It’s an unfortunate fact for most companies that sales and marketing aren’t the best of friends. Instead of cooperating and working together, the two teams often have internal clashes and competing goals. This causes marketing teams to feel frustrated with sales teams, and vice versa – but there are a few ways to help the two departments learn to get along and see their productivity and success soar.
One way to improve the relationship between sales and marketing is by listening to each other’s grievances. Here are a few things marketing has always wanted to tell sales.
Give the marketing team some credit for your big sale.
- VP of Marketing
When sales reps close a big deal, they’ll often celebrate as though they won the deal all on their own, without help from anyone else. Many reps suddenly seem to forget that marketing sourced a highly qualified lead for sales to work on in the first place. When the deal is done and the papers are signed, the marketing team can feel left out of the celebration completely and believe their contributions are ignored. This problem is easily fixed by sales simply acknowledging the work marketing has done, and thanking them for the help either in person or in an email. Your company’s new sales and marketing alignment can start with just a small gesture of goodwill between the two teams, and grow from there.
Take advantage of all the content marketing creates.
- Content Marketer
Marketing spends a lot of time and energy creating targeted, informative content to appeal to potential customers. Unfortunately, most sales teams never touch a majority of the content created by marketing. This is a seriously underutilized asset that your reps could use to their advantage. Next time a rep is offering resources to a lead, don’t just send the same old eBook. Take a deeper look at the content marketing has, and try to tailor the content more specifically to the prospect’s job title, industry and more. There could be an informative blog post on the company’s specific pain point, a case study focused on the industry or a video that explains things more quickly and easily than any other resource. If your sales team isn’t paying attention to the content produced by marketing, they’re wasting a vital resource.
Don’t complain that we’re not giving you the right leads.
- Marketing Manager
This is usually a classic case of quantity vs. quality of leads for a sales organization. If marketing delivers a huge number of leads to sales, reps will complain that the leads aren’t any good. If marketing hands off high-quality leads, sales reps will then complain that there aren’t enough leads. Either way, all marketing hears are complaints from sales. This conflict can be solved by creating an official Service-Level Agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing. You must set expectations for how many leads marketing will deliver each month, as well as the quality of those leads based on an objective ranking system. Using an SLA, marketing will be held accountable for delivering a certain quantity of high-quality leads to sales, and sales can stop complaining about lead quality and quantity.
Try to think more like marketers.
- VP of Marketing
Marketers often think sales reps aren’t fully taking advantage of the technology available to them to sell to prospects. Sales really needs to think more like marketing and start using social media, blogging and more to connect with tech-savvy customers and build a reputation for thought leadership. Sales teams may want to dismiss marketing tactics and focus on calls, but sales teams are the experts on the customer and are a valuable resource for content. By offering your sales knowledge of customers and the industry, marketing can better create the right type of eBooks, blogs or email campaigns to bring in more highly-qualified leads. But that can only happen if your sales team is willing to pitch in and help.
Consider the marketing team’s overall strategy.
- VP of Marketing
If the marketing team recently completed a long and arduous project to identify buyer personas or create a detailed nurturing process for leads, sales should not ignore the research and effort put into this plan. The marketing team’s new high-level strategy should inform how sales operates as well, even if most reps don’t want to consider it. Sales should not push marketing to hand over leads that have not been fully qualified before they’ve made it through the lead nurturing program, for example. The two teams need to consider each other and the overall company strategy every day. Try meeting at least once a week with the marketing manager to make sure sales and marketing goals are truly aligned.
Of course, there are also many things that sales would like to say to marketing, but that’s something for another post. For now, you can help improve your sales team by trying to follow marketing’s strategy, better utilize content, and give marketing some credit for your sales wins. By better aligning, sales and marketing will begin to see the benefits of a beautiful friendship.