The marketing : sales ratio has evolved over the past couple of decades. This isn’t something limited to certain industries, but is very much a universal phenomenon.
What this ratio used to look like:
Previously, marketing played a relatively small role in the sales cycle; it was the sales representative’s job to educate, to inform, to generate new leads, and whether deals were won or lost came down to how good the sales representative was. Phone calls, snail mail, email, in-person meetings were the weapons of choice. In the alternatives industry, a traditional salesperson was just that – the gatekeeper of all information.
Sometimes, not marketing (i.e. secrecy) was even seen as good marketing!
How the marketing : sales ratio looks like now:
Now, marketing plays a relatively larger role the sales cycle. Good marketing starts from the overall branding of the firm, informs prospects of the firm’s message and differentiating factors. Then, it goes down the channels.
These ‘channels’ are your content strategy, social media, sponsorship of relevant events, webinars, etc. In essence, these channels are how your word gets around the block. Prospects will have interacted with your firm online, often forming opinions and making judgments before the sales representative will have had a chance to reach out.
One can argue that a sales representative on a team with good marketing has an easier job of pushing deals over the finish line. But if you’re a rep on a team with marketing you’re not proud of, that might make your job not-so-easy, considering how your prospects’ have already been ‘informed’ and ‘educated’. Not just by your team’s sub-standard marketing, but by your competitors’ as well.
Anyone who’s thinking of buying a pair of skis for the winter, or a new tent for the summer won’t be walking into a store to have someone to teach them about product quality, price ranges, and/or the advantages each has over another product. It just doesn’t happen anymore.
Power has shifted from sales back to the buyer. In our case, the prospective investor.
Information is readily available and the marketing process starts from when your prospect (who you don’t yet know!) learns about you through your website, digital ads, or thought leadership. This also means that any dirty laundry you have aired – accidental or otherwise – is available for all to read.
It’s your opportunity to control what your prospects read about you online.
With more power in the prospective investor’s hands now, he/she no longer has to court a sales representative every now and then for more information about a fund. The tides have turned – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Developments in inbound marketing mean that you can now identify your hottest prospects.
This evolution in marketing has already happened. Just take a look at some of the biggest names in the industry and how they’ve changed over the past few years. Don’t make the same blunder that some firms have made by overlooking the power alignment and changing the ratio of marketing : sales.
By Alan Chu