Marketing is not sales and sales is not marketing. Marketing is the stick, sales is the sharp end. They’re both good, because if done well, they make you money. Consider them a couple, that if working well together create beautiful children.
Chris Brogan had cool post yesterday talking about the “Best Fits for Social Media in The Sales Cycle”. Social Media fits well into the sales cycle and it also fits VERY well into marketing cycle. Chris hit some key points on how social media can help the sales cycle, however, his definition of a sales cycle is more marketing and less sales.
Chris describes the sales process like this:
This definition is mostly a marketing process, the actual “Sales Process” is left out.
Marketing creates prospects, increases awareness, and generates leads. Sales takes those leads and turns them into customers. The sale is the interactive, personal engagement between the sales person (team) and the buyer (company). The sales process is the steps and effort required to convert the lead to a deal or customer. This is no small effort. Deals are won/lost on the ability of a sales team to effectively manage a true “Sales Process”.
I think a marketing – sales process looks more like this:
1-Create Awareness (Marketing)
2-Identify Prospects (Marketing)
3-Generate Leads (Marketing)
4-Opportunity Pursuit (Sales)
5-The Close (Sales)
6-Customer (Sales and Marketing)
7-Evangelist (Marketing and Product)
Notice marketing on the front end, the stick, creates awareness, filters through the stuff, brings the prospects in, turns them into leads at which point sales takes over, the sharp end. Sales takes the leads turns them into opportunities, and then closes the opportunities, generating the moola. Marketing is the marco; broad messages and value propositions targeting large groups of potential customers. Sales is the micro; narrow messages targeted to the specific, unique needs of a specific company or person.
The chase, or opportunity pursuit and the close, is the sales process. I think Chris missed this component in his assessment. The sales process consists of a number of key components critical to getting the customer to yes.
A successful sales process requires:
1-Identification of a problem. A real business issue or personal problem has to exist. Sales has to find it.
2-Link to a measurable return. The benefit or return for buying has to be recognized and measurable. Sales must make sure they get it
3-Solving the problem. A solution of value must be present and articulated. Sales must deliver value by solving the problem (in best cases, they identify an unforeseen problem and then solve it. Provocative Base Selling)
4-Understanding of the buying process. Sales has to know who the decision makers are and what their key decision criteria are; why will they buy?
5-Gaining Access, Getting to the decision makers and power brokers who can make or break the sale is a must. If sales can’t do this they are dead in the water
6-Acceptance, This is the close. Sales has to get the prospect to say yes to the offer, product, solution. This requires agreement or vision match. Sales solution and outcome matches the vision of the prospect.
Social Media has it’s place in a true sales process as well as in a marketing process. You just have to understand what part of the process your in.
. . . I will give you my two cents in my next post on how social media can enable the above definition of a sales process. If you have ideas leave them in the comments and I will include them in my post.