Sales And Marketing: Blurring Lines In The Digital Economy

Tara Mead

For many years, marketing and sales had distinct roles. Marketing was the engine that drew in leads for the sales team to close, and that was that. However, as technology advances and customer behavior changes, this process is becoming less clear-cut. In today’s digital economy, the customer is more accessible than ever, but with that accessibility comes the onslaught of information thrown at them by potential suppliers.

Current digital and traditional marketing activities are almost endless as marketers can communicate with potential and existing customers through many channels. However, isolated marketing activities will only succeed so far if they don’t have the insights and customer knowledge that the sales teams bring to the party.

So how do marketing and sales find balance and work together?

Agree on the “ideal customer”—together. Salespeople should have a solid understanding of what makes a good customer for your company and how best to serve the needs of customers in that specific industry or line of business. The marketing team should know what kinds of marketing is effective at reaching specific people. Together a complete picture of the right target customer and how to reach them can be formed.

Collaborate on a value proposition to reach that ideal customer—together. A good value proposition identifies the pain points that your target audience experiences and shows how your product or service can help. Asking your existing customers why they buy from you is a great way to confirm or gain understanding on the key points to tailor your proposition to potential customers. This creates a cornerstone so that both marketing and sales can focus their efforts on a consistent compelling customer-centric message.

Use the customer persona to create relevant and engaging content—together. By now marketing and sales should have an appreciation of what their “ideal customer” is and the value proposition required to support them. They can start creating tailored, compelling content to establish trust and expand their customer base.

Create and execute a digital marketing strategy—together. Developing a combined plan to disseminate your targeted content into your market through joined-up social selling, digital marketing practices, and website content will help ensure a consistent and effective message. Measuring results and revisiting your assumptions to ensure you are still meeting the objectives of your customers will keep your sales and marketing content relevant.

SAP is helping support partners with their digital marketing and sales efforts through many initiatives including the SME Marketing Academy, social selling training and marketing training.