Sales and marketing teams operate on two sides of the same coin. And though both departments work closer together than ever before, it’s a rare company that doesn’t have broken links in the chain of sales and marketing alignment.
As job discipline lines continue to blur, sales departments have discovered a few ways marketers can help them do their jobs even more efficiently.
From LeadMD’s CEO Justin Gray, here are the five most important things sales reps wish their marketing counterparts knew that would make both more successful:
- Middle- and bottom-of-funnel content is more critical than content at the top
- Sales enablement content need to be customizable
- Thought leadership is great – but stories sell
- Sales offers on websites should be the easiest items to find
- Sales actually wants Marketing collaboration (Surprise!)
Even if your sales team isn’t saying this out loud, they’re probably thinking it. Pass it on to the marketing team!
1. Middle- and bottom-of-funnel content is more critical than content at the top
A marketer’s job isn’t done once awareness has been created. When relevant, interesting content is targeted at prospects further down the funnel, salespeople can have more effective dialog.
The process of converting a lead at the top of the funnel into a qualified lead hinges on whether a salesperson is able to demonstrate the real benefits of their product or service. The onus is on marketing – not sales – to develop content pieces that delve into the specifics that will make the sale.
Companies that still score success only by the number of leads generated aren’t benchmarking the right data. Marketing needs to work even harder to nurture leads once they’re in the funnel. Sales can only talk about product benefits so effectively; it’s marketing’s job to anticipate a prospect’s questions and show them the answers through how-to videos, case studies, hyper-focused articles, and other pieces that help convert.
This is especially important in situations where sales is the first point of contact with a prospect, through a live chat on a website or a request for a demo.
Additional content that sales has at their fingertips can make all the difference to a qualified lead who’s already engaged.
2. Sales enablement content need to be customizable
There’s no one-size-fits-all model in sales.
Marketers are leaving sales reps to fend for themselves in prospect interactions when they don’t provide fully customizable enablement content. Nothing irks salespeople more than marketers who expect their content to be 100% effective without regard for the audience.
In any given customer interaction, a sales rep should be able to swap documents (or pages within a document) in and out with ease, be equipped to present pieces of content at a moment’s notice, customize content for maximum relevance, and track the success of any changes that have been made.
Marketers need to provide sales not only with the content, but the deep understanding of what it all means, so sales can be comfortable and confident editing on the fly.
Some sales teams are set up to struggle from the get-go by organizations that don’t properly onboard newly hired salespeople. The overall message of your product or service is not the sole property of your marketing team; sales needs to be well-versed in speaking the language of your brand. That means knowing how to tailor a message depending on a given lead’s specific pain points.
Being able to do this seamlessly in a meeting or an online discussion can only happen with a robust effort to train and follow-up with your sales employees.
3. Thought leadership is great, but stories sell
Salespeople know that marketers are great at creating a variety of content that screams “Our company is the foremost expert at what we do!” There are countless articles, videos and snazzy infographics that point to an organization’s extreme competence, all of which can paint an impressive picture for your product.
Read our blog: Want Better Lead Gen? Get Sales and Marketing in Line
But what customers really want to see – and what really helps sales teams close deals – is people just like them who experiences success because of your brand. Case studies and testimonials are unique in the marketing world because they humanize companies. They help thread a cohesive narrative together that your company can own and your salespeople can deliver as something you truly stand for.
Customers want to be a part of something real, not just sign up for something because they were impressed by facts and figures. Marketers can help sales point to these examples when communicating yo
ur product’s benefits
4. Sales offers on websites should be the easiest items to find
For marketers whose bread and butter is headlines, enticing body copy, and compelling stories, a prominent sales offer on a website can often feel like stolen thunder. But the easiest way to lose a sale is by not showing your website visitors what’s for sale, right at the top. Marketers need to understand who they’re writing website copy for – potential customers. Converting visitors into buyers is a matter of giving them as many opportunities as possible to buy.
Sales offers, links to subscribe to newsletters, or other content streams and promotions should appear as close to the top of your homepage as possible. Like everything else, test your results when you place certain pieces in different locations. Headlines and site copy throughout still play an enormously important role in attracting customers, but they should work to drive visitors toward the destinations you have in mind for them: sales.
5. Surprise! Sales wants Marketing collaboration
Everyone just wants to get along. The days of siloed sales and marketing departments are thankfully in the past, and the two rely on each other to achieve shared goals. Sales works within the frameworks of outbound vs. inbound, enterprise sale vs. volume, and velocity -and expects marketing to do the same.
Alignment in the go-to-market plan is absolutely critical to achieve success.
Will the arch-rivalry of sales vs. marketing ever go away?
I’ll be bold enough to say no – simply because there are a lot of lazy marketers out there. However, the companies that will continue to stay ahead of the pack and dominate their industries are the companies that have a clear understanding of the relationship between the two and also invest in the right tools and partnerships to help both teams succeed.
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