Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Next Generation of Sales and Marketing – Are You Ready?


That’s right, you read the title correctly. There has been so much angst between sales and marketing departments in all industries for so long that something has to shake up the “us vs. them” mindset. Despite some different skill sets and perspectives of professionals who represent the sales and marketing function areas, their objectives are the same: increase revenues, satisfy customers, and attract new customers. Therefore, to create a more successful working relationship between sales and marketing professionals, let’s change the names to protect the guilty.

My idea to change the department names of sales and marketing is due to the surge in small business growth. With limited resources, people have to wear many hats, serve in many roles, and be total solutions providers – all as one person. Without a doubt, this aim becomes challenging, and the question becomes, is it really possible to be everyone to a customer or prospective customer?

Consider if marketing were known as the Amazement Department, the Engagement Department, the Customer Department, the Service Department, the Discussion Department, or the Exceeding Expectations Department. All of these words represent positive energy, which, at the end of the day, is an important objective of the marketing function.

You want your customers to think of your company first when they need or want your product or service – not your competition. You want to engage your customers – on the phone, on feedback cards, on your website, on social media sites, and at events. You want your customers to know you think of them first and foremost – and that you serve them. You also want your customers to know that you value your data and will protect it – but that customer discussions and interactions provide critical insights for the future growth of your business.

Lastly, since you aim to exceed your customers’ and prospective customers’ expectations all the time, it is important that they know their interests are critical to the way the company shapes policies, procedures, R&D, and strategic plans.

Now, what about sales? Let’s hear from Mike Kunkle from Dallas, Texas. Mike is a sales training and sales effectiveness executive with expertise in performance lever analysis and leading sales performance improvement projects. Through that work, and over the past 20+ years, Mike has delivered millions of dollars of ROI to employers, so he is just the person to chime in about re-naming the sales function.


Generally, I am much more focused on nuts and bolts success factors that drive organizational performance improvement, so when considering how I might rebrand the Sales function, it took awhile to get started.

At first, I asked myself, “What’s wrong with ‘Sales?’” Everybody knows what it means. It’s been around a long time. Then I considered “the brand.” What does “Sales” mean to most people?

Rut-roh. Well, at that point, the flood of stereotypes started. Hey, I know, they’re unfair and not widespread today, especially in our sophisticated and evolving world of B2B sales (and hopefully, steadily decreasing in our B2C world too). But they still exist, and monthly, I still get emails or calls from reps who have no business calling themselves “sales professionals.” For years, I have been a vocal advocate that we must elevate the sales profession through question-based, solution-oriented, consultative selling practices.

So, with that in mind, I jotted down:

  • Solution Catalyst Department
  • Situation Improvement Architects
  • Client Performance Partners

I felt like those got the point across, to some degree, but they still sounded like corporate-speak to me. So I mulled it over some more and wrote down:

  • Needs Fulfillment Team
  • Product & Service Education
  • Solution Orchestration

Still tripping over my tongue a bit, I kept going with:

  • Solution Provider Team

And then, perhaps my favorite combo:

  • Customer Solution Design (Marketing)
  • Customer Solution Development (Sales)
  • Customer Solution Delivery (for implementation teams or Customer Service)
…which were my favorites for fostering a sense of cooperation internally, so the functions can partner toward providing solutions to their joint external customers, while also sending the right message to customers.

What do you think? What are your favorites? Which make you laugh? What combos are best for Marketing and Sales, to send the right message?

We invite you to chime in and let us know what you think.


Serious about his career and life’s work, but little else, Mike describes himself with a grin as a “sales performance geek.” Pressed for more detail, he adds, “Put a middle-aged, balding guy with glasses and a goatee in a blender with 20+ years of training industry experience, add a healthy dose of sales effectiveness, leadership development, process improvement and performance consulting expertise, then sprinkle in 3 step kids, 2 cats, an unruly Dachshund, a patient wife, Internet research, social media, and a Venti Starbucks with room for cream, and you get me.”

Mike’s unique approach to aligning performance levers and implementing sales best practices has enabled him to deliver breakthrough sales performance and radically improve business results, whether in entrepreneurial start-ups, private mid-cap firms, or Fortune 25 corporations. He’s led sales training for organizations like Household Finance, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Alexander Hamilton Life, and NovaStar Financial, and also led his own consulting company. Today, Mike is the Director of Sales Effectiveness for Insphere Insurance Solutions.

Check out Mike's work: http://scr.bi/PerfLevers032011

Check out Mike's blog: http://neuronnexus.posterous.com

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikekunkle

Follow Mike on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Mike_Kunkle

1 comment:

  1. Hi Debbie,

    I've written 2 responses to this great post and neither worked.

    The 1st took ages and addressed the way Social Media has changed everything regarding sales and marketing. I also mentioned that sales and marketing MUST work together, they have no choice, Social Media dictates this.

    BUT where does marketing end and sales begin??

    Also where does permission marketing end and traditional selling begin? Sales MUST be mad somehow, by someone?

    I like this post a lot and it's a shame my (possibly over indulgent) mega post got lost in the Blogosphere, twice.

    Thanks for the opportunity to get involved in a very interesting discussion.

    Best regards



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