In the past, marketing and sales teams were on visiting terms. They would interact at planning sessions, annual meetings, and quarterly reviews — or perhaps in the event that a marketing campaign was driven by a sales perspective. But other than these encounters, they operated independently of each other.
This made sense when the customer journey began and ended within the sales department. Today, however, this is no longer the case. Corporate structures are shifting, technology is evolving, and customer habits have changed drastically.
The path a B2B customer takes to conversion now passes directly through the marketing department, and as a result, marketers have become much more involved in the entire customer life cycle. Marketers used to put most of their time and money into awareness generation, but modern companies now have them also focusing on customer development and engagement throughout the buying cycle.
With these expanded responsibilities comes the pressure of increasing online engagement, delivering insights through content marketing, and providing qualified leads. And to create a seamless customer experience, it has become highly beneficial for marketers to collaborate with their counterparts in the sales department.
Forming an alliance with sales ensures the modern customer’s path remains as efficient and effective as possible.
Making Collaboration Easier
Bringing sales and marketing teams together isn’t always a simple task. However, continuing to adhere to a traditional, siloed relationship will only stunt a company’s ability to grow its revenue.
Here are four tips to help marketers make collaboration with sales as easy (and beneficial) as possible:
1. Measure it. Sales teams are held responsible for specific goals and are accountable for the numbers. Marketing needs to speak the language of the sales team to be credible. Even if your path to revenue is through your sales force, challenge yourself to show results tied to sales.
2. Get to the point. Modern employees receive and send more than 100 emails per day, and for salespeople, that number is probably much higher. This means marketers must cut the fluff from their communications, show that they’ve done their homework, and succinctly display the company-wide value of their insights.
The focus of the collaboration needs to be on the business itself, not just on marketing. Salespeople want to see how strategies and programs will result in tangible business results.
3. Avoid jargon. Terms such as “conversion rate,” “click throughs,” and “engagement metrics” are useful to marketers, but your sales partners are looking for business impact. Using marketing buzzwords like these will more likely result in annoyance than understanding.
Marketers are experts at crafting messages for a specific target. Consider this group as another target audience, and translate the insights into clear terms that illustrate exactly why they matter.
4. Add some personality. Be the department everyone wants to hear from. These collaborative meetings shouldn’t be a time for boring lectures. Rather, they’re an opportunity to clarify information, show how it’s relevant to the sales team, and connect with the department on a human level. Humor goes a long way toward reaching this goal.
Marketing teams and sales teams no longer live on separate islands. It’s time for them to break out of the silos, learn how to speak the same language, align their goals, and take a two-pronged approach to converting sales and maintaining a growing, happy clientele.
When these two teams are on the same page, the sky is the limit.
About the Author
Kelly Smith Dotson brings extensive experience in defining strong brands and building marketing programs that drive business results. At SAVO Group, Kelly is focused on building on SAVO’s leading market position to further define the sales enablement space and building a world-class marketing organization.