This week I’m going to a seminar on marketing for SMEs and entrepreneurs run by Ulster Bank in conjunction with SmallBusinessCan which promises to be an interesting affair. Some of the topics under discussion on the SmallBusinessCan website will be addressed, such as:
- Marketing or sales?
- Social Media
- E-commerce, designing your website, app or website?
- The classics
- Cloud, social media, software and systems
I’m looking forward to hearing what the panel will say about the first topic. One of SmallBusinessCan’s founders says “My personal view is that a good sales person is worth 10 marketers.”
First of all it should never be an either/or. Both disciplines have their place in any organisation and, at their best, complement each other well. I wrote about this before (and not just so I could post a photo of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in full flow).
Secondly, it is better to make selling everyone’s job rather than marketing. Developing everyone’s ability to spot a sales opportunity and nurture it to a certain point before passing to the sales team will reap more dividends. The same cannot necessarily be said for marketing though. It’s a rare outfit that allows everyone in the organisation to contribute to the Facebook page or Twitter account although hats off to those who do. This requires good training, trust and a blame free culture.
A recent survey by The Channel Partnership in conjunction with The Leadership Foundation found that over 80% of sales and marketing professionals believe their activities are not aligned, no doubt having a significant impact on the bottom line. More than half said that the lack of a clear strategy was a key factor in the development of co-ordinated plans, as was lack of time, budgets, structured processes and senior direction.
Hubspot, the lead generation software people, has abandoned the traditional silo structure altogether in favour of wrapping their sales and marketing functions around buying personas, effectively banishing any ‘us and them’, ‘sales v marketing’ rifts. It must work for them – they’ve recently raised $35m investment money to expand into Europe.
So marketing isn’t quite dead yet, then.