Do you look at marketing as a cost center or as a revenue center? If you answered “cost center,” you’re missing out on a big opportunity. However, don’t feel bad. For a long period of time, marketing has been seen as just that: a necessary but overall costly part of doing business. Revenue? How could it actually impact that?
But things are changing, and fast. Buyers are much more self-educated than they were ten years ago (or even ten months ago). They’re studied up, Internet savvy and turning to social communities, like LinkedIn and Twitter, to see what people are saying about brands. They’re so knowledgeable, in fact, that many business buyers have already made a decision about what they’re going to buy before talking to a vendor.
In response, sales needs to adapt and be on equal footing with the buyer. Luckily, marketing has a wealth of knowledge at its disposal to help them do just that. Marketing can enable sales reps to be as educated as the buyer so that they know exactly where the buyer is and help them move forward in their journey towards a sale. In doing so, marketing can helps sales reps better do their job and, in turn, actually impact revenue generation in the process.
When computer animation came on the scene, it was initially met with skepticism by traditional animators. “Why mess with a good thing?” they said. “That isn’t going to last.” Over time, however, the ease-of-use and value of computer animation gave it an edge of traditional animation, and now it’s the industry standard.
Before you can use marketing to generate revenue, you’ll need to bring about a similar shift in culture. Marketing needs to be seen as an equal partner to sales. This is easier said than done, however. You’re fighting with decades of commonly held beliefs. Sales needs to be made aware of the dramatic shift in buyer aptitude, and marketing needs to step in and do some of the heavy lifting.
You’ll be better able to integrate your sales and marketing if you do the following:
What do you do when you’re interested in a particular brand? You probably visit that brand’s Facebook page, right? You likely ask people about said brand on message boards or read reviews about their products on sites like Amazon. Needless to say, you don’t just take a brand’s claims at face value; and neither do your buyers.
Whether your sales reps are social media savvy or living-in-the-90s Luddites, it’s marketing’s job to educate them, to provide them with enough info so that they are as knowledgeable, if not more than, the buyer. That way, when leads come in, sales will be better equipped to guide the buyer through their journey.
Educating your sales reps will be easier if you do the following:
Take the proper steps to integrate both teams, and watch how marketing can have a direct impact on revenue generation. While complete synergy won’t happen overnight, by providing valuable information and getting sales reps up to speed with buyers, they’ll be better equipped to guide buyers on their journey. Make that process smooth enough, and marketing will be seen as a key player in revenue generation.
Now, ask yourself again: do you still see marketing as a cost center?
This article was inspired by my Moneyball for Marketing podcast featuring Karen Walker, Senior VP of Marketing at Cisco.
Originally published on MarketingProfs.
Image: Courtesy of Bloomberg
Glenn Gow is an expert in marketing performance, Coach, Board Advisor, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host and Founder & Advisor of Crimson Marketing. Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. To get a free copy of Crimson’s One-Page Marketing Metrics Funnel, visit here.