Sales and marketing go hand in hand— or at least, they SHOULD. As an inbound marketing agency, we get asked all the time by our clients how to get sales and marketing to work together. Sales is told to close more business. Marketing is told to generate more leads. But if they’re not working as one, your sales and marketing teams will just be chasing their tails.
In a small company, sales and marketing functions are often the responsibility of one or two people with blended roles—so communicating goals and priorities is often simpler and clearer. But as an organization grows and teams begin to form, the lines of communication often begin to break down.
It’s not uncommon for marketing teams to have very little knowledge of the sales process, and for sales teams to be uninformed about the effort required to generate the leads they’re following up on.
Before you create a marketing strategy, it’s important to involve your sales team. Among other things, you need to make sure your marketing activities are designed to:
Attract and educate the prospects that are easier to sell to
Increase the efficiency of your sales process
Generate enough qualified leads to support your growth goals
Improve close rates
Here are three things your marketing team needs to give your sales team to help them achieve their goals.
1. More Qualified Prospects
Questions for your sales team: What are the characteristics of our ideal customer? What makes one prospect more qualified than another? What information about a prospect is vital to the sales process?
Answers from your marketing team: Work together to create an ideal customer profile that clearly defines the types of customers you’re trying to attract. Then identify and document the personas of the individuals you typically interact with during the sales process—their characteristics, pains, questions, and motivations. Make sure your branding and messaging are designed to attract the right people to your business, and that you’re giving them the information they need at each stage of the buying cycle.
Identify what types of information your sales team needs, and figure out how marketing can capture and pass along that information to sales. As you focus your marketing efforts on educating prospects, your sales team will spend more time talking to sophisticated buyers who are ready to purchase.
2. More Educated Prospects
Questions for your sales team: What information do you find yourself repeating to prospects? What questions do your prospects ask at each stage of the buying process? What are the emotions they feel (and what do you want them to feel) during their journey?
Answers from your marketing team: First, start by mapping out the stages of your buyer’s journey (Awareness, Consideration, Decision) and make a list of the questions the buyer has at each stage. Then create content that answers their questions and helps them move to the next stage of the process.
For example, create a downloadable eBook or checklist that can be posted on your website and can also be used by your sales team to educate potential customers. Or, host a monthly webinar that allows you to showcase your expertise and educate a number of prospects in a single educational session.
Before long, your sales team will be spending their valuable time nurturing relationships and closing sales instead of answering the same questions over and over.