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Will the sales & marketing depts eventually be merged into a smarketing dept?

Do you believe that sales & marketing depts will eventually be merged into a smarketing dept?

19 Replies

Leigh Castergine
0
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Business Consultant at Digital Sports Companies
Yes! I'm having those conversations often in the sports and digital space! Instead of smarketing, our phrase that we talk a lot about is "social selling!"

Zachary McClung
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Zachary McClung Entrepreneur
Chief Customer Officer | Cloud Servers | Disaster Recovery | CDN | Dedicated Servers
I don't think merging sales and marketing is going to solve the problem everyone is chasing. Sales and marketing people are two very different personality types. They see the world very differently. While they need to effectively collaborate and communicate, merging them will only make its own set of problems. Sales people are grinders and they need that type of management. Creative people are well creative. You hussle a creative person, there is going to be tons of flustered people. You let a sales person go where the wind blows, you'll end up with no sales.
Nina Tomaro
2
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Nina Tomaro Entrepreneur
Content and PR Marketing Manager at eLearning Mind | Speaker | Huff Post Contributor
My response to this is that I already see lots of companies trying to do that but I believe that will ultimately fail and is not a good idea because sales and marketing are similar and MUST align with one another but at the same time two separate functions.

To explain with a dating analogy. Marketing is like courting someone. This is where you learn about one another and connect. It's the beginning of a relationship where you learn each others needs and values and see if their is a fit. Sales is like convincing someone to date you, and a lot of work must be put in to continue building and maintaining the relationship.
Jesse D. Landry
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Jesse D. Landry Entrepreneur
Business Development
Depends on the company, no? Startups, yes and isn't that way already? Larger, enterprise companies will remain segregated for the foreseeable future ? Jesse D. Landry DevSpark | Senior Client Partner M - (516) 851-8378 | E - [removed to protect privacy] Skype - jessed_landry | LinkedIn | Twitter
Yon Hardisty
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Yon Hardisty Entrepreneur
Monkey Byte Development, LLC.
I come at the question from the perspective of a creative services company that delivers product for both sales and marketing customers within the corporate world.

While I do see a lot of effort being put forth to merge these two business silos, I think that companies taking this route will suffer for it over time. Nina and Zachary have hit the nail right on the head. Each business units focus ( and the personalties within them ) have very different target goals and ways of achieving them. Both play key parts in a companies overall messaging. Requiring close affiliation. But, definitely, not a singular leadership.

In my two decades working with incredibly talented people on both sides of this business, the best organization I have seen is with marketing owning overall brand focus. Sales team delivering that focus and then listening to customer feedback. Which is driven back to marketing for adjustments, future roadmaps and on-going creative support.

Most often, I see the last element ( on-going support ) being where the disconnect between the two business silos breaks down. Sales people are rarely empowered to produce brand focus materials from scratch. Marketing teams rarely step into direct sales team support beyond initial outlays. Yet, doing so would give both a real vibrant way to explain and understand the daily impact ( or need ) for brand focus adjustments as well as provide active support to sales.

The outcome would be to drive that close nit relationship that is needed between these two business teams. Each operating to their strengths. Individually. With a single purpose.
Pierre-R. Wolff
1
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Pierre-R. Wolff Advisor
Business and Corporate Development Executive / Professional Connector / Kitesurfer
Like anything, this is not a binary issue and depends largely on the type and stage of the biz. For example, B2B companies like Slack have been bottom-up sales organizations that have largely sold by word-of-mouth (B2C sales model), but once they reach a certain size, enterprise deals become important to grow the biz and for this there's just no easy way to scale without direct sales people. Even B2C companies that are very successful reach a point where distribution deals become important and while the initial ones take the form of business development deals, scaling those turns into a direct sales function best handled by a direct sales team. For example, a successful B2C mobile app company may reach a point of growth where it wants to strike an 'on-deck' deal with mobile carriers. Such deals will not do themselves and need a team focused on making these happen.

Marketing in all its various forms does clearly interface with sales, especially as it relates to leadgen, product marketing, and general customer outreach at events, but to see the combination of those only works in the earliest days of consumer marketing, not as a long term strategy, at least this has been my experience even in companies where the combo is viewed as sufficient at the outset.
Eva A. May
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Eva A. May Advisor
Purposeful Program Developer and Marketing Professional
No! I think that there will be people focused on sales and customer service - as primary points of contact, relationship managers and customer nurturers. They will have people skills and selling skills. They will probably work more with the Product Development team to generate products or services that customers need.

And there will be people focused on marketing communications and data - to build the brand, to generate leads, engagement and loyalty, and to provide support to the business dev folks. I do think that marketing will merge with IT, in order to maximize the capabilities and benefits of having big and smart data.
Alex M Kim
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Alex M Kim Entrepreneur
Tech @ Chatgrid
Here is my speculation for enterprise IT market.

- consumerization will change dynamics between sales and marketing. When you sell to lob or consumer, it is different than sell to IT.
- Because my previous job description, I got many sales emails and phone calls, but I noticed many automated email generated from marketing. (It could be a social marketing)

So depends on your (traditional, or consumerization) product focus, you hould be balanced between marketing/sales efforts. Even consumerized product will need sales/SE to finalize big order from enterprise IT eventually. (If you need enterprise integration)





Jakob Thusgaard
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Jakob Thusgaard Entrepreneur
►► We Sell and Create Revenue for B2B SaaS Companies
Here's my perspective with regards to a B2B sales process, which requires live dialogue:

It's true that certain functions carried out by sales professionals could well remind us all of what a marketing department does. In smaller startups they might even BE the marketing department.

That doesn't change, though, that the aims of marketing and sales professionals are different and require entirely different skills.

As specialization in each department continues, I think it's most likely they'll never merge.
Eric Wold
2
0
Eric Wold Entrepreneur
CEO @ RingSeven • Web & Mobile Dev • Startups
The key drivers for this: complexity of the product being sold, length of sales cycle, and stage of the business. It's at least a 3-dimensional matrix to map when an organization may actually do better with a smarketing department vs keeping those functions separate.

And, even if some version of smarketing is right for you... the implementation of that is a curve, it's not binary. You already have a clear view of the two extremes (pure smarketing vs purely separate), but imagine if the organization was large enough to have a President of Smarketing, with a VP of Marketing and a VP of Sales under her/him? Or what if the same person wore both hats, but ran two mostly separate groups? Strongly unified leadership and goals can affect the way the two groups work together.

In general an organization selling very simple products, with short or instant selling cycles, will want to make sure that the entire customer "experience" is very polished (yes, you are going to say that is always important). With a longer sales cycle there will be a relationship with the salesperson. That relationship is what will eventually close the sale, and small miss-steps or miss-alignment with the perfect marketing message get a little less critical to conversion. But that requires a large enough average spend to justify direct sales involvement, etc.

If you could only pick one of the following to focus on, which do you think would do more for the specific product you are contemplating?
  • Have great relationships between the salespeople and the prospects.
  • Have a fantastic on-message sales funnel perfectly consistent with brand and marketing strategy?
I think you could pick a product at random and see it probably leans toward one or the other (most of the time).

I hope that was better than just saying "it depends".
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