Successful sales and marketing no longer follow the playbooks that worked even just a few years ago. The rules have changed, yet most organizations and the sales and marketing professionals they employ haven't made the transition.
In an ideal world, content is the key to bring marketing and sales together to reach buyers.
How sales and marketing has changed
There is no longer a strict demarcation between marketing and sales. Success comes from working together.
In the old days, salespeople controlled the information. Now it's the buyers who have the leverage.
Buyers actively go around salespeople, gathering information themselves and engaging a company representative only at the last possible moment. By then, they are armed with tons of information.
Marketing = Reaching multiple buyers
The job of marketers is to understand buyer personas and communicate with these groups in a one-to-many approach.
Web content as a marketing asset captures the attention of a group of buyers and drives those people into and through the sales process. The content marketers create—blogs, YouTube videos, infographics, e-books, virtual events, and the like—can influence large numbers of people.
Done well, with a research-based understanding of buyer personas, this content generates sales leads.
Sales = Influencing one buyer at a time
The role of sales is completely different. The goal of a salesperson is to influence one buyer at a time, typically when the buyer is already close to making a purchase decision.
While marketers need to be experts in persuading an audience of many, salespeople excel in persuading the individual buyer. They add context to the company's expertise, products, and services. Through them, the marketers' content fulfills its potential by connecting buyer to salesperson when the buyer is interested.
If, like me, you run a small business, you're probably playing both roles—communicating to your wider marketplace and engaging with one interested buyer at a time.