Most manufacturing-based companies emphasize sales efforts over marketing communications, and in doing so, they unknowingly cap their sales growth opportunity. This emphasis probably results from being more familiar with sales processes than communication strategy, and while deemphasizing marketing communications is unintended, its minimized role hinders revenue growth over what is typically a long sales process.
See if this captures your situation:
When a sales opportunity surfaces, it’s immediately passed to someone who attempts to convert it. If a quick sale isn’t made, the lead is set aside so the salesperson can move on to their next opportunity. Sometimes the lead is captured for future follow-up, but this is often a lower priority than other “hotter” sales opportunities, so it only happens occasionally. The net result is that prospects are not given the long-term attention they need and deserve, and salespeople are tasked with trying to close a prospect who may not be ready for a sale. Your company suffers though unfulfilled salespeople, lack of a sales pipeline, and lower sales volume.
Contrast that approach with one where marketing communications and sales efforts work in harmony:
A long-term communications program is initiated for prospects, providing relevant information that is needed as they progress – on their own timing – through their buying journey. Based on the information requested, the prospect’s stage in the sales process is identified, and when they are ready, a salesperson easily converts the sale. The prospect is more familiar with your company, has more knowledge and faith in your abilities, and is ready to speak with a salesperson. Sales and marketing are each used for their particular strengths. The company benefits from a well-defined sales funnel, a prospect database, and highly productive salespeople who generate more revenue for the company.
Marketing communications is best applied for long-term relationship building, providing the information needed throughout a long purchase cycle. Sales is best used to ease a prospect across the finish line. Metrics are established to ensure that marketing and sales are working as intended.
To be successful with this approach, companies face three key challenges:
- To provide strong leadership to utilize marketing communications and sales efforts together for their greatest advantage.
- To have the fortitude to develop and fund an ongoing communications program – with success metrics identified – that creates long-term value through engaging prospects to become profitable customers.
- To work with a communications agency that understands buyer personas and sales journeys, while identifying and fulfilling communication needs along the sales journey.
Studio/D has helped many clients align communications and sales efforts for immediate and future revenue growth, while building a raving fan base.
Shifting from a sales focus to an integrated marketing and sales approach requires knowledge and dedication from your sales/marketing staff and agency. Give us a call if you’d like to demystify the communication process to grow your company’s customer base and revenue.