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Is Hiring A Salesman Your Only Path to Increased B2B Sales?

Jacob Brain


You may think that hiring a salesman is your only path to sales success. The truth is that there’s an interworking of marketing and sales that neither side speaks much about. And without a balance of both, you’re going to fail.

Marketing Without Sales

It’s rare, but it happens: an organization thinks it can market itself into the sales it needs to grow. Typically, the people behind this idea are introverts, who’d rather not approach people, or who feel that sales is too, well, “sales-y.” This aversion is understandable, but it’s based on some misguided notion of what real B2B sales looks like.

For the owners or leaders of these companies, the time spent on what would have been sales activities is spent solely, instead, on digital marketing. That’s the main way these owners try to communicate and create new opportunities to keep the business going.

However, without some level of sales effort (even if just to close the deal or make an introduction), this strategy isn’t going to be very successful.

Sales Without Marketing

This other end of the spectrum can be equally as dangerous. I equate this to the blind dog on the hunt, bringing back any and everything he can without a larger strategy in place to influence selection. Sales without marketing can consume a ton of effort, requiring the sales team to generate more and more activity at lower and lower returns.

Eventually, these companies hit the wall, and the only way past it is to start thinking more strategically. That means using other channels for outreach and communication.

You can’t simply win them all with a smile and a warm handshake. You need to have an organizational culture that supports both the hunters and the farmers.

The Perfect Mix

There is a good middle ground. Your sales team needs to be efficient, and needs to use the latest channels of communication to reap the harvest. But that harvest needs to be planted by a marketing team that knows how and where to sow the right seeds. That’s the only way you can make the most of your sales and marketing effort. Both need to work together to make it happen.

So, Do You Need to Hire a Salesman?

First, I think sales is a noble art. I am pro-sales, and most of our clients either have salesmen, or the owner sells.

So, that is really the question I am trying to answer here. If you are a CEO and do the selling for your company, is the pain you feel going to be removed by hiring a sales person, or could you do a better job with better marketing?

Marketing Will Cost Less Than an Additional Salesman

Yes, hiring a salesman is going to be expensive. If you are doing a good job with sales (and you are your best salesman), why not think about a lower-cost addition to increase your sales, rather than a higher-cost solution? You might spend in the high five-digits on a salary and benefits (not including commission) to get the same increase in bandwidth that a marketing plan at half that cost could provide.

Marketing Addresses the High-Time, Low-Return Activities Better

Marketing, specifically in this case marketing automation, can address many of the repetitive tasks that can drive a salesman batty. Follow-up emails, check-ins, nurture campaigns, etc. – all of these activities are needed, but not necessarily best done by a person. A well-devised marketing automation campaign can do a great job of creating the right amount of nurture and engagement, while your sales team is meeting with clients and preparing quotes.

Marketing Brings Branding and Credibility to the Sales Process

When you engage in good marketing, you build a better brand, which only helps the conversation and sales process. Rather than your sales team creating sales sheets in PowerPoint (yes, we’ve seen it), you get professionally designed sales sheets and brand materials that build credibility. When you arm a sales team with good marketing materials, it turns them all into super agents behind a brand and product that presents well and allows them to focus on the sales activities – instead of working on marketing activities that are not their strong point.

When Is It Time to Hire a Marketing Team?

To be fair, we should talk about when it is right to engage a marketing team to help with your marketing projects. One of the big challenges when using a marketing agency is that there is a minimum threshold of value that makes the engagement worthwhile.

At some stage, you might feel that agency marketing costs are much more than what you’re willing to spend. And at some point, you might want to spend more to bring some of your marketing function in-house.

But what about that middle stage? That’s where an agency is a great solution for your marketing.

So, if you feel like you want someone who understands your needs, and you don’t want to piecework your marketing with disparate contractors, then you’ve reached the place where hiring an agency to do all of your marketing work would be a great solution. You get a dedicated team, a strategy specific to your business, and all of your marketing taken care of.

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