Minding the Gap Between Sales and Marketing
A successful sales process is a complicated series of events that ultimately pays off in the victory of a “win,” as so many closers like to call it. This end point is always the sweetest part of the process for those who sell because it represents the culmination of their struggles, and brings a feeling of accomplishment. These are feelings each of us can relate to, regardless of our profession. In the complex sale achieving this sales “victory” involves a process in which all players have a unique understanding of their positions and what they are required to do in order to win.
Many people who want to get their foot in the door in the complex sales world start in lead generation. If you have ever worked in complex sales, you know that establishing initial contact with prospects is a challenging part of the process. I believe it is the best place to start because it teaches you to leave your comfort zone. Calling a prospect for the first time is one of the crucial “make or break points” of any sales process. This call sits right in between the transfer of the complex sales process from the marketing department of an organization to the sales department.
Minding this gap and taking prospects across the threshold from being a “Market Qualified Lead” to a “Sales Ready Lead” can be a daunting task. In my work with the lead generation company memoryBlue over the past nine months, it has become apparent to me that the gap between the marketing and sales departments of organizations is sometimes quite wide. When you work in a lead generation role you have a unique view into the many issues that can exist between these two departments of an organization. I’ve found that if you mind this gap effectively, you will not only become successful at producing good quality leads for the sales teams you work with — you will also be better prepared for the rigors of a future career closing complex sales.
I define my view of the “overall sales process” in simple terms. The marketing of a product or service is the beginning. The initial outreach is the middle. And the actual sales cycle is the end. In lead generation you sit firmly in the middle of this process. Your job is to utilize the initial steps that the marketing department has taken with prospects (such as publishing white papers, hosting informational webinars, ad campaigns, etc.) and translate them into a value proposition for a prospect. This means that you are in control of ushering the prospect from the marketing department to the sales department. You have to make sure that the lead is qualified, and you have to make sure that you have generated solid interest. As such you are a critical asset — because your words will either allow the overall sales process to continue or stop it dead in its tracks.
Being in the middle of this process gives you the key opportunity to foster greater communication between the marketing and sales departments of an organization and to gain a unique perspective into the challenges that both departments face. Moreover, you sit in a position to help the two groups streamline results. Bringing these two departments closer together helps the company grow and puts you in a position to advance your career.
You should never be afraid to start a sales career in lead generation. The experience will help make you an effective sales professional in the future, and teach you the dynamics of the interplay between the sales and marketing departments of an organization. When you shift to a role closing deals, the knowledge you’ve gained will allow you to communicate more effectively with your organization’s marketing team. Ultimately, you will be a more effective sales professional because you have learned how to deal with uncomfortable situations, you have experienced the “make or break” dynamics of talking to a prospective client, and you have learned the value of communication between people in achieving a common goal.
Are you the kind of person who thrives in dynamic situations and enjoys new conversations? See if you’d be a fit at memoryBlue.
Mark Musitano is one out of only two memoryBlue inside sales professionals to elevate to Senior Account Executive in our firm of 72 employees. In this position, Mark surfaces revenue opportunities for his big data clients and his pacesetting performance led to his selection as a mentor to two other inside sales professionals who he currently coaches. Mark is a graduate of American University where he earned his bachelor of arts in Public Affairs.