By David Haar
One of the biggest challenges within any organization is figuring out how to get sales and marketing on the same page and both profit centers working well together to drive higher results. If you’re in a situation where the two teams seem to be at odds with each other, don’t worry. This can be a common problem. The brands that are doing great things and growing their companies understand the importance of these two teams, both individually and as a unit that works well together. If you’ve ever heard sales say their leads aren’t up to par or if you’ve heard marketing tell you that sales isn’t doing their job and closing deals, this article is for you!
Before a successful collaboration between sales and marketing can begin, marketing must get the ball rolling by attracting leads. Sometimes, a sales team will be skeptical of the idea of inbound marketing and doubt that it can be a game changer for them. If marketing can lead the way and get this initiative kicked off, it’s more likely that you’ll have the attention of your sales team. From there, it won’t just be about getting any and all leads to come in. When you start generating inbound leads, it’s possible that your net will be too wide and the leads won’t be qualified. Marketing and sales should collaborate to determine what is and isn’t an MQL and SQL-and direct your strategy around the leads you want to engage with.
Once you have leads coming in and both departments are communicating, you’ll want to have some tools in place for storing information. Many companies will fail in this area because they don’t understand the importance of organized data storage and they don’t dedicate the time to do it right. What do you know about your leads? Is there a high-quality CRM in place where sales and marketing can share information about leads? Is the information on the leads and how they progress through the sales process easy to update and read? Are you using any marketing automation tools, such as HubSpot, to be more efficient with your marketing? Last but not least, how do these leads fall into your ideal client persona? This is another area where many companies fail to realize the importance of this foundational element. If you haven’t sat down with sales and marketing and everyone isn’t on the same page about who your ideal customer is, you will most likely never have these two teams in your organization working together like a well-oiled machine. By taking the time to identify who is a good client and who is not and how they make their purchasing decisions, you can identify opportunities to create content that will spark their interests, and when a lead is handed off to sales, it will be much easier for them to land the lead as your next great client!
Supporting Each Other
It’s common for the sales team to put themselves in a position where they feel other teams are there to support them, especially when it comes to marketing. As common as this is, making sure that both your sales team and your marketing team look and feel like equals will help you be successful with this initiative. Without marketing, sales would be working way harder and would have to drum up every opportunity they could and essentially cold sell 24/7. Without sales, the marketing team would just be doing a great job of telling your story and there would be no one in place to help potential customers navigate through the buyer’s journey. Both teams are important to the ultimate goal of any company that wants to generate revenue, well-fitting repeat customers, and ultimately, profits.
With that said, there are a lot of opportunities for not only the marketing team to support the sales team, but also for the sales team to support the marketing team. Let’s look at a few of the ways the two teams can work together:
Having a meeting at least once a month in which the management team and both sales and marketing are involved can go a long way. The end goal is for the two teams to work well together, and having everyone high up in the organization on the same page is very important. In those meetings, marketing can communicate what they are doing to generate leads for the sales team and talk about how they are fine-tuning their efforts. The sales team can also provide “in the trenches” feedback of how things are going with the leads that marketing has provided and offer information that can help the marketing team as they refine their efforts. What you want to avoid in these meetings is a scenario where sales could push back without being constructive as to why they feel the leads that are coming in are not optimal. The more positive and constructive you keep these meetings, the better for all involved.
One of the most powerful tools in a salesperson’s arsenal is a strong digital footprint. If the company has a great website, sales can show it to prospects and establish credibility early on. This is imperative in 2018. As you aim to help your marketing and sales team be successful in their collaboration, make sure you’ve invested time and energy into a strong website that will be the foundation of your inbound efforts.
Once you have a strong website in place, you can start to create the fun things that will work for you 24/7. Case studies, e-books, testimonials, reviews, infographics, videos, side-by-side comparisons, and more can all be incredibly valuable tools as your marketing team looks to not just attract leads but attract the right kind of leads. These materials will also be great tools for your sales team to use during the sales process to help their potential clients. As Dan Tyre famously wrote back in 2017 in "Always Be Closing Is Dead, How To Always Be Helping", a salesperson that provides useful and helpful content throughout the process will typically win more than a pushy “buy from me now” salesperson will.
A Strong Reputation
Because the buyer process has changed over the years, people will be forming a relationship with your brand well before they ever speak with a salesperson. It is important to make sure the information they find about you is high quality, accurate, and does a good job of telling a story about you, your people, and what you do to solve a particular problem.
Because people engage with your brand online before they speak with anyone at your company, thought leadership is a great way to make your brand stand out from your competitors. Most companies will tap into their management team to create helpful, useful thought leadership content. Don’t forget to include your sales team and your marketing team in this process, because many times they can be a great resource and can create great content that will propel your brand as a thought leader.
Finally, don’t be afraid to toot your own horn a little bit from time to time. No one likes the company that won’t shut up about the awards they’ve won, but if you have some that you are proud of and there is a good story behind them, sharing those with potential customers can be a good thing. It can also be good for your sales team to be able to reference it if potential customers are deciding between you or the other guys. Don’t be afraid to put some effort into the story around your awards. Just mentioning them typically won’t get anyone too excited. Creating a nice one-sheet that highlights some of them or doing a case study that tells the story behind the award and what you did to win it could jump off the page for someone that is thinking about working with your company.
When this all comes together, you will find your organization embracing smarketing. Gone are the days of sales saying marketing isn’t providing enough leads and marketing saying the sales team isn’t closing the leads they are generating.
Both teams should be involved in productive, collaborative meetings. Keeping these teams in silos is a bad idea! Make sure you have a strong digital footprint that your sales team can lean on. It’s 2018, people! You must have a strong website for people to interact with, regardless of your company size, market, or industry. Content can come from several people within your organization including people on the sales team. No need to reserve that for senior-level employees. Spread the love around a little bit—especially to the people that are in the trenches with your potential customers each and every day.
For More Information
If you’d like to learn more about how sales and marketing teams can work well together, check out SmartBug’s free guide: The Evolution of the Sales and Marketing Relationship.