We are often asked – “What’s the best structure for a sales and marketing team?”
The short (and vague) answer is below. A longer (and more helpful) answer follows.
The best sales and marketing team is one that is as small and inexpensive as possible, while supporting a healthy pipeline prospects that makes as many sales new and repeat sales as possible.
We realize this article may raise a few hackles.
After all, there are a lot of very talented and deserving sales and marketing professionals looking for work, and if you have an opportunity to employ one or more of them, then good for you, and good for them!
But most companies these days simply don’t have the luxury of offering employment to as many people as possible.
We’re writing this article to clarify our position. We had some great conversations last week with a VP of Sales who was kind (and honest) enough to share a concern that there may be a perception that ABCI intends to replace existing sales and marketing teams. An article we wrote last July (Thinking About Hiring Sales and Marketing Personnel? Read this first) probably led to that perception.
One of the primary factors we evaluate in our Flight Plan process is strong, existing leadership in sales and marketing. A great corporate partner with the knowledge and authority to provide good input and make quick decisions and approvals is vital to our ability to get good results.
We certainly don’t intend to replace an existing team that has great product knowledge, sales skills, and relationships with existing customers.
On the other hand, if you’re starting a new company or rebuilding a sales and marketing team after a lean period (haven’t we all been in “rebuild” mode since about 2009 or so?) hiring a bunch of new people may not be the best strategy. Instead, work toward a strong anchor or core group and add flexible products and services as needed. After all, most companies have variable (rather than constant) needs of services from great marketing strategists, website developers, graphic designers, CRM (customer relationship management) software experts, and IT problem solvers. It’s better to have access to great professionals when you need them without having them taking up your cubicles and parking spaces full-time.
Our most successful projects have occurred in one of several situations:
Our Business Jet Program is ideal for medium to large companies that have a strong Sales Team to provide personal contact with promising leads and maintain strong relationships with existing customers. We really enjoy working with a strong Director or VP of Sales and Marketing that can provide coordination and leadership. Obviously, ABCI doesn’t know your customers or your product as well as a great salesperson or Marketing Director who has been working exclusively with it for years.
Our TurboProp Program is ideal for small to medium sized companies. Our biggest successes have come from companies that have strong sales and marketing leadership. Even if the main salesperson and marketing director is also the CEO!
Our Light Aircraft Program works really well in organizations where there is good leadership in sales and marketing, everyone in the organization is involved in sales, and at least one person can devote at least half of their working time to sales, marketing and follow up efforts.
Our Marketing Master Class works well in any organization of any size. Any company can benefit when all of the employees involved with sales, customer service, or product delivery have some knowledge of sales and marketing basics.