Marketing is not the new Sales, but the future is S-Marketing

In my role as a Marketing strategy consultant, I always encourage my clients to move from the traditional Marketing vs Sales dichotomy to embrace a S-Marketing approach, where Marketing and Sales work together, playing to each other’s strengths and interchange roles in a fluid and effective way.

Why? 3 monumental shifts have happened:

  1. New and more complex Buyer journey. Nowadays it’s the buyer that initiates the buying process, the buyer researches information that is not necessarily controlled by the seller, and obviously, the buyer journey is no longer a funnel but a series of touchpoints where brands compete to attract, and critically, to engage their leads.
  2. DATA. Before, marketers would advertise on billboards, invest in a TV commercial, or send out letters, but it was close to impossible for a Marketing team to track how many people engaged with their campaigns and what impact these effectively had on the bottom line, leaving it to the Sales team to communicating and engaging with prospects. Today, a buyer journey can be tracked from the very first interaction, through all of the various nurturing campaigns all the way to conversion, both from a Sales and importantly from a Marketing perspective. Nowadays digital and in part also traditional campaigns can be tracked, demonstrating how effective they have been in supporting business development.
  3. Accountability: because of all this data available, Marketing is now accountable for bringing leads in, for qualifying them, for nurturing them and even for converting them, when relevant. Creating general brand awareness is no longer an option, and ‘vanity metrics’ such as likes, followers and shares, per se have no value. Companies want to real ROIs of Marketing investments.

Creating general brand awareness is no longer an option, and ‘vanity metrics’ such as likes, followers and shares, per se have no value. Companies want to real ROIs of Marketing investments.

The Challenges:

  1. Shift in power between Sales and Marketing. More accountability equals more responsibility but also more power.
  2. The need for Marketing and Sales to work in synergy to ensure that they reach their target audience at the right time with the right message in the right way, without duplications and especially without conflicting messaging.
  3. The challenge of attribution: who gets rewarded for bringing a new client in? Not only that but also, what is the percentage of value for instance of the first visit to a website thanks to a successful SEO strategy (Marketing domain), vs the management of the call that followed that first visit (Sales domain)?

The opportunities

  1. Shifts in balance of powers are  often upsetting for internal dynamics but this one is actually an opportunity for both teams:  for the Marketing team it’s the chance  to move from the ‘fun’ and Party’ role to a more mature role where they can see the real difference they can make to a business without constantly having to prove that they are good at what they do, and for the Sales team it’s an opportunity to get concrete support and to leverage new technologies enabled my Marketing to simplify their job. It is not a war, when well executed is a win-win situation.
  2. For S-Marketing to work, Sales and Marketing need to work together. Not just on paper, but in real life. Many platforms like SalesForce and Hubspot already allow the same account to be used for both purposes. Teams need to give up old discrepancies and work together towards a common goal. The most forward-thinking companies do it already with extremely effective results.
  3. There are different attribution models, and the key is the ability of the business to track and analyse data. Some basic models are:
    • First and last interaction (40% and 40%, splitting the remaining 20% between the different nurturing activities)
    • Linear (% split equally across all interactions)
    • Single interaction (a company decides what is the single most important touchpoint that gets the full credit.)

Obviously, they all have pros and cons and the decision should be made in agreement with both parties.

Is your company already implementing s-marketing? Do you have any suggestions for other businesses out there that haven’t embraced the change yet?

Please leave a message and let us know what you think of this new approach to marketing.