Sales and marketing in harmony? C'maaaaan, don't be silly. Sales spend their days smiling and dialling while the marketing team have their crayons out colouring in, right? Wrong. At Firefish, we like to do things differently and if you show us a stereotype or use that dangerous phrase "that's how it's always been done" then you better believe we want to prove you wrong. It's the same with the odd couple: sales and marketing; we didn't just get them sitting together, we married them. (Well, not legally and there wasn't a diamond ring in sight)
When we moved offices last summer - have we been here that long?- we vowed that this would signal some big, positive changes for us as a company. The creation of our Growth team was just one of them but it has undoubtedly been our most ambitious and rewarding change yet! But why? Why would we want to combine these two departments when they do so well on their own? Our Commercial Director at the time, Alan, now serves as our Head of Growth and he explains:
" The world is now buyer led rather sales led. The Corporate Executive Board states that B2B buyers are 57% of the way through the buying process before they want or need to speak to a sales person. We wanted to support that by taking an inbound marketing approach to attract and engage prospective clients with engaging and useful online content. When people are engaged and want to find out about our product sales must engage at exactly the right time and if it’s not quite right then marketing needs to step back in and nurture that relationship more. Winning new customers in this way requires different skills at each part of the process but works best when they are all combined together and the journey is seamless for the buyer."
Sounding a bit too good to be true? We didn't go into this one blind, believe us. Sales and marketing notoriously have beef in some companies and are often quick to blame the other for their shortcomings- the devil is in the detail as they typically both focus their efforts on different parts of the process.
Sales is all about human to human interaction, very target driven and highly reactive to in-the-moment situations whereas Inbound Marketing is very pro-active, structured, online and not heavily target driven. Obviously combining the two means that both disciplines need to appreciate, recognise and respect each other's skills and abilities a lot more, that’s not always easy to do. So... does Alan have to bring out the ref's whistle and call time? No!
" I think it works at Firefish because we have the right mix of talented people that respect each others' differences and can see that everyone is equally valuable in their own way. For example sales people get support from their colleagues to develop their personal brand online to gain more leads and marketing quickly evolve campaigns and messaging in response to feedback from sales. "
The Growth team has made life better for Firefish. As a growing company, we're reaping the benefits of collaboration and knowledge sharing from our talented people, and morale has never been higher as we're not in internal competition.
Alan will be speaking at the Future of Recruitment event on the importance of embracing the shift to business being marketing led. In the meantime, if you want to chat to us about our Growth team, or anything else at all then you can tweet us @firefishnow where we're happy to gab until the fish swim home.