March 5, 2014 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Sometimes the Sales and Marketing departments aren’t even playing the same sport, much less supporting each other on the same team. Communication breakdowns can lead to misinformation, illogical promotional materials, and frustration on both sides. Here are a few ways to bring the two teams together, whether you’re planning a complete merge or just a partnership.
Marketing Provides Resources to Sales
Your clients seek you out because you offer something they can’t do or don’t have. You’re the experts offering the best products, and you can show that in your marketing materials. When clients have questions asking about certain offerings or want to know what the process is for a particular service, turn to blog posts, video tutorials, and infographics that your team has on hand. Sending these to your clients will make them better informed and assured that you’re the top in your field.
Marketing has its Finger on the Pulse of the Industry
The marketing department knows what trends are rising in the industry and what is quickly falling out of fashion. This can mean a boom or bust for sales depending on your industry or product offering. Marketing can help sales focus on specific products or aspects of the company to appeal to clients and even find ways to turn trends into opportunities with deals and promotions.
The Marketing Department Closely Follows Your Competition
Any self-respecting marketing department knows what blog content, social promotions, and brand messaging their competition is using. They know what products the competition is highlighting and if the quality is greater or less than theirs. Let the marketing department keep the sales department informed about your competition so Sales can use that in their pitches. When a customer or client asks about your products versus your competition, you’ll have a concise, knowledgeable answer.
Your Sales Department Can Tell Marketing What Works
It’s hard to admit, but not every marketing tactic is a home-run. Some ideas that seem brilliant at the time flop in execution or don’t catch on. Other tactics are hidden gems that fly under the radar. Sales can tell marketing what works by asking customers how they found you or why they chose your company. Learning what content is driving sales can help marketing create more like it in the future.
Marketing Can Get Inspired by Sales
In the same way that marketing can send materials over to sales to help them answer customer questions, sales can give marketing advice on common questions and problems that there is no content for. Marketing can create a FAQ blog post or even break down each question into its own in-depth explanation. Customers will always have questions that marketing can help answer.
Sales Can Update Marketing on Lead Quality
Marketing often creates content with the KPIs of gaining X email sign-ups that turn into Y leads. A particular marketing strategy might blow those KPIs out of the park, but the contact information collected could only be for subpar leads. In that case, the tactic wasn’t a success for sales. If the sales department tells marketing where poor leads are coming from versus the successful ones, then marketing can better learn what is effective and strategize accordingly.
Audience and Buyer Personas Match
Markets always create content with a target audience in mind. Whether they’re targeting industry influencers or specific demographics, good marketing is done with a plan. Similarly, the sales department has buyer personas that break down the types of people who need their products and services and what their pain points are. When marketing and sales have the same picture in their heads, marketing can create specific content that will generate leads and sales will understand who is contacting them and what they need.
The Correct Products are Highlighted and Promoted
Without communication, marketing might create promotions around a service that the sales department is no longer promoting, or a product that is currently out of stock. This creates a major headache and customer service fiasco for sales when they have to repeatedly explain the mix-up. If marketing knows what to highlight and what to downplay, the sales flow smoothly and both parties are happy.
Followers and Contacts are Used to their Maximum Potential
There are many articles that discuss ways to grow your following on social media, ways to increase your email list, and ways to increase your blog readership. These are quickly followed with “now what?” The sales department is able to help marketing make the most of its contacts by suggesting promotions and following-up to turn contacts into leads. This way your long list of contacts won’t languish until your next newsletter goes out or Facebook campaign is launched.
Deals and Promotions Become More Interesting
Marketers sometimes tiptoe around contests or promotions because they can cross the border over into sales. If there is no border, and the sales department is suggesting and approving different deals, then marketing can be more creative. There are a lot more opportunities because the sales department is no seen longer a barrier, it’s treated like part of the team.
Set Up Weekly Meetings to Review and Plan
Yes, I know you just groaned because your schedule is full of meetings, but these don’t have to be half-day marathons. Meeting for 20 minutes at the beginning or end of the week to review what has happened in the past seven days and what to expect moving forward can go a long way. Marketing can list out the tactics and content getting released that week and review KPIs from content the previous week. Sales can talk about what leads turned into clients and which content efforts drove sales.
Create Mutual Goals and KPIs
Marketing might meet all of their KPIs on a particular campaign. They could have engagement, sign-ups, and a high CTR. However, if the increased audience isn’t generating leads then the sales department is left out in the cold and won’t meet its goals. Setting mutual KPIs is one way to make sure both teams benefit. This way the marketing content is created with sales in mind, and sales will give as much information to marketing as possible to help them succeed.
Involve Sales in the Content Creation Process
If the sales department is part of the content marketing process, then they’ll care whether the efforts fail or succeed and offer a fresh perspective. Invite the team to a marketing brainstorming meeting to come up with blog ideas or social engagement plans. They’ll offer insight in completing the whole process from liking a Facebook post to making a purchase. If they can write blog articles or create content in any way, let them. This further merges the sales and marketing roles.
Extending an olive branch across the table will have countless benefits to the company. Marketing will have more knowledge and options, which will bring in more leads and resources for sales. Go and talk to your sales department. Go and talk to your marketing department. Together, your company can grow.
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