First in a series on Sales & Marketing Integration…

 “Nothing happens until someone sells something”. This old quote has been attributed to Henry Ford, Peter Drucker, and Thomas Watson, amongst others.

I think it’s out-dated, and more importantly, risky since it supports a silo mentality in companies. Synergy is basically free, and knowledge builds synergy when shared. A far better quote to guide your future would be Knowledge is Power”.

Human knowledge reportedly doubles every 5 years; available data is increasing exponentially. Think about how that has fundamentally changed your industry and your business over the last 5 or 10 years.

Why don’t we better leverage the data into knowledge?

Five questions about harnessing data and converting it to knowledge in your company…

1.  What tools do you have available to collect data about your market, key competitors, pricing, new products, and the like?
2.  Do you collect this information in a planned and consistent manner?
3.  Who in your company is charged with converting mere data, both quantitative and qualitative, into learning for the organization?
4.  How does this knowledge get distilled and used to develop strategic advantage?
5.  How do you execute to maximize the benefit of this knowledge-based strategic advantage?

As it turns out, a lot happens before someone sells something … today knowledge is the starting point of the sales process. And in my experience, the cultivation of knowledge is a core marketing responsibility.

Back to synergy … what’s the relationship like between sales and marketing  – the two functions most responsible for generating profitable revenue?  In many organizations, sales and marketing operate unilaterally, as separate silos. This unfortunate disconnect reduces your ROI in a number of ways, including missed opportunities, transmitting inconsistent messages to customers, and price/ margin erosion.

Let me share a short story about a client in a competitive, price driven B2B market that supplied Tier 1 original equipment manufacturers. Our conversations with the OEM’s revolved around price, often with the threat of volume loss. To counteract this, we invested in a strategy to learn more about the OEM’s end user, and used that knowledge to refocus the conversation away from price to added value.  The result – a strategic advantage versus competition that was customer relevant. Moreover, since data continues to evolve, this provided a reason to engage more frequently, and at higher levels within the customer.

The message here speaks to the critical need to evolve kmowledge in your organization for competitive advantage, and the equally critical need to align the sales and marketing effort in your company. Next in the series will look at some ways to address these issues.

If you are interested in discussing how these issues may be challenging your organization, please contact Boardroom Metrics, email: [email protected]