The War Between Sales and Marketing May End Thanks to Social Selling
Since modern times began war has raged between sales and marketing departments. As far as the sales department is concerned 'marketing' never delivers enough qualified or hot leads; as far as marketing is concerned 'sales' just destroy valuable leads and have no appreciation of the brand build value that they get.
It goes further; some marketing people think they are more intelligent, educated, cultured. They know how to look at data, and interpret it and build messages as a result of it. They clearly understand what the customer needs and how product development should respond. Quite often, in fact, they lead in telling product development what to develop. But as far as the sales people are concerned despite all of this claimed genius, this intellect, marketing has never got its knuckles bloodied by actually speaking to a customer or trying to close a sale in a competitive market.
But is 2015 set to be the year that changes all that? Top social selling commentators brought together to analyse the progression of the social selling phenomenon certainly think so. In a Q&A session with Artesian Solutions, sixteen prominent sales industry thought leaders highlighted the role of social selling in bringing together the sales and marketing functions.
“The war is over and they are now able to work in synchrony,” said Brynne Tillman of Social Sales Link. “What the marketing department creates and implements is now truly able to target the right decision makers and influencers that convert to better leads and more business.”
This seems to be suggesting that a confluence of these two great abilities: the selling ability of the sales people with their communications and people skills and the intellectual ability of the marketing people, may yet find themselves in harmony under the guise of social selling.
“Social sellers need food for thought to be delivered at the client’s door and they are not the best equipped to produce the materials, so marketing and sales collaboration is being put in the spotlight.” Said Jordi Gill, founder of Execus.
Opinion is divided about what social selling actually is, but at its core it’s the same sales rules applied with new tools. Since selling began in earnest, probably in the 1930s insurance industry in the USA, the more information a salesperson could have about a prospective client the more likely that they would be able to do business. Through the advent of social networks, we all inadvertently publish information about ourselves, and businesses consciously do. The issue then is how to provide intelligent sales individuals with the relevant information from social networks so he or she can use it to their advantage in the sales process?
This is where marketing comes in, as Geoff Molander, Sales Trainer and Publisher, says: “Effective marketers use social media to attract customers and generate inquiries based on piquing customers' curiosity. This is systematic, effective and easily adopted by front line sellers. B2B content marketers will build new bridges with sellers to increase productivity. Marketing automation will see more success as reps get better at helping marketing to design and structure content to produce outcomes.”
They key to success is finding a way to cut through the dross. Prospective buyers are bombarded with unsolicited and unwanted approaches. Therefore the only way to stand out is to have information that is relevant to that particular individual or company and this is the essence of social selling, using the tools available today to get that information to make conversations with prospective or existing customers more relevant.
Tibor Shanto, author of ‘Shift!: Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers’ agrees: “ The smart sellers, look for something that enhances their selling and expands their toolkit for engaging and selling to customers. True social selling is not about masking other problems that exist in your sale or sales organisation, but about leveraging some, not all, social resources to
enhance the buyer experience, and by extension your sales success.”
Make no mistake, selling is still a very tough job, but made easier undoubtedly with the Internet and accessibility to intuitive, information-based tools. If marketing people are as clever as they like to think, they'll make sure their sales people have access to these tools and this information.
Perhaps then the peace will not be phoney.
To download a report on the Artesian Q&A session: www.artesiansolutions.com/resources/social-seller-leaders