50 Shades of Grey (between Sales & Marketing)
It’s no secret that the information revolution we are living in has dramatically changed business as we know it. It may not be more apparent than in the world of sales & marketing. Businesses have multiple options to close deals, and significantly more ways to get the word out about a product or service. Those tasked with s&m roles are finding themselves quickly becoming faster, leaner, and more digital.
Marketing certainly looks different. According to an article in Huffington Post by Kim Garst, “The transformation is so great that the line between traditional and digital marketing has been blurred….”
The same goes for the sales team as well. In a recent Inc Magazine article by Bob Marsh, he states, “…in order to compete and succeed in today’s marketplace, sales managers must evolve their skill sets to incorporate operations, a social, and a marketing mentality.”
So how can management companies and property managers adopt these new roles in multifamily?
Goals need to get laid
It all starts with goals - for both your marketing and your sales staff. It’s not new, but still seems to be a widely overlooked starting point. Your property goals may sound something similar to:
‘Increase occupancy by 15% this year.’
‘Completely fill all new units within 1 month of completion.’
These are not sales goals or marketing goals. They are business goals, and everything else falls out of here.
For a good article on techniques of setting goals, see this article from Entrepreneur Magazine.
Ways to get there
Once you have your goals set, its now time to figure out how to get there. This is where your sales & marketing staff should work together, but where the 50 shades of grey can really begin. Without teamwork, the lines become blurred between the roles of s&m - leading to duplication of efforts, loss of time and money, and even frustration.
To better organize your approach, define the roles of Sales & Marketing in your organization. In today’s fast-paced world, typically roles are defined as:
Marketing = Strategic
Sales = Tactical
What this means is that your Marketing folks should be responsible for the strategy and execution of messaging, the deals, the approaches and the delivery. Your sales Team then follows up and closes deals, playing more of the role of the ‘hero’.
In multifamily, your marketing team should have plans for everything from: content, social, creative, brand, SEO, SEM, ILS Listings, trade shows, lead capturing, and traditional advertising. Your sales team should have plans for: follow-up, pricing, closing, and customer transition to operations.
By clearly defining the roles, the teams can now work together to lay down a plan to accomplish your original business goals.
Fun new toys
The digital world has introduced a plethora of shiny new toys for sales & marketing teams to use. In order to keep up with the pace, its important to maximize efficiency, communication, and automation. Here is a short list of potential software and tools that can help your sales and marketing teams work efficiently and in harmony:
Sprout Social - Helps organize, schedule, and manage company social properties
Campaign Monitor - Helps send opt-in newsletters and e-mail campaigns
Call Tracker - Indatus product that helps track inbound call traffic from sources
Salesforce - Captures leads and funnels to sales, tracking follow-up
Toggl - App for personal time tracking
Ring DNA - Helps analyze outbound call data and follow through to sale
Not a freebie
With your s&m teams humming, you’ll need to re-think the way you budget and track expenses. Make sure you increase your monthly budget to account for software licenses (hint: take advantage of software offering ‘freemiums’ for smaller accounts).
According to Huffington’s Kim Garst, “last year digital marketing accounted for 25% of all marketing dollars spent and that that number is expected to rise to 33% this year.”
Perhaps the old adage that ‘you have to spend money to make money’ is simply timeless.
Tweaking is a must
Whatever your plans are for achieving your business goals, when using a defined s&m strategy, you must plan on measuring your progress and tweaking the plan along the way. Don’t fall victim to thinking that your plan is a set-it-and-forget-it approach. Using the data you collect, and staying open to tweaking your plans, will help you make the most out of the new, nimble, and fast-paced world of sales & marketing.