“People do not buy goods and services, they buy relations, stories, and magic.” – Seth Godin, Entrepreneur and Author

About this Guide:

Some things have drastically changed when it comes to sales and marketing. Where sales once relied on cold calling by regional representatives, lead generation from big data now keeps sales staff off the streets and deskbound. Where marketing once consisted of direct mail and print advertising, intelligent software now monitors and predicts consumer behavior, personalizes communications, and executes targeted digital advertising.

Market leaders like Amazon have integrated the sales, marketing, and customer service functions to provide speed and convenience to the consumer. The marketing mix is now more a product of the rapid transformation within sales and marketing, bearing little resemblance to the marketing mix of the past.

James W. Culliton described the role of the marketing manager as a “mixer of ingredients.” Neil H. Borden then later used the term “marketing mix” in a 1964 article describing 12 elements, five of which are product planning, branding, pricing, distribution channels, and personal selling. Later, E. Jerome McCarthy reduced the marketing mix philosophy into the famous “4Ps” – product, price, place, and promotion – which became the standard classification worldwide.

More recently, sales and marketing strategies are discussed in terms of the sales funnel, where the entire customer journey is interconnected and managed to improve the customer experience and increase conversion rates. Customer touchpoints are leveraged at all points along the funnel to increase rates of conversion.

One thing that does not change, however, is people’s love of brands. Millennials are brand advocates, and consumers will increasingly transact directly with brands. According to Absolunet, typical distribution channels, distributors, and merchants will suffer as brands and manufacturers pursue direct sales with end users. AliExpress of China’s leading B2C marketplace Alibaba, for example, uses a standardized e-commerce and logistics platform that allows manufacturers to deal directly with end buyers worldwide.

More than ever, companies are finding new ways through social platforms to integrate and engage the consumer into their branding and marketing efforts.  Corporate blogs, online communities, social networks, wikis, and micro-influencers have redefined the way that people receive and perceive information, brands, and even themselves. Marketers need to understand the consumer within this changing business environment and change marketing approaches to reach and include the consumer.

This series will help.


The Convergence of Sales and Marketing

Deconstructing the All-Encompassing E-Commerce Platform

The first article in our series on sales and marketing looks at how these three sales components have converged. It explores the role of social media in B2C commerce, how it has empowered the consumer, and the effect this has had on brands, including how organizations can use this integration to better respond to the connected consumer. This article also describes the recent trends affecting e-commerce, such as mobile and unified commerce – where IT infrastructures will support both physical and digital stores and are the next step in omnichannel.


New Sales Models, Technologies, and Metrics

The second article looks at the changing B2B models. It explains the inside sales model and how it has replaced the traditional field model. The article explores the different resources required for the new models, the role of sales staff, and digital sales technologies using GetApp as a case study. We explore the lean digital approach, which consolidates and streamlines sales to better meet consumer demand. Artificial intelligence (AI) is providing powerful capabilities in sales, and this article also outlines the latest AI tools for sales. Lastly, this article discusses relevant metrics for today’s sales organizations.


Building a Consumer-Focused Brand

Storytelling and Influencers

The third article looks at branding strategies and recent trends such as the use of storytelling, engagement of micro-influencers, and the application of behavioral economics to branding and marketing. We present a case study on Nissan – an enthusiastic user of the influencer strategy. This article also lists the best platforms for influencer marketing.


Customer Relationship Management

Modern Tools, Technologies, and Metrics

The final article in this series delves into customer relationship management (CRM) digital solutions. The article explains how these solutions are integrating the sales and marketing functions, increasing sales, providing key data and results, and ultimately helping to provide customers with the products and services they need. This article also describes the new technologies that apply to CRM solutions and how they help manage the sales funnel, from lead generation to the last mile, with a focus on AI. Finally, the article looks at metrics and sales performance.