Let me explain.
There’s a saying that sometimes goes around in companies that have both a sales team and a marketing department – when times get lean the marketing people will be the first to go, and the sales people will be the last.
On the surface it makes sense, without sales (i.e. without customers) your business will die.
There is one big problem with this rationale:
- We’re assuming that sales reps are the only path to the sale.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we don’t need sales people – actually, I believe that hiring an excellent sales person is one of the best ways to grow your business.
But, we can’t treat marketing as that thing, over there that we don’t have time for….because we’re too busy in sales meetings. Marketing and sales are so tightly intertwined that it’s sometimes hard to tell the two apart.
Case in point, here are two real-world examples…
Mini Case Study: River Pools
It’s 2008 in the United States and the economy has crashed; right along with it went luxury spending. By January of 2009, River Pools, a swimming pool manufacturer in Virginia, is on the verge of bankruptcy.
In a last ditch effort to save their company the owners decided to do something that no one else in their industry had done. They set up a blog on their website and used it to write articles that answer all the questions prospective buyers ask them about swimming pools.
They aimed to be the Wikipedia of fiberglass swimming pools.
Well you know what happened…their website started popping up in the search results of buyers looking for information to help them make their decision.
River Pools became, and still is, the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world. They’ve completely recovered financially, and now have revenue that exceeds their pre-2007 numbers.
To give you an example of the numbers…just one of their blog posts has generated over 2 million dollars in revenue; another single post on their site has generated more than 1.7 million dollars in revenue.
As you can see, the lines between sales and marketing are very blurred. Are River Pools’ blog posts “selling”, or “marketing”, or “both”?
Mini Case Study: Effing Oyster
— Effing Rob (@effingoyster) March 16, 2013
This is a story about an oyster farm in Effingham Inlet…a remote area on Vancouver Island.
It’s 2011 and sales were flat. So General Manager, Rob Tryon, decided to try something different. He signed on to Twitter and chose a catchy handle that would become his brand: @EffingOyster.
By using Twitter to connect with food bloggers, top chefs and restaurants, Rob grew his sales by more than 30% in a year!
River Pools and “Effing Oyster” weren’t saved with traditional sales and advertising…instead they did something completely different and created new paths to the sale. This allowed them to reach new markets, and new types of markets that hadn’t responded (or even known of their existence) before.
That is one reason why marketing is just as important as sales.
Here are 5 more…
1. Your Sales People Can’t Reach Everyone
Who needs marketing when you already have a team of sales reps on the ground? Answer: Every company.
Let’s face it, no matter how fantastic your sales reps, they won’t be able to reach and connect with every potential ideal customer for your business. Are we in agreement on that?
Marketing allows you to reach exponentially more people…and, if your sales region isn’t bound to your local community, marketing will give you a big boost because it allows you to reach anyone, anywhere in the world.
Even if your sales reps could “reach” everyone,
2. Not Everyone Wants to Talk to a Sales Rep
You know the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? That’s how I feel about sales and marketing. Yes, some people love talking to sales reps…others run in the opposite direction, screen their calls and delete their emails.
If engaging with a sales person is about the only way clients can do business with you, or learn about your products/services, you’re missing out on a big piece of the pie.
Here are three reasons why marketing supports sales,
3. Marketing Creates Warm Leads
Ah, warm leads, aren’t they great? Someone calls up, they’ve already researched your company online or got to know you through Twitter and now they want to buy, or at least talk about buying.
If you have a website, packed with lots of great information, that website will be creating leads even when your office is closed. Not that a website is the only place to generate warm leads – perhaps it was an informative newsletter, sponsored event, free ebook, YouTube video or social media post.
4. Marketing Nurtures Your Leads
Unfortunately the timing isn’t always right. They might not need your help, products or services right now…but they probably will at some point in the future.
Under a traditional sales model, your sales rep would probably make a note in his or her calendar to call this “prospect” back in two months, or six. With marketing there’s a better way.
For example, a savvy real estate agent doesn’t just leave behind their business card and magnetic calendar. A savvy real estate agent uses helpful and timely content to stay in touch, inform and help. Such as a quarterly e-digest with extremely helpful information for anyone who owns a home.
A savvy insurance company uses social media, video and their website to answer questions (the good and bad) people often have about buying insurance.
5. Marketing Helps You Close More Leads
Simple as that.
I can’t put it any better than in the words of Marcus Sheridan, partner at the previously mentioned River Pools:
“If somebody reads 30 pages of my River Pools Web site, and we go on a sales appointment, they buy 80 percent of the time. The industry average for sales appointments is 10 percent. So, our whole marketing campaign revolves around getting people to stick around and read our stuff, because the longer they stay on our site, the greater the chance they’re going to fall in love with our company.” (Source: NY Times)
To reiterate, marketing is as important as sales because marketing is sales, and marketing supports sales. :)
Photo Source: Christopher Johnson