Our client was a pet, lawn and garden supplies marketer and producer that needed to build a bridge for better communication and collaboration between the sales and marketing organizations. By developing a structured planning and communication process, sales could build its brand knowledge and provide more in-depth, value-focused information for its retail customers. Marketing could focus on managing brands and creating meaningful value propositions, while engaging in collaborative knowledge transfer with the sales team upon a new product launch.
In our client’s Garden division, brand marketers had responsibility for brand management, as well as for positioning and selling products directly to the larger clients. The sales force generally assumed the more passive role of customer service managers and reactive order takers. They looked to Brand Marketing to provide product expertise during the selling process, but no knowledge sharing occurred between the two organizations for ongoing education. Sales was not encouraged to understand brand positioning and there was no formal process to learn about new products and how to educate the customer base more consultatively to drive demand. In order to empower sales to create greater value for retail clients and allow brand marketers to concentrate on crafting the value proposition and brand message, the communication silos between the organizations had to be eliminated and more effective product release and education processes needed to be established.
Symmetrics Group Approach
After an extensive discovery process to understand the true disconnects and underlying issues, Symmetrics Group assisted in building a disciplined new product introduction process founded on the RACI model of determining who is responsible, accountable, consulted or informed for each step of a product release. Symmetrics Group also worked with the sales and marketing teams to build value propositions to use in a consultative selling approach. Sales was armed with this information, along with hard consumer and category data to tailor a more personalized message aligning products and benefits to customer needs. This approach would enable the sales team to elevate their conversation with retail customers, demonstrating a greater understanding of their business, while also creating a more effective dialogue between the sales and marketing organizations around product knowledge and positioning.
The client’s sales and marketing teams now operate in a more collaborative and cohesive manner. There is a structured timeline and process for delivering new products every year, which includes building a brand “value proposition” story for customers and transferring that knowledge to the sales force in sales-ready language. Brand managers can concentrate on managing brands rather than selling. The sales team more effectively drives revenue opportunities with deeper brand and product knowledge, along with a better understanding of their customer’s business to build stronger relationships and take a more proactive selling approach.