23 May A question of sales and marketing

By John Smart, Head of Copy

When I moved from my first job at the self styled ‘Biggest agency in the country’ to a smaller shop down the road, my new Creative Director had this ad pinned up behind his desk.

It was old then, but the point it makes is timeless: without effective marketing to prime your customers, sales become a whole lot harder.

Yet even today, it’s not unusual to see the sales team taking the high ground over the marketing department. Especially in the bigger, more established B2B brands.

Sales is where the big boys do the deals and where the money’s made. Marketing is the the window dressing. The fluffy bits around the edges. Nice to have, but nothing compared to a handshake on the golf course.

Of course, marketing doesn’t always help itself with its frantic stampedes between social conversations, programmatic advertising, love marks and whatever other marketing fad is the order of the day.

And what newspaper doesn’t love a good story about another design agency taking 6 months to italicise an existing logo and charging the client north of 3 million pounds for it?

But the fact remains, the best B2B marketing has a direct impact on sales by making customers feel positive about whatever it is you’re selling.

You don’t even have to wait that long for it to start paying off. One approach we follow at DGR (Nice People to Do Business to Business With™) is to bring your marketing as close to the sale as possible.

While most marketing agencies put sales at the end of the process – the natural consequence of of those long rounds of research, analysis, strategy and creative development – we do the opposite.

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense.

By concentrating first on those who are closest to buying, you can generate immediate results. And an extra email or a tweak to your existing sales material could be all it takes.

Then, you can take a step back and work on getting your message to a wider audience. Those in the process of choosing between competing products in your sector.

Finally, you can concentrate on building a brand that raises awareness and defines your offer across the entire industry.

In a nutshell, starting at the ‘wrong’ end gives you an instant return on your investment and generates measurable business outcomes from the word go.

And avoids a lot of awkward questions along the way.