A recent Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) report
on marketing and sales fusion was a gutsy move from the organisation. On first sight, it's easy to make some pretty broad and reactionary responses to it. But on closer inspection, the report actually offers a wealth of interesting insight into the changing dynamic of both sales and marketing, and how these two sometimes unhappy bedfellows are actually capable of great things together.
Firstly, the logic of sales and marketing needing to work more closely together to generate a more ROI- and optimisation-driven approach is undeniable. No company, no matter how large, can deny the importance of this, and the wide availability of technology and tools to support this goal has made it more attainable. The industry is now quickly evolving its understanding of impact in digital channels, and the knowledge that impressions and clicks are not the be all and end all of success or resultant sales is also changing the landscape for the better.Why the disconnect?
The assertion that the CIM itself is responsible for the chasm between the two departments is, however, wrong, and loftily so. Certainly, separating itself out from 'Sales' in name and purpose back in 1963 by changing itself from the 'Institute of Sales & Marketing Management' to the 'Institute of Marketing' impacted the organisation and its members, but the wider business world has much more to answer for. I am oversimplifying here, but it could be said that the core, yet rational, divide between the short term goals of sales revenue and the longer term positioning ambitions of marketing in the pre always-on, real-time media days created this unhelpful separation. The difference served a valuable purpose too -- proving the need for and value of productisation, audience segmentation and differentiation in the time of the growth of mass consumer choice -- but now it is time to reintegrate for the good of businesses of all sizes, and therefore the CIM should be strongly applauded in this regard.
A nod must be given to the psychology of the small business, and to the CIM report for also mentioning this. While we are growing fast, everyone at Magnetise knows how his or her activity and approach affect the bottom line of the business. We are all salespeople and we are all brand ambassadors and, therefore, marketers too. Big business, of course, doesn’t have this luxury, but it could relearn a thing or two from the SME community. On a broader level, in today's social media world, the direct contact each and every employee can have with both customers and prospects is starting to impact on the mindset of corporate organisations regardless of their size. This is helping big businesses understand the importance of educating and supporting its employees in how best to represent the company.The challenge of integration
However, this reintegration cannot happen at the expense of the deep and diverse principles of today's modern marketing dynamic. In a world where data is now king, 'the new oil' if you will, it has never been more important to use that data cleverly to support marketing activity that drives sales results. Yet marketing also has a responsibility to take note of the other source of invaluable data, which is the direct and impactful experience of the sales department. Imagine a scenario where a company persists in trying to persuade a certain demographic to buy its latest widget, despite the fact that that demographic persists in refusing to buy -- and buy into -- it. Madness. As Einstein said, 'Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.' Unfortunately, this can and does happen. The upside
Just focusing on the downside would also be insanity though. We see and support superbly successful sales and marketing campaigns every single day, and this gives us some useful insights into how the chasm can be crossed. Take a mobile phone company, for example, that is looking to grow its customer base through the provision of free SIM cards. The obvious success metric is cost-per-SIM request, but once you take into account the wastage from SIM cards that are sent out but not used, the figures would quickly go south. So instead, we focus on the cost per activation, and then cost per account to provide a true indication of value. This brings together the marketing and sales results into a single cohesive view of success -- one that is supporting a reduction in total costs of over 40 per cent while increasing activations by a double digit percentage.
There are also great examples being set by the many agencies that support brands' sales and marketing goals. It is very rare for us to come across an agency that does not look at the long term value (i.e., ROI) of its activity, After all, in today's world, burning budget and not delivering to a client's bottom line will not engender a long-lasting, successful relationship. Quite often, in fact, the agency is the one to raise the issue of short term versus long term focus, and to help the brand to understand the ramifications of their separatist approach to sales and marketing. The role of technology
Luckily, technology today allows for collaboration and integration at an unprecedented level. Unlocking this capability provides a means for campaigns to pivot and diversify according to segments, actions and other short and long term intelligence. In addition, the ability to import sales data and set in place exacting measurement criteria that evaluate and inform campaigns is now available to all, and therefore if you are only measuring the 'skin deep' aspect such as clicks and visits, rather than the full funnel, you're essentially part of the problem, not the solution! Sales teams want and need marketing activity that is low risk and designed to achieve a particular business outcome. An Accenture report
from last year makes interesting reading on this point. It asserts that the industry will naturally and necessarily move towards a CPDO (cost per desired outcome) approach, whereby pricing is tied back into core campaign objectives.The final word
In conclusion, the need for objective-based pricing is pressing, and the industry is more than ready, and more than capable of fulfilling this need. The transformation that this can and already does provide ensures that money is well spent and yet we still see far too many examples of campaigns that don't, or can't, migrate a client's budget to creating a strong bottom line impact on the business. Many big brands are still buying on a high risk model and seem to lack the desire to dig deep into ROI analysis and really put their money to work. We are certainly not suggesting that the creation of a solid marketing strategy, creative solutions, planning and optimisation are not needed, but modern marketers are increasingly aligning their work and their goals with the values held dear in the business and sales departments, and this is where future success lies. Peter Gowrie-Smith is MD of Magnetise Group