Sales and marketing teams are often at odds with one another. Many in sales believe that marketers are simply “creatives” who don’t necessarily have their fingers on the pulse of what closes a deal, and many marketers believe that people in sales are simply “big talkers” that ride the marketing wave of their hard work and creative efforts. But when the two teams can put aside their differences and effectively communicate their long-term goals, everybody wins. On the surface, though, this can be difficult to negotiate. After all, each team has different immediate goals: Marketers likely have a long-term campaign plan, while sales teams operate in a fast-paced environment fueled by instant results. Regardless, the bottom line is that each team ought to have the same goal at all times: To drive revenue. And it’s important that marketers provide the sales tools necessary to close the loop on hard-earned leads.
Sales teams and marketing teams are co-dependent, as much as they’d often like to live in denial of this. Sales teams rely on marketing efforts to generate qualified leads and develop relationships, while and marketers rely on sales teams to establish customer rapport, close deals and reaffirm that their marketing tactics were effective. But in order for a sales team to perform effectively, the right tools need to be in place. When in the midst of a new campaign blitz, the lead nurturing tools and campaign collateral that are made available to the sales team can make all the difference.
Since only 25% of leads will be ready to buy in within 12 months, marketing and sales teams need to, together, decide on a lead nurturing strategy that can effectively capitalize on inbound leads and build a solid relationship with the potential customer.
According to Oracle, nurtured leads have a 23% shorter sales cycle time and yet, according to Marketing Sherpa, 68% of B2B companies have never identified their sales funnel, and 65% of don’t even have a lead nurturing program in place.
Communicating effectively during this process and aligning your marketing message with sales scripts can help both teams reach their respective goals faster.
3 Ways to Arm Your Sales Team to Close the Loop
When launching a new campaign, it’s important that marketers arm members of the sales team with as much information as possible. This will ensure that someone in sales is able to connect with potential customers on a deeper level and drive a sale. Sure, downloadable pdfs, trifolds and webinars are proven tools in today’s landscape, but, in addition to these sales tools, effective communication can go far beyond what you might expect. Here are 3 surprising ways you can set your sales team up for success:
1) Communicate the expected volume of leads:
Of course, all marketers hope that their campaign efforts will generate a close-to-unmanageable number of leads, but is this realistic? By communicating the verticals and channels being used in a campaign blitz and projecting the number of leads likely to result, members of the sales team can determine if they need to work each lead with deep intent or if they should be more selective in the initial follow up period.
2) The source of the leads:
Any information provided to members of the sales team can help them connect and convert. Beyond basic demographics, a sales member could benefit from knowing more about the content or collateral that generated the lead, which webpages they visited on your site and whether or not there was any engagement on social media.
Marketers likely had buyer personas in mind when creating campaign messages and collateral, but were these personas communicated with the sales team? Providing a very clear picture of the buyer persona used for a campaign can help your sales team members design their script in a manner that better appeals to the potential customer.
Effectively Closing the Loop
The last step in aligning marketing and sales efforts is perhaps the most critical – and the most overlooked. It’s imperative that the sales team report back to marketing to discuss the quality of leads generated by various marketing efforts.
Why Deeper Analytics Matter
In addition to communicating the quality of leads and analyzing what action was taken during each step in the sales funnel, sales teams should work to identify which marketing effort generated the best customers. For example, lets assume we’re dealing with a company that is looking to sell a subscription-based service and two marketing efforts generated the same number of qualified leads. At first glace, the marketing department could assume that these efforts were equal in value. But digging deeper may reveal that one version, let’s call it version A, generated 20% more 3-year commitments versus just 1-year subscribers, a clear advantage. This information could, and should, shape efforts made by the marketing department for future campaigns.