Let’s agree that the goal of your marketing team should be to help your sales team. Sound good? Awesome.
But as sales professionals, how can you feed your sales intelligence in to your marketing team and how can they use that intelligence to better help you close sales?
To improve quality of marketing leads, here are three key pieces of information sales must share with the marketing team:
- Raw feedback from customers and prospects
- Industry scoops, trends, and shake-ups
- Buyer personas
Read it: 7 Quick Wins for Sales and Marketing Alignment
1. Share customer feedback with marketing
Sales professionals have access – in between your cold calls and rejections – to priceless data that other teams do not: raw feedback from real life prospects.
These snippets of conversations might not seem significant at the time, but it’s the gems from these 1:1 conversations that can mold how your company does its marketing, what product features should get built, and what pricing should be applied.
Together with your customer support team – who service and glean feedback from current customers – your sales team has the most important role in the company for sharing information that can give your company an edge over the competition, add relevancy to your marketing collateral, and set you apart as an industry leader.
Let’s take our email services provider company, Atmail, as an example: We have an internal best-practice policy that whenever our sales representatives hear common questions or themes from our customers or prospects, they feed these to our marketing team via intranet entries and weekly opportunity calls.
This allows our marketing team to regularly review company messaging and collateral to ensure we’re always answering the right questions, in a way that makes sense to our prospects.
We also try to blog about the topic as soon as possible. (For example, we recently blogged about GDPR, email security, and whether Slack is killing email.) Timely blogging not only helps us to stay two steps ahead, it also attracts new leads for the sales team AND it gives our sales representatives some handy ready-to-go answers for future prospects.
Sales reps also share raw feedback with:
- Product development teams: To improve the product and future roadmap
- Pricing team: To continually improve pricing models and better meet the needs of prospects
- Customer support team: To cross-check whether feedback from current customers is consistent
This feedback loop is not rocket science, but it takes discipline to commit to a systemised internal process. We recommend regular intranet entries and/or weekly internal feedback meetings, where feedback is actioned by your marketing and other internal teams.
It could be your secret science behind closing more deals.
2. Share industry scoops
Any hot tips or industry scoops gleaned from sales intelligence tools such as DiscoverOrg can also enable your marketing team to help you close more sales.
After all, how else can the marketing team create resources such as whitepapers or how-to checklists for your prospects, or know which keywords to target on Google AdWords, if they are missing out on the gossip of who is searching for what, and which companies are currently looking for new solutions?
In our case at Atmail, if our sales team sees an Inside Scoop about a prospect ion DiscoverOrg who is interested is researching new email systems, our sales team reviews that company for a potential reach out. They also share that intelligence with our marketing team to identify trends and shape messaging for certain types of industry prospects.
Additionally, when our sales team is out and about at events and conferences, they’re actively listening for industry or competitor scoops to feed back to our marketing team.
For example: Our sales team recently had conversations at an event with customers of one of our competitors, who complained that our competitor’s email system does not scale well. Our marketing team is now identifying customers of that competitor, as well as developing an online resource that sales teams can share with those prospects, explaining the dangers of an email provider whose product does not scale well.
This would not have been possible without the on-the-ground intelligence from our sales team.
3. Shape buyer personas
Equally important to what your prospects are saying is who is actually saying it.
Your marketing team will never nail their messaging if they’re directing their efforts at the wrong types of buyers.
Understanding changes and trends of buyers in your industry is important for marketing to target the right people, to pass over the right leads.
For example: Do your past buyers look the same as your buyers of the future? Have Product Management teams in your industry taken over the buying responsibility from Information Technology teams? Have the pain points changed?
To be fair, misalignment is not entirely the fault of marketing teams.
Marketing sits in a bubble. They’re not at the frontline like you. They depend on your sales intelligence, along with the intel from your customer support team, to shape the buyer personas that they’re talking to with their messaging, advertising and sales collateral.
In our case, our marketing team formulated and wrote messaging for six customer personas. These personas were written after analysis of our historical buyer contacts, as well as feedback from various internal teams.
But what’s good on paper doesn’t always translate to being good in the real world.
It wasn’t until our sales team road-tested these personas and scripts that we as a company really knew what worked and what did not. Intelligence from our sales team was an integral part to getting our personas, and in turn, our messaging, a right fit for our target audience.
Why use data to get aligned with your marketing team?
Let’s go back to our original premise: The goal of marketing teams should be to help sales teams.
We now need to add: The support from your marketing team will only ever be as good as the feedback that you give them.
Get it? If sales can help marketing produce better leads, sales is really helping themselves. If you want better marketing support, share better and more regular sales intelligence with your marketing team.
They can’t do it without you – and you can’t do it without them, either.