new, modernized sales and marketing approaches built on collaboration, collective purpose, and focus on what works for customers and the sales team.
Sales and marketing leaders who want to thrive and remain competitive need to focus on increasing their team's value contribution, and not just responding to trends. Teams in marketing, field marketing, sales training, knowledge management, process, customer experience, and quality all have a role to play in helping create the right content, skills, and tools for sales conversation impact and success. To get there, and to effectively team with relevant groups, sales and marketing leaders must:
DEVELOP A WORKFLOW STRATEGY
New products, services, and solutions require sales and marketing leaders to think more strategically about their digitization and work management strategies to add value to sales. If they don't do that, they're "enabling customer conversations" in theory, but not in practice.
If sales and marketing leaders don't have a digital transformation strategy that factors in an operational workflow, they risk losing visibility into the value they're creating for sales. And if that happens, they won't manage cross-functional work, and they won't be able to quantify the impact of what the teams produce for sales and customer impact.
They will also struggle to co-create value with other teams (i.e., sales, marketing, product, and operations). They will find they launch initiatives that are 'dead on arrival' instead of embraced by sales and sales leadership. And they will quickly discover that they lose the transparency required to optimize their teams and leverage insights to close the gap.
When that happens, the content, skills, and tools they produce have already lost value and impact on sales. Meaning the gap between their team and the sales team will continue to widen, and the difference between sales and customers will continue to expand.
LEAD TO OUTCOMES
As corporate strategies continue to accelerate in the age of the customer and digital disruption picks up pace, sales and marketing leaders are dealing with challenges at a more human-level. Sometimes it's easy to forget we're in a knowledge working business. What that means to many is providing outputs and services to others internally, and eventually to end-user customers. Much of the value people create is intangible value, based on experiences, skills, and processes merging to create something of value. Additionally, it's easy to forget we're in the 4th industrial revolution. During this time, new capabilities such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, and robotics, rapidly change how humans create, exchange, and distribute value. Each revolution has created a tectonic shift in how people work and how people create value. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Fourth-Industrial-Revolution-2119734)
This shift is coming from simple digitization (the Third Industrial Revolution) to innovation based on combinations of technologies (the Fourth Industrial Revolution). As a result, it is forcing companies to re-examine the way they do business. The bottom line, however, is the same: sales and marketing leaders need to understand their changing environment, challenge the assumptions of their operating teams, and relentlessly innovate.
Sales and marketing leaders would do well to study and learn from other professions about how they prioritize work, resource work, and create together. Other jobs, such as software developers, have developed a much better ability to team based on initiatives and drive collective vision than their peers in marketing and sales.
MAKE TIME FOR CLARIFICATION
The vast majority of sales and marketing leaders value the time their teams spend on innovation and creativity. They want to maximize that time. They want their teams to spend less time on administrative tasks like email, manual data entry, and other manual tasks. While these are important distinctions, there is a third group of work emerging that sales and marketing leaders must make time to address. And, that's the time for talking about and reaching clarity. Clarity is the often-overlooked barrier to creativity. While it may be easy to assume that "everyone knows what value means" or "everyone knows what we're selling," the situation couldn't be further from the truth.
Generating clarity across functional groups (like delivery and sales and marketing) is extremely challenging. Many sales and marketing leaders struggle to find time to clarify the expected outcome of their work. They don't have the time to define their processes and how those processes add value to other functions -- or the customer. Some may consider this "conceptual work." However, sales and marketing leaders recognize that the conference calls, meetings, and "whiteboarding sessions" aren't achieving the desired impact in today's work environment. There is much friction.
To make time for clarity, sales and marketing leaders are asking:
Who is the specific audience for what we're building?
How will reps use it with customers, and how do we get visibility into that?
Who has the "Veto power" on saying our content is valuable or "good."
What do we mean by _________________ (insert strategic buzzword or solution capability here)? How do our customers and sellers define it?
What is the economic value of the work we're doing for and with each other? What value are we creating that others leverage to close the gap to customers?
Who signs off on what? Who provides us what?
What do we do, and how do we accommodate feedback and "anomalies" we weren't expecting (from sales, from customers, from services?)
To thrive in today's sales and marketing environment, leaders must steer their teams toward the right content, skills, and tools for sales conversation impact and success. Developing a workflow strategy, understanding the current change in the environment, and creating clarity across groups will support this desired effect.
Growth Matters is an international business founded in 2011. This consulting and services organization focusses on the development and practice of sales management and sales enablement. Our team of world-renowned experts spans the globe enabling businesses to improve sales conversations through services and solutions aligned to sales strategy. Charlotte, NC (USA) is the headquarter of our Americas operation. With dedicated offices in South Africa (EMEA), and Sydney (APAC), we regularly facilitate senior-level workshops in 17+ cities in countries. For more information on equipping sales managers, and aligning to sales leadership, contact the Growth Matters team at http://www.growthmatters.today