Let’s just view the Sales Department in its current form as a department in steep decline. But more similar to the metamorphosis in which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. “Sales Departments” as we know them are a changing profession. They are, in fact, evolving to Client Engagement. And in today’s marketplace it is actually Product Departments and Marketing Departments that are also key to engage more closely with clients to define gaps and opportunities. I see it as a progressive partnership — Client Engagement: the direct link to clients and closest partnership-builder to be aware of clients’ holistic business strategy. Marketing: the brain that digs through terabytes of data to find opportunities. Product Development: the technology solution building company and client products and enhancements to fill the gaps towards new revenue streams.
Technology actual helps us connect to people more than ever before. Don’t believe the hype that we have become a society of drones tweeting and posting thoughts to the cyber-sphere just to be heard. As with any evolution, a dramatic event abruptly disrupts the status quo. Our thinking is still status quo without acknowledging the precipice of change. Are we truly prepared for the next abrupt industry development?
From a client’s perspective, you don’t want to be sold an idea that you’re not interested in. You’re looking for a partner to develop and grow new ideas for revenue and brand awareness. Sales alone cannot make that connection; that’s where Marketing and Product development bridge the gap. Businesses need to think of Marketing and Product as data scientists instead of merely channel executioners. This is where friction is instigated between role definitions in companies. We’re all trying to find opportunities for revenue and happy customers but with different approaches.
Progressive companies don’t just develop a product then go sell it out of the box. They instead, look for ways to develop and scale solutions through client partnerships. In today’s electronic world Information is free and abundant – collection is difficult but more so is putting the insights it provides to action. Data is often not being used properly to grow partnerships with current and potential customers on a relevant basis.
This is where we can leverage technology and a new partnership in our own business units. Sales: become Client Engagement and look for the solution to a client’s holistic need by strengthening a partnership not just a relationship. Marketing: collect the necessary information to illuminate a path towards innovation. Product: consider data and need to work together in defining the solutions most relevant to clients.
Finally, lose the friction and silo behavior between departments that exist so often. Be partners with each other. At the end of the day, better partnering makes for more opportunity.
Photo by Elizabeth Rose.