The better your marketing department understands the methods, goals, and setbacks your salespeople face, the more marketers can help improve the bottom line. By learning from sales, both departments can work together to achieve the goals they have for the company.

A marketer’s primary goal is to help the sales department maximize sales and profits. This happens when marketing has a thorough strategy, really understands the customer, and knows what it takes to launch the business forward.

The relationship between the two departments is incredibly important for overall business success. Implementing a cross-training program to integrate these two departments will help them make the most of their shared goals and skills.

Cross-Training Strategies for Marketing and Sales

There are many lessons salespeople and marketers can learn from each other, and it’s important to take advantage of each department’s knowledge. Taking the skills and traits that both positions offer can help to drive revenue and increase customer satisfaction with your brand.

Consider starting this cross-training from the beginning of each new employee’s time with your company. You can also hold meetings and training sessions for existing staff and give each team an opportunity to lead sessions and share valuable insights for success from their unique perspective.

Consider some of the lessons each department can share, and their corresponding benefits, outlined in this article.

3 Benefits Salespeople Can Offer Marketers

A lot can be learned from salespeople—both in strategy and individual traits—that translates well to the marketing world. Micro customer interactions are not typically a major part of the job description for marketers. Yet, when applied to a marketer’s role, things like drive, product knowledge, and resilience become self-explanatory.

Salespeople hear information directly from customers, which helps marketers create promotional materials.

Just like their colleagues in customer service, salespeople have the advantage of developing customer relationships, whether from quick interactions or contacts that span years. Since customers interact directly with the sales department to have their needs met, this is usually one of the strongest relationships between consumers and companies.

Marketers may not have the opportunity to work directly with customers. But they likely have access to their company’s salespeople. Ask them to give you a rundown every so often on customers’ responses, questions, or suggestions. This information can be extremely valuable.

Cross-Training Implementation

Have your sales team keep track of noteworthy customer interactions to share with the marketing team. For example, if a customer talks to a sales rep about why they chose your services, make sure sales shares that with marketing so they can get concrete details about why people choose your company over your competition. This can help with developing advertising and promotional materials.

Sales team members have mastered the art of speaking to your customers, which can spur new marketing campaign language.

Great salespeople have interpersonal skills or ways of speaking about the product or service that can help customers feel not only comfortable, but also confident in their purchasing decisions. When marketers have these same interpersonal skills, it makes working as a team, both in the office and out in public, more enjoyable and efficient. Marketers with these skills can develop relationships in business that may help them design and implement creative strategies that speak most effectively to their customers.

Cross-Training Implementation

Marketers may learn new ways to write copy that speaks better to their company’s audience just by sitting in on a sales meeting. Industry-specific terms, customer preferences, and more can be learned by marketers who listen to conversations or read email messages between salespeople and customers. If possible, keep as much communication as possible in your CRM for easy access for both departments.

Your sales team has different product knowledge because they interact directly with customers, which can help marketers with personalization.

Marketers understand their products and services. However, salespeople often know different aspects or uses. It isn’t just that they have to sell the product day-to-day, but also because they are directly interacting with the consumer. Knowledge that comes from working with users allows salespeople to personalize a product pitch and understand what information is most important to various demographics.

This product knowledge is incredibly important in marketing, and it’s worth consulting with your sales team to figure out their “insider knowledge” of the product. When marketers have this information, it may change their strategy entirely, so it’s important that these things are transparent and frequently discussed.

Cross-Training Implementation

Get both teams to talk about your brand and what it stands for. Generally speaking, marketers talk less with people familiar with the product than sales, especially since the latter interacts with new and potential customers. Have marketers participate in observation days to see what this looks like and how sales operates “in the field” to communicate about your brand. You may be surprised to see that each person takes away something different.

3 Benefits Marketers Can Offer Sales

Marketers know the ins-and-outs of your target market.

One thing marketers excel at is knowing they are not marketing to everyone: They are reaching out to a target market. You can have a great pitch, but if you target the wrong audience you won’t be as successful. Marketers can teach salespeople more about the target market they are working with and, as a consequence, sales can be more targeted.

Cross-training Implementation

Since marketers have specific demographic insights and know who is interested in your brand on a large scale, this can help sales identify potential clients faster. Make sure your marketing team alerts sales whenever they learn new demographic insights. Consider having a Google Doc or some means of communicating these insights. Likewise, sales can also report back and let marketers know why certain customers like a particular product or service.

Marketing has insights into open rates and what obstacles are between the customer and the product.

Salespeople have a reputation for being persistent, and the same sentiment can apply to digital marketing with ads and emails. There’s a fine line between reaching out to your potential customers and being annoying. One of the cornerstones of marketing strategy is that it’s more important to have a conversation with customers over making sales pitches.

Cross-Training Implementation

This is one place where a cross-training strategy can come into play: Discuss the differences between a conversation and a pitch. This can help shed light on new approaches for both marketers and salespeople.

There can be better planning for campaigns when marketing and sales work together.

Last but certainly not least: Marketers create campaigns, sometimes months in advance. If marketers take input from other key players within the company into consideration for a campaign, it will be more successful; the sales team is vital to this operation. Play the long game and make sure sales knows what marketing is thinking so they can try and help drive those campaigns. From this cooperation you will get the benefits of a great campaign created by your marketing team, as well as the benefit of personalized connections that salespeople naturally achieve.

Cross-Training Implementation

With better-planned campaigns come more qualified leads, who, hopefully, will continue through the funnel. Encourage your marketing team to reach out to sales (and other departments as necessary) when they’re planning email marketing, ads, social media campaigns, and other marketing materials to learn if there are new ways to connect or new features to discuss. When your marketing campaigns bring in highly qualified leads, your bottom line will benefit.

The Takeaway

Lessons from each department will help your team collaborate and strengthen your brand. The more you know, the more prepared you can be for any question, client, or problem that comes your way. It’s all about gaining this knowledge and leveraging it in your current position. 

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