The Marketing Strategist:

Translating Marketing Understanding into Results: Getting Close to the Revenue

April 18, 2013

Most marketing professionals—especially those in professional services—believe that they can bring a lot of value to clients through industry insight, thought leadership, and positioning technical points of view. But the real test is how marketing professionals can work closely with sales professionals to drive business outcomes. At Deloitte LLP (Deloitte), the firm is asking marketing professionals to help generate revenues—to grow the business—by working closely with partners and sales professionals who engage directly with clients. Marketing’s involvement can span the spectrum from building brand, eminence, and reputation to helping practitioners and sales professionals develop relationships with key buyers. All of these activities ultimately create qualified leads and revenue generation opportunities. Deloitte increased collaboration between sales and marketing, and their joint effectiveness in the marketplace, by integrating them. Dmitri Shiry, Partner & National Leader for Sales and Marketing, oversees the sales and marketing professionals for each of Deloitte’s four distinct businesses (Financial Advisory, Tax, Consulting, and Audit/Enterprise Risk Services). Shiry explained the company’s strategy for aligning marketing and sales at ITSMA’s Annual Marketing Conference. To be successful in the marketplace, both sales and marketing professionals need understanding of the markets and clients, as well as understanding of the key internal stakeholders they serve. With respect to markets and clients, this includes understanding of:
  • The impact that economic cycles have on the client’s industry and the business challenges and opportunities that will prevent clients from making money or seizing market share
  • The types of products and services clients sell, how those products and services are made, and who the consumers truly are
  • How the client’s culture affects its buying decisions and its propensity to focus on value versus cost
  • Who buys, who influences, and where the “power of the pen” resides
  • The client’s management model and if it is centralized  or decentralized, which could dictate “what can be purchased where”
“Without this kind of market- and client-centric understanding, it is difficult to provide perspective and become a strategic partner of the business. If it doesn’t happen, there can be a tendency for the roles to be viewed by the lines of business as tactical,” says Shiry. “If you want to have a seat at the table and be a strategic partner of your business and prominent with stakeholders, understanding is paramount.” That said, both sales and marketing professionals need to be accountable for enabling this kind of understanding. At the enterprise level, this can be accomplished by investments in people, process, and technology. Furthermore, the organizational design, as well as the management and operating model of the sales and marketing organization, can facilitate collaboration with key stakeholders provided that there is alignment between the sales and marketing resources and the lines of business. But this takes time and such decisions are usually outside the day-to-day purview of the sales and marketing professional. So how do sales and marketing professionals gain a deeper understanding at the personal level? One way is to take personal responsibility for networking both within sales and marketing, as well as the lines of business they serve. The idea here is to open the aperture in terms of the “hidden stakeholders” who may have different and valuable perspectives around sales and marketing solutions to bring to clients. Another way is to have both professionals participate in training forums and experiential learning sessions together. That way, each professional gains a better understanding of what the definition of success is for their respective colleague, as well as identifying key areas for collaboration and support. “The goal is to connect the dots and have an integrated sales and marketing team that helps drive results for our clients and for the firm. When it comes to sales and marketing, the goal is more than just ‘return on investment.’ It’s about return on impression, engagement, opportunity, and objectives. But summarily stated, it’s really about return on relationships,” says Shiry. Learn more about ITSMA’s Annual Marketing Conference.

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