Achieving any significant military objective requires the coordinated efforts of multiple branches of service. As citizens, we would be outraged if we knew the Army refused to cooperate with the Air Force in the heat of battle. We would be appalled if each division decided to “do its own thing” with no cross-branch coordination. We would not be surprised if battles were lost due to poor cooperation and ineffective coordination.
Yet, a parallel situation happens in companies every day where people refuse to coordinate strategic attacks on the market among the front line “branches,” namely Sales and Marketing. In some cases, the divisions operate in silos, doing their own thing and losing the power of a focused, concerted effort. In other cases, bitter rivalries, jealousies and internal politics create constant turmoil and an unproductive environment. Whatever the case, when coordination among Sales and Marketing is weak, battles are lost to more worthy competitors, leaving money on the table in the form of declining sales, and wasted precious resources.
To win in government sales, Sales and Marketing must commit to working together and moving in the same direction. They must have regular and frequent interaction. Salespeople should attend marketing staff meetings regularly, and marketing people should be invited to sales meetings with frequency. Time must be spent understanding what is working and adjusting what is not. Where practical, marketing people should accompany salespeople on sales calls (at least occasionally) and sales people should be invited to participate in marketing brainstorming sessions.
Marketing people must set aside their need to control every aspect of the “brand” and value salespeople input into the battle plan (garnered from those in the trenches). Salespeople must lay down their egos and appreciate the creativity and strategic perspective brand-oriented marketers bring to the fight.
Working together, these two groups can create significant leverage and focus, helping achieve the ultimate objective of winning more business.
So, how coordinated is your attack on the market when it comes to Sales and Marketing?