I was catching up with a recent client to check in to see how they were doing and to offer to have a little chalk talk with their leadership team.
I’m working on a presentation titled Sales and Marketing Integration for 2014 and Beyond with sort of a subtitle of things you need to do and understand if you actually want to stay in business. One of the things that my friend was sharing with me was that he was in the process of interviewing a couple of sales folks and thought he had found someone really good with lots of experience and all that.
I said, “Pete, I hope you understand that in 2014, hiring a great salesperson is almost irrelevant if you don’t have the right infrastructure in place. They can’t be successful.”
He said, “Well, what do you mean?”
I said, “Well, I guess the best way I can explain it is to think about a football game and the concept of a football drive. I need to move the ball 100 yards (or some portion of that) and get it across the goal line. It’s very instructive. Imagine you’re a football team, and you’ve got somebody who is extremely talented at getting across the goal line in kind of a final clutch 20 or 30-yard scenario. In fact, you might even say that you can equate it with a talented kicker who can score you your three-point field goal, but they have to be within a certain range of the goal post. You can’t kick a 100-yard field goal, but you can kick 30 or maybe even a 40-yard field goal. That resource, no matter how useful, no matter how talented, no matter how incredible, is completely useless unless you get them into the desired range where they can be effective in that last 30 or 35 yards.”
In today’s day and age, the process of buying and selling is such that buyers want to engage much later in the process with a salesperson. When I say “salesperson,” I mean someone who practices the traditional art of selling, the traditional competencies of product presentation, needs assessment, pitching, demonstrating, comparing against competitors, etc.
So fundamentally, our prospects are not even willing to interact with us as salespeople until much later in their buying process. The internet and other elements out there have really created an environment where they want to educate themselves. They want to talk to their peers. They want to go in social networks. They want to do a lot of their own due diligence, and more than anything, they don’t want to be sold to until much later in their own buying process.
So how does somebody who comes in and is very talented and credible as a salesperson and very good at presenting, have any effect on day one when they’re starting out in their new book of business trying to sell to folks who are not really buying anything at that moment in time? There’s a lot of work to be done to get them in range of the goal post.
This is where my position stands that in 2014, if you have not thought through the need to integrate sales and marketing from a both traffic generation, engagement, conversion to an opt-in list and then nurturing of your prospects with content that is relevant to them and presents you as a credible resource, your very talented, very expensive all-star team kickers will never get within range of the goal post, and you’re going to burn a lot of time and effectiveness trying to get them to be successful when they’re literally just kicking the ball and coming short again and again.
So I hope that analogy makes sense about how in 2014, one of the things you really have to think about is how you will integrate sales and marketing, how you will feel the launch of credible content marketing, nurture marketing effort to get your players close enough to the goal to make a difference.
By Townsend Wardlaw