Sales vs Marketing, how to infuse the two
By Fernando BiZ
You’re living in your business’s ideal world.
Your sales team is inundated with inbound customer calls. Everyone wants to put their money in your pocket and buy your product or your services.
The sales team hasn’t needed to source its own leads in forever–the folks in your marketing team are creating uber relevant content, hitting the mark every time.
Sales lead quality is up; sales are up; conversion rates are up; revenue is up. And every time your sales and marketing managers cross paths, they fist-bump, high-five, bear-hug, and spill their compliments for one another all over the office floor.
Oh, wait. That’s not your business yet? Your sales team is resentful that the people in marketing don’t include them in the brainstorming process when they’re creating killer content… that the sales team has to use?
And the marketing team is frustrated because they’re not being kept up to date on what promotions or job opportunities are hot and worth sharing right now?
Well. Whoops. Good job the word yet exists.
Yours sales team is your lifeblood. They bring the revenue through the door. But they can do that a whole lot better with quality marketing content; the healthy reputation of a thoughtful company makes a sales team’s job much simpler.
Here’s what you need to do to realise your business’s dream world and turn sales and marketing into star-crossed lovers/unified collaboration machines. Whichever you prefer, really.
Break the ice
Icebreakers is an awful word. It’s hard not to imagine the moment when the ice breaks beneath you and the person or people with whom you’re breaking ice, and you fall, helplessly, into the freezing cold ultramarine water that was calm beneath you. And you both freeze to death.
Kick-off meeting. Not much better. So let’s just say get your teams to know a little bit more about one another.
To begin integrating sales and marketing, you should host a meeting between the two departments. Include any managers or executives. Keep the meeting top level for now. Make it clear at the start of this kick-off-icebreaker-meeting-thingy that all granular details can be topics for smaller, longer meetings between the relevant people.
But in this original meeting, introduce the key members of the two teams.
Whom do the sales representatives need to hurry over to if a customer has posted a negative review on your company’s social media review pages? James? Well, hi James. Just so you know, the sales team didn’t even know you existed until sixteen seconds ago. Do sales reps also contact you if a customer suggests a topic we should cover in our blog, or worse, spots a spelling mistake in the newsletter? No? That’s Lucinda the Content Manager, you say? Well, that’s good to know.
And this is Devin, he’s the regional sales manager for Region X. Since sales in Region X have plummeted over the last 12 months, we really want Devin to work closely with Lucinda to tailor the campaigns we offer to the changing customer conditions in Region X.
Once you start to blend the two teams together, they’ll begin to understand who operates in which sectors. The company’s goals need to resonate with both teams. And it’s easier to make that happen when your employees know who does what. Continually forwarding PR emails to Zafeer the Graphic Designer can finally end.
Collaborate to create your content schedule
The marketing employees who handle your company’s social media, advertising, and content marketing will be able to create content that your sales team can work with if your sales reps get involved in the planning, and if both teams are happy at the end of the planning phases. Sign-off is a symbol of good collaboration.
On the other hand, creating, for example, a fancy billboard advertisement that doesn’t harmonise with the recent sales metrics, nor the product they want to make a push selling, nor the price they planned to sell it at, is wasted marketing time and money.
Have the teams work together to plan blog content, social media updates, adverts, click campaigns, and more, so that marketing are supporting the efforts of sales.
Make sure marketing ask questions like:
- Who is the intended buyer or audience for the product and therefore this supporting content?
- At what stage in the sales cycle is the content meant to influence the customer?
- What key messages should we really bring to life? Do these messages change per buyer persona or sales stage?
- Perhaps most importantly: what is the call to action that the sales rep will reinforce?
If sales know from customer surveys that most of the business they’ve closed in the last six months is coming from social media platform A, then make sure that marketing know this, too.
Review results as one collective unit
Once an ad campaign finishes, or a piece of content has been live for a report-triggering number of weeks, make sure sales and marketing review the success together.
And for the marketing guys, they should be asking the sales team questions like:
- Did you distribute the content?
- To whom did you distribute the content? Region, buying stage, job position, etc.
- Did the sales team receive feedback on the content when they distributed it?
With this feedback, the marketing team can start to create metrics for each piece of content that align with live experiences within the sales team.
Once the two teams have got into the habit of this meet, brainstorm, create, and review/feed back process, you’ll have a well-oiled sales and marketing machine that learns from its mistakes, consolidates its successes, and tackles goals together for the growth of your company.