Most salespeople would agree; the types of customer conversations many are having right now are difficult for a variety of reasons.
Salespeople are tasked with constantly having to deliver bad news regarding order delays, product availability, and price increases.
It’s in times like these that salespeople need an ally to help them boost revenue and simply help them be more effective in their job. That ally can be found in their very own marketing department.
Two jobs — one objective
People who work in sales or marketing take a different approach to achieving the same objective: growing revenue.
Marketers spend their time researching target demographics, creating content, and analyzing data to understand customer behaviors. Oddly enough, it’s rare that they would ever actually speak to a real-life customer.
Salespeople, on the other hand, spend an incredible amount of time talking with customers! They ask questions and listen so they can understand current pain points, overcome objections, and answer the questions that customers still have after looking through the company’s marketing materials.
There is an African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. To get through tough economic times, Sales and Marketing have to start moving in the same direction, together.
How Marketing can support Sales
If a salesperson wants to be seen as a strategic partner to their customers, it’s imperative they bring more to the table than a strong knowledge of their own company and products. That’s where Marketing can help. Marketers are constantly researching the customers and industries they serve so they can better position their brand and product offering in the marketplace.
Marketing applies what they learn to the types of collateral they develop, their SEO tactics, the creation of pitch decks, and even the messaging and functionality of the company website.
Sharing those strategies, and the raw data (for example, market observations and customer sentiment findings) with Sales will equip them to ask customers better questions, so they can uncover their customers’ most pressing needs.
For example, Marketing will research long-tail keywords (which are the multiple word phrases customers type into Google) so they can put those phrases into their written content. If the phrase “how to get sales and marketing to work together” appears in the article, that article is more likely to appear as a search result for that query.
The point is to help customers find your content based on the questions they’re asking. When Sales knows the questions customers are asking online, they can do a better job answering those questions to demonstrate how their products solve the customers’ problems.
Data from Google or website analytics may also help salespeople better prepare and position themselves for customer interactions. If Sales has a general idea of how customers interact with the company website — which pages they visit and which ones they don’t — they can better prepare for their next customer conversations.
Social media is another great avenue where Marketing learns about customer mindset. What are customers talking about? What’s trending in the industry? What problems are customers trying to solve? Salespeople likely don’t have time to search social media for the answers to those questions, but the marketing team does!
How Sales can support Marketing
Ironically, no team is better suited to help Marketing understand the company’s customers than the sales team. Unfortunately, Sales is one of the last places Marketing looks for answers.
Salespeople are trained (especially if they learned the IMPACT Selling® System) to always listen for relevant pain points. They need to tell the marketing department the actual trends they’re seeing during customer calls, visits, and interactions. For example, Sales can alert Marketing that the value propositions mentioned on the company website are changing or becoming outdated. Price may be less important than it was six months ago, while on-time delivery has elevated in importance from “good to have” to “mission critical”.
When Sales gives Marketing regular feedback from customers, both departments can be confident they have the strongest marketing collateral possible. Being highly relevant in the marketplace gives Sales a competitive advantage because it brings in leads who have greater trust in the company, which often leads to larger deals that close faster.
Salespeople also serve as the best litmus test that their marketing team is using the same language and terminology that their customers are using — and not confusing industry jargon (unless of course your customers use that jargon). Websites, forms, surveys, and emails all perform better when customers easily understand what’s being said.
Sales may also want to give the marketing team feedback about their campaigns. Yes, Marketing can look at data for an idea of what’s working, but it’s hard to get specific feedback and actual customer stories when only looking at the numbers.
Stop working in silos!
Most marketing jobs can be done remotely, and many workplaces have shifted to a virtual environment. This doesn’t mean that Sales and Marketing should work in silos.
Each department should invite the other to their strategic meetings. Sales leaders should be present to share ideas during the marketing team’s content planning sessions, and Marketing would benefit from listening in while Sales discusses its quarterly targets and revenue goals.
In the end, though, it is critical that marketers understand their company’s sales process and create marketing assets that align with that process. This gives the seller incredibly powerful sales tools that they naturally understand how to use. If the marketing team does not understand the sales process, there will be an internal disconnect and diminished results.
That’s why we believe Sales and Marketing should learn together! When both Sales and Marketing attend the IMPACT Selling® System at the same time, they’ll easily see how their individual goals align and support the other’s. If your company really wants to get all the stars aligned, make sure the customer service team attends too!