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While the relationship between sales and marketing teams is closely tied and very interdependent, their approach to technology, metrics, and lead assessment can vary widely. That contrast in approach can sometimes create friction. As a marketer, I’ve seen firsthand the end result of marketing inadvertently taking actions that put a strain on the sales-marketing dynamic.
Is your marketing team (unintentionally) making sales pull its hair out? Here are five things your team should avoid to help keep sales and marketing working together like a well-oiled machine.

Quantity Over Quality Leads

This is vital because it's the most common thing that marketing does — usually without meaning to — to annoy the sales team. Low-quality leads aren't just leads that go cold. Instead, they're leads that just aren't right for the sale, whether they're simply not sales-ready yet, or they're only a good match on paper. The thing about sourcing low-quality leads is that it's usually hard for the marketing team to tell the leads they're passing onto sales aren’t good. Having an abundance of low-quality leads is a sign that the marketing team needs a way to identify when a lead is sales ready, and how well it matches the ideal customer profile.

Passing Leads with Incomplete or No Information

“What did they look at? What are they interested in?” are probably the most common questions that sales shoots back to marketing over a lead. And if your answer as a marketer is “Good question!” it's probably time to start looking at your marketing processes. Engagement tracking has come a long way in the last decade, and there are few aspects that aren’t measurable these days. To fully understand your customer’s interests, and determine the right path from curiosity to close, marketing (and ultimately sales) hugely benefit from implementing tools to track the gamut of engagement.

Not Evaluating the Right Tools

Marketers can often help their sales teams more than they think, and one of the ways they can be most helpful is by evaluating both marketing and sales technologies. It's a strange thing to think about, but marketing is often the first to realize something isn't right between the marketing and sales teams, usually because marketing realizes all the leads it’s sourcing aren't converting, and it's getting harder and harder to justify its spend. Before the problem reaches critical mass, marketing is well placed to start evaluating tools that can help everyone, and improve some of the more inefficient parts of the lead-management process.

Ignoring Closed Lines of Communication

What’s the easiest way for marketing and sales to have a great relationship? By simply talking to each other. In a casual conversation with a member of the sales team, I was surprised to find out they loved a particular asset marketing thought they had long since stopped using. Talking to your sales team and finding out what it’s using, sending, and hearing from customers is the only way to be sure you're supporting them as needed. Marketers can also get some truly valuable insight from these conversations. Once marketing understands what and why certain assets are working for sales, marketing can create campaigns to keep the asset in circulation and up to date, and replicate it's best properties in other content. Win-win.

Forgetting Marketing's Other Target Audience

The last one is probably most important for really getting past that mental block that so often impacts the marketing and sales relationship. Marketers: You don't just have one audience that you need to target, you have two — your customers and prospects, and your sales team. Sales enablement should be a critical part of your marketing efforts and if it's not, you'll continue to yell across the chasm at your sales team, because that gap just won't close. Marketing's content, campaigns and personalized communications can help sales as much as it drives external leads. And who is better placed to offer sales the tools they need to speak to customers and prospects besides marketing?

To fully understand your customer’s interests, and determine the right path from curiosity to close, marketing (and ultimately sales) hugely benefit from implementing tools to track the gamut of engagement.”

Natalie Johnson | Senior Director, Corporate Marketing, Salesforce

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