A wish among salespeople is to be presented with quality leads of folks who are ready to buy. While this desire is top of mind for a salesperson, it creates a tricky situation for marketers. I mean, if the marketer has done all of the work of preparing a customer to buy, then what’s the role of the salesperson? Are they even necessary?
This gives rise to a classic clash between marketing and sales teams within an organization. Salespeople believe that the marketing team isn’t providing “quality” leads. And the marketing team believes that they are doing their fair share by giving the sales team many “warm” leads to convert into buyers. Each team works off the assumption that the other is not doing enough, and this pervasive mindset is disastrous for the organization as both teams go to their respective corners to complain about the other side.
So, what can be done to bridge the gap between these two teams? Specifically, what can you, as a marketing professional, do to bridge that gap?
Step Out of Your Own Shoes
According to Accenture, in 2021, organizations will invest, on average, 10% of their annual revenue on marketing. Though strategies may differ, certain components are consistent throughout most marketing plans. What separates these marketing strategies from “snooze” to “success” is how much the marketing folks utilize their internal resources. And the primary internal resource within an organization is the knowledge of those on the front lines – the sales team.
One reason that marketing teams cannot lead their targets to a sale is that they don’t consult with the sales team before developing their marketing strategy. Yet, no one in the organization knows more about the buyer journey than the people who work directly with customers. To develop a solid marketing strategy that hits all the right notes, a smart marketer will tap into this resource and use the knowledge from their coworkers to create campaigns that “get the click.”
Here are a few ways to help you connect with the sales team, build better relationships, and ultimately reach your sales and marketing goals:
When you meet a new person outside of work, you strengthen your bond by trying to understand one another and finding common ground. You personalize your experiences with this new person and view them as a unique individual. At work, however, we tend to look at our coworkers by their roles rather than who they are. This approach separates us and doesn’t allow the relationships fertile ground to flourish. However, if your goal is to be better at your job, you’ve got to think of your sales team members as individuals whose needs can be met by the services you provide. When you meet the needs of others, you’re in a better position to get your own needs met. So seek first to become buddies, and you’ll lay the groundwork for both of you getting what you want out of the relationship.
Ask the Right Questions
Great salespeople are not those who yak all the time; the best salespeople are those who listen more than they speak. They ask relevant, leading questions to turn browsers into buyers. It’s an art, really, and you, as a marketer, can use this approach to get answers that will help your marketing efforts thrive.
When talking to the salespeople on your team, ask questions such as:
– What are the main reasons why people don’t buy?
– Which obstacles stand in your way of making a sale?
– What are your competitors doing that our team doesn’t do?
– Who are your best/favorite customers, and why did they decide to buy?
By opening a dialogue with members of the sales team, you will uncover valuable info to help guide your marketing strategy.
Check In and Build Trust
While you don’t want to run every little detail by your sales team – such as what images and colors to use in your marketing collateral – it makes sense to check in with sales team members to find out if your assets hit the mark. You could ask them about what messages resonate with them personally, or what they think is missing from your campaign. Though you don’t need to act on every piece of advice the salesperson gives you, by incorporating even a few suggestions into your plans, you’ll build trust and the relationship.
Lead the Way
In an ideal world, both marketing and sales teams would be brought together in the early stages of marketing planning under the direction of a business leader. While your organization may be segmented, with different teams playing their roles in silos, the business would benefit from joint planning meetings between sales and marketing. With a clear understanding of what your org needs, a business leader can bridge the gap between these complementary, yet sometimes competing, teams.
Yet the world is anything but ideal, so it’s up to you to develop a relationship with sales folks to reach your goals. Employing empathy, looking for common ground, and building trust with the salespeople in your organization will help you achieve far greater results than doing it alone.
If you haven’t seen the video of Tiffany Lardomita and Eric Younkin discussing how Marketing and Sales teams can support one another, please check it out here.