Every sales person I’ve ever met will say the following “Give me a customer who is ready to buy a product and I’ll sell it to them. All I need from marketing is for them to give me the leads, I’ll do the rest”.
It sounds so simple, just give them the leads and they will do the rest.
Don’t do anything else, just give them the leads!
Wow it’s so simple, why didn’t I think of that!
A colleague of mine tells the story of when he said to salesman “So what you need is a customer who is ready to buy, and a product that is better and cheaper than the competition for you to sell to them, correct?” to which the salesman said, “exactly, just give me that and I’ll do the rest”
It sounds so simple, again why didn’t I think of that?
The challenge (of course) is that most prospective customers are not ready to buy something, just because the salesman needs to sell something. And being in the right place at the right time takes a lot more than good luck.
Also for more complex solutions, there is a lot of education that needs to take place to get a prospect in the place where they can consider fixing a problem the way your product does it.
It can take months or years of communication to get a business to consider making a large investment, and that is the job of marketing.
The marketing cycle needs to nurture a relationship, promote the brand values of a company, and provide thought leadership. Through these things marketing can speak to hundreds, thousands or millions of prospective future customers, and through careful measurement understand and influence which ones are ready to talk to sales.
At the very end of the marketing cycle, marketing can pass the baton to sales for them take an interested prospect through the complex and delicate process of actually buying the product.
When a sales team has worked with a great marketing team their requirements subtly change for all future interactions. They then ask for a detailed forecast of how many prospective customers are at each stage of the buyer’s journey, and want to know what the marketing team is doing to accelerate the rate at which prospects are progressing. They want to know what the ratio of progression versus leakage is and how many prospects are being recycled.
What happens is that the conversation moves from “just give us leads and we’ll do the rest” to a team relationship, where sales and marketing have shared objectives, goals, tactics, and success is much more likely.