A marketer is a salesperson’s best wingman. Or at least they should be. Unfortunately, marketing and sales teams within an organization are usually not that fond of one another. Typically, marketing generates the leads and sales closes the deal. It’s a pass-the-baton type strategy where marketing kicks up their feet once they pass off a lead list and sales is sweating bullets to hit quotas by the end of the month. Each has their own agenda and set of goals that squander any hope for collaborative growth. This inefficient dynamic not only hurts revenue, it’s the root of the historical battle between sales and marketing teams. The good news is that there is a shift in mindset that can break tensions and increase revenue.
How Well Do You Really Understand Your Buyer?
Both marketing and sales teams need to know your ideal customer inside and out.
What are their desires, pain points, motivations, and struggles? What compels them to want more information? What pushes them over the edge to buy? Marketers and salespeople need to be in the heads of the buyers from prospecting to closing.
Knowing these factors will drive marketers to create content that actually speaks to the buyer and will also provide sales reps with information they can use during conversations with prospects. According to Lattice Engines and CSO Insights, 42% of sales reps do not feel like they have the right information before making a sales call. The content created by the marketing team should help sales reps feel confident to engineer their approach so that the prospect feels understood.
Rather than hunting for a way the product can fit into a buyer’s life, they start out as an advocate for the buyer’s objectives and the product becomes the solution. In addition, when a rep can bring new knowledge to the table that the prospect didn’t know before, they’re in the right place to take control of the conversation.
Matt Heinz says, “If the prospect hangs up the phone and says, ‘That was great—I would have paid for that,’ you’re in the right spot.”
An interesting exercise is to ask your sales reps: “If you couldn’t talk about the product or service on the first sales call, what would that conversation look like?” Minimizing talking leads to more asking, which will have your reps gaining solid intel on the prospect’s needs and objectives. This positions your reps to learn more about the buyer and how to best market and sell to them.
“If the first sales call didn’t include talking about the product, what would that conversation look like?”
Jeff Thull writes the book, Mastering the Complex Sale, and talks about the importance of helping a prospect discover the cost of a problem they have. The best way to do this is for sales reps to be educated on whom the problem is affecting. Jeff was also featured on the very first episode of the B2B Show, where he shared more about this topic.
Sales and Marketing: Becoming a Team
Marketing and sales should be partners in crime, yin and yang, two peas in a pod.
Sales and marketing need to work towards common objectives and metrics. In other words, both teams must be revenue-driven. Being revenue-driven will guide marketers to be more strategic in their approach and cause them to learn about the end user, not just an early prospect.
This approach will create a cycle of marketers feeding salespeople well-vetted lead lists and sales call-worthy content and salespeople will provide feedback that will help marketers better understand the buyer’s needs and motivations.
Marketers need to switch their mindset from not just generating volume, but generating the right kind of volume to increase revenue. Getting intel from sales reps about ideal customers will help them better vet their lead lists. Sometimes this will cause lead numbers to go down, but it will result in higher conversion rates for the shortened list.
Roles Need to be Clearly Defined
If sales and marketing are going to be sharing a peapod, then roles need to be clearly laid out.
Who plays what role in each step of the sales journey? What messaging needs to be used and when? What is a lead? What is a qualified opportunity?
Definitions and roles need to be clarified in order for things to run smoothly and this mindset to actually be effective.
One of the major roles that the marketing and sales teams share is selling and reselling a buyer’s commitment to change. When marketing has piqued a prospect’s interest enough that they want to make a change, it is up to the sales team to continue to resell that commitment to change throughout the buyer journey.
Think of it in these terms: Imagine you’re thinking about changing jobs and moving into a new industry. Your current job isn’t working out, and even though leaving is stepping outside of your comfort zone, you make the decision to leave your current job in the next month.
Now that you’ve made your decision, wouldn’t affirmation and validation help you move forward? Instead of doubt and fear creeping in, you could surround yourself with friends who encourage your decision and help you brainstorm next steps.
This encouraging circle of friends is your sales team.
We will be the first to admit that these are not simple transitions to make, but getting more of the organization focused on revenue is key. If your main focus in all departments is driving revenue, you’re on the right track.
You’ve just got to get your action steps in place.