The intersection between marketing and sales is a fascinating area, which touches almost all organisations, whether they are small or large. At a very simplistic level, marketing is about promotion. It is about letting the world know that you exists, and your products and services can be trusted to solve a problem. Of course there is lot more to marketing than product and service promotion, but that is for discussion on another day.
(image from digitalnpo.com)
On the other hand, sales is a process you adopt to convert identified targets into revenue paying customers. Without sales, you have no business. Of course, there are exceptions. One example being, where venture capital is used to sustain operations until the organisation can generate sufficient revenues to pay its bills and reinvest into the growth of the business.
(image from http://gavrielshaw.com)
Large complex sales have many layers, where small transactions have few layers. Above sales funnel shows a simplified process.
Having established simplified definitions for marketing and sales, is there a gap between the two?
Marketing uses a plethora of means to reach out to a very large audience, this may be through donations and sponorships, exhibitions and conferences, TV and radio, newspapers and press, and the Internet. At the end of a marketing campaign, you should end up with a potential list of organisations and contacts to target. Of course, this is not always possible or may not even be required. Airing a gorilla playing drums by Cadbury will increase sales of chocolate without ever producing a list of those who might be interested in buying.
On the other hand, running a marketing campaign by uploading a white paper to edocr.com will produce a list of contacts who read online, downloaded it and forwarded to colleagues (disclaimer: some documents are interacted more than others).
The viral marketing campaign starts when some of the 15,000 strong edocr community start to bookmark the document to their social profiles on social networks from Facebook to Twitter. This is a campaign that produces contacts, which may or may not be worthy of adding to your sales funnel.
As organisations run many campaigns of this nature on-line and off-line, all producing lists of organisations and contacts, how do you select which of these to be taken into your CRM to start the sales process? What tools do you use to make the selection? Would you simply add all the contacts to CRM and then sort them within your CRM application? Do you have rigid procedures in place to help you address this problem?
I believe here lies a problem that is worth solving.
This discussion is not about building a list of contacts by identifying the target market segment, then identifying the companies in that market segment to target based on the product or service fit with their needs. This discussion is about contacts collected through engagement, and any validation is yet to be carried out on these contacts. Would you add them straight into your CRM or run first level of validation before adding to your CRM?