As a versatile business leader who has engaged in various aspects of marketing and management, Mark Vena has witnessed countless ways that the advertising and sales worlds have both evolved. Now, as marketing strategies refine themselves to better target customers, industry professionals are noting the collapse of the barrier that used to divide marketing and sales teams. Believing that progress can come from this continuous collaboration, Vena encourages all businesses and firms to pursue comprehensive solutions that can be utilized by various internal departments to form stronger relationships between brands and consumers.
Recently, the movement toward marketing-sales integration has been noted in the realm of marketing automation — specifically, in Salesforce.com’s acquisition of the ExactTarget. Although there are mixed opinions on this topical deal, a recent article from Forbes calls upon both marketing and sales professionals to look at the acquisition as part of a larger picture. Noting that many industry leaders are engaging in a “feeding frenzy” over Salesforce.com’s recent development, the article poses a question that moves the conversation in a different direction: Why are such acquisitions happening?
Mark Vena highlights the article’s explanation that increased acquisitions and consolidation within marketing automation are solid components of what industry professionals may be able to forecast for the future. Noting the modern trend towards greater collaboration between sales and marketing professionals, Vena explains that this disappearing divide offers a great deal of potential.
The article explains how these “age-old walls are coming down” and states, “Remember when Sales worked in one part of the building and Marketing worked in another? ‘They’ were over there. ‘We’ were over here. And we rarely interacted. Well, those days are gone. New solutions for data management and big data analytics are breaking down the barriers (physical or otherwise) that have traditionally separated Sales and Marketing. And that’s a very good thing because…collaboration is key. As marketers, we need to take the lead and help empower others throughout the enterprise to become active participants in setting performance goals and contributing to go-to-market processes. We need to create communication channels for rich, two-way exchanges of information and ideas, so Sales—and all customer-facing functions, for that matter—can deliver Marketing’s message to both customers and prospects, and then return data to us for further nurturing.”
Vena responds, “In the long run, both sales and marketing professionals are working toward the same goal—strengthening brands and increasing revenue. While these groups may have different corporate mindsets and practices, I have always found that collaboration breeds innovation. With the greater teamwork between these parties, new marketing solutions are likely to surface that suit both the needs of the brand and targeted conversions.”
Although Forbes explains how the interpersonal skills of both marketing and sales professionals are improving, the growing impact of technology has had a lasting effect on how marketers operate in today’s evolving workforce. Specifically, as the article reveals, “Marketers are under tremendous pressure to be accountable, and fortunately, more and more marketing organizations are rising to the challenge. These marketers know that in order to understand the value of any campaign, they must identify, track, evaluate and then refine the metrics that provide the most insight. Any friction between ‘headquarters and field’ impedes that progress. As it breaks down silos, marketing automation improves visibility into key business functions, as well.”
Mark Vena comments on this noticeable trend: “Online and mobile marketing have shifted the way industry professionals approach analytics for the better. While the advertising platforms may appear more complicated, we now have access to incredible reports that can allow us to refine strategy, reduce costs and increase efficiency. Most importantly, these changing models are allowing marketers to better understand the consumer to establish greater pathways for building strong, long-lasting relationships.”
So how is technology allowing marketers to gain greater insight to the consumer mind and develop these important relationships? Forbes answers, “We all know that the customer experience relates directly to revenue growth. However, in the age of the empowered consumer where marketing channels are continuing to multiply, the customer experience is rapidly becoming more and more complex. Historically, business intelligence software, enterprise software, CRM software and even marketing software have perpetuated complexity by mapping to existing corporate structures. Now, though, marketing automation lets marketers focus on data specifically from/about/for the customer, and use data-driven marketing strategies to make the customer relationship stronger.”
Taking notice of a particular trend that has played an incredible role in shaping big data’s growth, Vena observes, “Mobile technology and always-connected devices are a fantastic solution for helping marketers empower others through the enterprise. They can also play a key role in helping marketers setting, tracking and executing their business and performance goals.” Although the concept of “big data” is likely to evolve even further and play a greater role in marketing strategy, Vena explains that it is still incredibly important for brands to maintain a personal feel.
“When companies start to focus on performance goals and tracking big data, consumers can quickly turn into numbers. While this quantitative data is incredibly useful, it is important for brands—and marketing professionals, especially—to make sure that a personal approach to consumer relations is never lost within technology,” Mark Vena concludes.
Mark Vena is a professional who, since starting his career, has followed an upward trajectory every step of the way. A shining example of a leader and a professional role model, Vena has taken the time to cultivate his own skills and help his teams to develop their professional capabilities. As a global marketing, product management and technology executive, Vena has had to learn how to adapt to changing work environments while using key practices to develop and implement strategic initiatives. Over the course of his career, he has worked for some of the biggest names in the technology field, including Dell and Compaq. Today, he continues to build his expertise in the field while sharing his insight with up-and-coming professionals.