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Conducting great marketing!

Following on from my post on the importance of Sales and Marketing Alignment; another example of many parts working together to deliver great results is the practice of Integrated Marketing.

There are many different tools and techniques available to marketing people, much like instruments and musicians in an orchestra. When these musicians come together in an Orchestra playing a great symphony under the guidance of a skilled conductor then the resulting sound is so much more impressive than any of the individual sections could achieve alone.

Each musician in an orchestra is a specialist and can play with expertise and individual talent, listening to solo performances is often impressive and moving, but for me, the real power of orchestral music is in hearing the coordinated and highly integrated sound of a symphony.

There is a strong analogy here with Integrated Marketing; the different parts of an orchestra are like the different marketing tools and techniques; the musical score is like the marketing plan; the composer is your marketing strategist and the conductor, of course, is the marketing leader responsible for the overall execution and delivery.

Another aspect of this metaphor for great marketing is that great conductors (marketing leaders), became so because they learnt and are accomplished musicians in their own right, normally skilled in different instruments and musical styles. This is important, as when you are looking to bring onboard marketing leadership, having someone with a breadth of skills and experience is as important as depth. This, of course, needs to be accompanied by up-to-date knowledge for example in Digital and Social Media Marketing and Marketing Automation.

If you’d like to discuss Marketing Leadership or how to effectively plan and deliver integrated marketing, why not get in touch?

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The whole is greater than the sum of the parts!

I have always been impressed by the teamwork exemplified by the Royal Air Force Red Arrows display team. A group of highly skilled and accomplished individuals that when working together in sync demonstrate impressive agility and discipline that is both effective and engaging.

A key area in business that teamwork, alignment and trust is essential is that of Sales and Marketing.

Sales and Marketing often see themselves as two separate breeds; in fact, I have heard Sales refer to Marketing as the colouring-in department and Marketing refer to Sales as the Dine and Dream team.

The real truth of the matter is that Sales and Marketing are all members of a single team and if these parts are not working in sync, then the whole business will suffer.

There are many articles, websites, training courses and even entire companies focused on helping companies with Sales and Marketing alignment; sometimes I wonder why it is so hard to achieve…

There are clearly some different sets of skills as we move from the Top of the Funnel towards closing the deal, but these skillsets should be seen as entirely complementary, which when combined effectively, create an outstanding business growth team.

If we want to build something that is going to last and withstand onslaughts of all kinds then first and foremost we need strong foundations. In my experience, there are three core principles that are the foundation of an aligned sales and marketing team. These three core principles are two-way commitments:

The first is Visibility – sharing between the teams, details of activities, planning, research, messaging and content.

Secondly, and closely linked to Visibility is Engagement – seeking cross team input and active involvement in both planning and execution of sales and marketing activities.

Finally, Respect – understanding and acceptance of different strengths, perspectives and approaches.

Getting involved and providing input ahead of time means everyone should be informed, prepared and coordinated and ultimately more effective and happier!

These probably seem like pretty basic and common sense things that all professionals in different teams should be doing? To be frank, they are; but doing simple things well and consistently is the foundation of excellence is based. Unfortunately, when I have witnessed a lack of alignment between Sales and Marketing, these basic principles are usually missing!

Building upon these three core principles; the next layer is Understanding. To achieve a good understanding between Sales and Marketing, we need a common language with agreed terms and meanings.

The language of Sales and Marketing starts with the Sales Funnel, Pipeline or Demand Waterfall – in short, the process of attracting and closing business.

It will be subtly but significantly different for different businesses; however, the key factors to define include;

• Target Markets and Organisations
• Buyer Personae
• Lead Scoring Factors
• Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
• Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
• Acceptance and handoff criteria
• Key messages for different sectors and personae
• Agreed ownership for activities and stages of the process
• Performance Metrics throughout the process

There is a lot more detail and specifics that follow, but with a commitment to Visibility, Engagement and Respect and an agreed Language and shared process; then the foundations for truly impressive Sales and Marketing alignment are set.