Companies continue to devote resources and effort toward creating alignment between marketing and sales teams. The more these two teams are on the same page, the more efficient your sales and marketing machine will operate and the more business you can win.
Industrial marketers have many responsibilities: creating marketing plans, selecting channels, executing campaigns, producing content, tracking results, and much more. But at the end of the day, all of their work comes down to helping make it as easy as possible for your sales team to win deals.
Whatever stage your company is in—full alignment between sales and marketing or just beginning to break down silos—here are three key tactics industrial marketers can deploy to help support their sales teams.
1. Provide dynamic access to relevant content
Marketers have become expert producers of content to attract potential customers and guide them through their buying journey. Websites, white papers, webinars, articles, videos, case studies—all good stuff. But your sales team also has a need for content, some of which you must create specifically for their needs, such as:
• “Elevator pitches” that reflect the positioning and value propositions of your company
• Collateral designed to take down specific competitors—a late-stage sales cycle need when buyers have narrowed their choices to a few contenders
• Customizable slide decks with a core set of slides that sales people can build upon for individual presentations
• Customer testimonials and case studies along product lines or vertical markets
• Email or letter templates for sales to use when corresponding one-to-one with prospects
• A library of responses to standard Request for Proposal questions
These are just a few examples of the types of content your sales team might need. The other part of the content equation is making content readily and easily available to sales people. Consider creating a dynamic document or an intranet page that you update frequently with links to content along with explanations on how they can best use the different types of content and in what situations.
2. Pass only sales-ready leads to your sales team
Your sales and marketing teams should work together to create buyer personas and a lead scoring system. Lead scoring systems are generally based on how well a prospect fits a buyer persona and their patterns of interest, as exhibited by their behavior (such as visiting your website and taking some type of conversion action).
Once a lead scoring system is in place, it’s marketing’s responsibility to assign scores and to pass to sales people only those leads that have scores high enough to be sales ready. The remainder of prospects goes into your lead nurturing programs until they, too, are ready for your sales team, or you are ready to remove them from your database.
If you vet incoming opportunities for your sales team, they will thank you. They won’t have to waste time on leads that are not qualified and will have more time to devote to solid prospects who are more likely to buy. It’s a win for everyone.
Want to delve further into the sales and marketing partnership regarding leads? Read the article, “Don’t Fumble When Handing Off Leads.”
3. Communicate on a regular basis
Too often sales doesn’t know what campaigns marketing has planned, what marketing resources are available to them, and the rationale for what marketing does. You can solve this problem by communicating with the sales team on a regular basis. You can produce a weekly or monthly internal email to the sales team, or send a marketing representative to sales meetings (and, conversely, have a sales rep sit in on your group’s meetings).
You can introduce the campaigns marketing is working on and their goals, explain why and how you are using certain marketing channels, let them know what new content is available to support their sales efforts, and answer any questions they have.
Remember that marketing must take a proactive approach to working with and supporting sales. “How can we help?” should be marketing’s mantra. Follow these three tactics and your sales department will look at marketing as an invaluable resource in their efforts at winning business.