In contemporary organizations, there’s often a disconnect between marketing and sales. This disconnect or gap stems from two basic reasons (there are more, but these two make up 80 percent of the cause): 1) the organization has been around for a long time and the traditional sales model relies heavily on cold-calling and marketing is a hard-sell to most team members, or 2) the marketing group routinely produces lists of unqualified leads that have lead the sales team to distrust any results the marketing team may tout. And honestly, it’s usually a combination of both that leads to the gap between marketing and sales.
It’s clear that marketing is a necessary function within most organizations, especially with the pace of technology innovation and increased competition (easy access to the internet has removed many of the barriers to starting and maintaining a business.) But if the sales team doesn’t trust the marketing team and the marketing team is constantly feeling resistance it can truly hurt the bottom line.
Field Marketing as a Modern Solution
One way to close this gap and disconnect between sales and marketing teams is through a field marketing department. Field marketing, when done properly, is about driving top-line growth by connecting corporate marketing initiatives with local sales teams. Field marketers understand that sales and marketing techniques are highly dependent upon regional and territorial factors, which means that not all corporate marketing strategies are suited for each sales person as an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution.
The field marketing team takes the corporate initiatives and realigns them to fit localized demand. They focus on sales enablement with a strong focus on influencing deals already in the pipeline. It’s less about lead generation and more about lead nurturing.
How can I Build a Field Marketing Program?
Here are some tips on building your field marketing program. While it’s similar to hiring for any new position, field marketers should be seasoned vets in their industry. Field marketing is not an entry-level career.
- Find a trusted member of your existing marketing team who has a strong relationship with the sales team. Since the problem to the field marketing solution is around the marketing-sales disconnect, it’s important to start building your team by leaning on someone who can help close the gap from day one. Someone that both sides will be open to listening to.
- Start the program in a region/group where your organization is under-performing. Have the new field marketing team member create a questionnaire to use to get to know each sales rep and the deals they are working on. Then ask the field marketer to create a game plan for every sales rep.
- Start small. Field marketing is a long-term commitment, not a quick timeline turnaround (such as with event planning). Start with small marketing strategies and action items that the rep can start with from day one.
- Celebrate any successes as a team and then start reinvesting in them, amplifying the strategies that work and begin trying them with other regions/groups.
- Develop case studies from the early wins and use them as a way to support your case for creating a new department that supports marketing and sales throughout all of your regions and groups.
Field marketing can truly make a difference to your organization’s top-line growth, but only if you can commit to a long-term strategy that will start small and amplify over time. You cannot hope to have success overnight, but you can make small steps toward improving the overall relationship between sales and marketing, thus aligning goals and seeing exponential growth.