Marketing and Sales. Sales and Marketing. Are they two sides of the same coin? Or are these two core business functions better understood through another paradigm?
Perhaps the age-old debate of the chicken and the egg is more fitting here? Which comes first after all? Does Marketing precede Sales or is it the other way around?
Or how about the horse and cart analogy? Would the cart be placed before the horse if Marketing drove business development decisions rather than Sales? Does Marketing follow the guidance and urges of Sales or does Sales trust the leading and insights of Marketing?
Maybe Sales and Marketing are just cogs in a machine or phases on a flywheel that move in harmony with Operations to produce the kind of products and services their customers love.
*takes a deep breath*
Either way you look at it, if your organization is to succeed, it’s likely that your sales and marketing teams must operate in lockstep. They should be striving for the same goal, following the same path, and speaking the same language along the way.
As a marketing agency that likes to see ourselves as an outsourced marketing team to our partner clients, it is very clear that Sales leads the way in our context. Marketing serves in support of Sales.
We listen to our clients to glean insights into their industry and understand the types of opportunities they want to pursue. Often we work with business owners, general managers, or senior sales leaders who are well-positioned to have the perspective necessary to lead their companies toward growth. We do well to trust their leading while bringing our unique vantage point to bear for the sole purpose of growing their business. Often the primary driver of that growth is Sales.
As such, we see one of the central roles of any marketing team is to empower the sales team. Plain and simple, if the sales team feels that the marketing team has their back and is supporting their efforts, the organization will win.
In the spirit of speaking the same language, marketing should embrace the terminology of the sales team.
In anglers’ terms, leads are bites and nibbles, deals are fish on the line, and dollars are fish in the boat.
Marketing is gonna generate the leads. Sales is gonna close the deal. But a lot happens between those two steps and a good marketing team plays a critical role every step of the way.
It’s self-evident that the marketing team is executing a strategy to get your brand in front of as many of the right sets of eyeballs as possible. They’re growing your audience through things like content marketing and social media and amplifying your brand with impressive visuals and messaging. So our focus here is simply the relationship between Sales and Marketing.
We have identified five ways that Marketing supports Sales in their quest to grow their business. If your marketing team embraces these five responsibilities, it’s likely your sales team will see the results your company needs to achieve your goals.
I got alliterative here, so please take a moment to appreciate this concise, yet comprehensive collection of constructive commands for conquering cooperation in your company.
Here are the Five Cs of Empowering Your Sales Team. Ready? Here we go!
The flashiest website in the world is a worthless collection of code if it doesn’t lead visitors to a clear call to action that converts them from a window shopper into a lead. This can be done through things like compelling copy that leads to unique landing pages for specific sales initiatives. Marketing could also create landing pages for individual sales team members with bios, intro videos, contact info, and helpful links. Anything that would serve a sales pro out in the field meeting with prospects.
Another overlooked opportunity is with establishing a CRM database (customer relationship management) that integrates with your website to capture leads directly into a pipeline that can be reviewed by the sales team. The information gleaned from a CRM that has been intentionally constructed and constantly updated is priceless. This information serves all areas of the business.
Now that you have a lead, what do you do with it? Certainly, your sales team will be following up to qualify the lead, but marketing has a role to play in the meantime. Here we talk about things like email marketing and automation. Do you have a content plan for your email marketing and does it speak to the types of leads you are capturing?
Good email marketing is focused first and foremost on offering value. Every email should give away something to the reader. Link to a recent blog you published, share a case study highlighting how you helped one of your clients succeed, link to a video testimonial of a satisfied customer who overcame a problem many of your leads may be facing.
And don’t overlook your automated email campaigns. Do you have drip campaigns set to trigger anytime a content offer is downloaded on your site or when someone fills out a sales-qualified lead form?
What about your social media? Your leads are still online seeing messages from you and your competition. Be mindful of the content you share on various social channels and keep a healthy balance of offering value while making bold calls to action.
Marketing’s job is to keep the lead connected to your brand and reduce any friction until the moment they become a customer…and beyond, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This is where things start to take off. Once Sales have made a connection with the lead, Marketing’s job is far from over. The Marketing Team has an important role to play in supporting the in-person interactions a sales rep will have with a prospective client.
At The Marketing Sq uad, we often have two key meetings with prospects – a connect meeting and discovery meeting. In the former, we are qualifying the lead to see if they are a fit. (Often this is over coffee, but sometimes it’s a 10-minute phone call.) The discovery meeting follows and is the opportunity to build a plan for the prospective client. In both interactions, having polished and professional print materials is huge. A sales rep walking into a meeting with some well-planned and produced collateral will feel confident in his or her ability to close the deal. Imagine a sales kit with a company overview, value statements, details about product or service offerings, information about your team, and more. Surely that would move the needle for you.
Sometimes a sales meeting calls for a presentation. Having a solid template for a sales pitch is a great starting point, but also a marketing team that’s poised to produce specific presentations for the right opportunities is a big win for a sales-driven organization.
This step is likely the most overlooked. Every salesperson’s greatest frustration is when a deal goes cold. You met with the prospect, built some rapport, scoped some work, and put time and energy into building a custom proposal, only to not hear back on the deal for days, or week, or even months. Ugh.
Marketing can help create opportunities for a sales rep to follow up in a way that offers value and doesn’t come across as pushy or desperate. This comes in the form of portfolio pieces, case studies, and testimonials. Imagine how much better that “Hey, are you still interested?” email could be if it started with, “Our company recently had success serving a company like yours. Here’s how we did it.” Then link to some relevant examples of your work posted to your website or YouTube account.
Marketing should be creating reasons for Sales to reconnect with deals so more proposals are signed rather than expired.
This step helps to close the loop and hopefully turns new customers into repeat business. What company doesn’t love repeat business?
Here, Marketing has the opportunity to gauge client satisfaction to see if the messages you’re sending in your marketing are being backed up by your operations. By sending surveys soliciting feedback from your clients your sales team may learn about opportunities to go deeper with a client. But more than that, the feedback you receive will let you know how you can improve and make your offering that much more remarkable in the marketplace.
Additionally, by establishing a robust CRM integrated with your email tools, your marketing team will be able to target certain clients with messages to inform them of products and services they may not yet have enjoyed from your company. This philosophy was made famous by founder of Temple University Russell Conwell many years ago in his speech turned booked titled “Acres of Diamonds.” The opportunity to grow your business likely starts with people in your own backyard.
Watch this video with me and Bryce Raley, our founder and sales leader, talking about this very topic. Watch it on 2x speed. You’ll thank yourself afterward.
This stuff makes us tick. We love talking about it, but more than that, we love doing it. If you’ve got a sales team in need of support, please consider connecting with us. We’d love to have the opportunity to hear how you hope to grow your business and identify the obstacles standing in the way. It may just be that some support from an outsourced marketing agency is just want you need.