By Matt Farber

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“Typical sales rep!” something we marketers either have said ourselves or overheard from another co-worker. A rant may ensue on how the sales team, or perhaps a specific sales rep either broke the rules, doesn’t understanding marketing, or some comment about how sales is too old school and they need to adapt to the new times. I mean how many times is a sales rep going to ask for you to do something that fundamentally doesn’t align with your marketing strategy or even worse is a rushes request that lengthens your workload and your day.

So the question must be asked... If marketing and sales are in theory supposed to support and help each other why is there so much friction and anger from one party to another and vice versa? If you asked me this same question two years ago I would have given you an answer that sales people don’t understand the value of technology and that marketers are trying to leverage technology to help support sales. Fundamentally speaking that would probably cause a lot of friction, but I don’t think this is 100% the case anymore. I think sales teams have evolved, that they understand the value of content marketing, that they think about buyer personas and how to create content that eases the pains of their job. Even if they don’t understand some of this stuff, here are some different ways you can work to strengthen the relationship between marketing and sales.

Conduct a buyer’s persona & journey call with the team

I’ve conducted more of these calls then I could even think of. All of them have come with clients of mine here at SmartBug Media and this process more than anything seems to unite the two parties. When you’re able to get marketing and sales to sit down in a room to simply discuss who your ideal buyers are it’s a huge win for any company. Believe it or not but most companies don’t go through this process. It’s probably ideal to have marketing run the meeting while leaning on sales to provide their expert advice. There are so many questions you can ask sales about their leads, prospects, etc… but here’s a solid list to get you started:

Background Information

  • Basic details about the persona's role
  • Key information about their company (life)
  • Relevant information like hobbies or education

Demographic Infomation

  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Urbanicity -- rural, suburban, rural
  • Ethnicity or cultural issues

Goals & Challenges

  • What are their goals in work or life --- what is the primary aspiration
  • What is the secondary and tertiary goals and aspirations?
  • What are the primary and secondary challenges to this individual meeting these goals?
  • What's stopping them, and why?
  • Have they tried to address it already? What happened?

If you start with these questions I can guarantee you’ll be setting up another meeting to finish the conversation because you will likely run out of it.

Customer Interviews

Generally speaking the concept of collaborating and working together with sales will likely help solidify that relationship so here’s another way you could work hand-in-hand with a sales rep, interview a customer. The basis for this call can piggyback off the answers to the questions above. Why not hear from the horse’s mouth what their challenges are, what goals they have in their professional life, how they are working to overcome those challenges, etc… The concepts from the buyer persona research is fresh so take advantage of it. Just make sure it’s a customer that has a great relationship with your sales rep. This is key to succcess.

Pro Tip: Try to get the customer to sign up for a case study

Tie it back to goals, specifically revenue

At the end of the day sales cares about one thing and one thing only: hitting their number. So tie all of the stuff you are doing to that number. It’s not about driving an infinite number of leads it’s about driving qualified leads that convert in customers at a high rate so that’s where you and sales should be focusing your energy.

How have you been able to successfully align sales and marketing teams?

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Matt Farber

About the author

Matt Farber was formerly an Inbound Marketing Consultant for SmartBug Media. Using his project management and inbound marketing experience in the B2B sector Matt helps clients build and implement their inbound marketing strategies to grow leads, conversion and revenue. Read more articles by Matt Farber.

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