Recently, some of the big 10 marketing agencies across America and Europe discussed the realism in the marketing funnel and how much marketing actually contributes to a sale. Philip W. "Phil" Schiller, head of marketing for Apple Inc said last year that "a consumer will commit to a product far before they hit our sales platforms or our sales team in shops. In fact, now days we train our sales team more in how to market the product the customer is interested in, rather then directly sell that one item".
How does a customer get to the decision section of their buying journey? What got them there in the first place? A general rule of thumb for those in sales is to hold off on talking prices and quotes until the last, final moment! Discuss the solutions to the problems this customer is dealing with, then promote the product that fixes that at the last moment (plus the cost). A customer will invest in your product far before they talk to you, whether either parties know that.
Think about your standard shopping trip. You've walked passed a shop that is showcasing a hoody for winter that you know you need. It's staring at you saying "we belong together you know, I'll keep you super warm when it snows". You're now thinking, 'it's right - we need each other' and before you're even in the shop you're buying it. When at the counter they pull the total up, it's a good $70/80 more than you can afford - but it's the last one left, and remember, you need each other. So you buy it.
Your sales team are incredibly important. It's best to have a small team of these money hungry athletes in your organisation, you'll see sales go up drastically with a team like this, but it'll only happen if your marketing has done a lot of work prior to this.
To put this into perspective, take a look at the new marketing funnel below.
When marketing your service, hold onto your commercial function - these guys count when it comes to converting - however get to know the distance your marketing goes in the first place. How much is it looking after right now? Are you investing enough in to it?
The skills marketing have are crucial to that whole consumer journey (or in this case the marketing funnel). Understanding the considerations the customer goes through, the intent, the stress or joy of the service, this is all researched and controlled by marketing - obviously with heavy in put from commercial.
So, all in all, marketing probably wins the race on getting around more people with the right message. Sales, finish the job, so equally as important! Start thinking of how long you think each function needs to spend on your service and use diagrams like the new marketing funnel to help you figure this out!