As a marketer, internet marketer or offline marketer, you are going to interact with your sales department in various different ways. It’s important to get a good feel for how that dynamic works and what you want to achieve from the interaction – whilst understanding what the sales team want to achieve.
Interacting with sales is probably one of the most important aspects of a marketers job, the sales team informs your decisions and marketing direction, they also can quickly raise issues that marketing can overcome with effective communications.
Does marketing collateral really make a sale?
On the other hand, working with a sales team can be frustrating and can sometimes seem like a battle with marketing often being blamed as the reason the sales team isn’t able to make the sales. Often the sales person who is putting pressure on the marketing department, or blaming the marketing team is the person that needs a bit more support – the marketing team can react to this by concentrating on the area that sales person is concentrating on, however it’s important not to become too reactionary.
Think about the sales people that regularly blame marketing for not making sales – then think about the entrepreneurs out there that sell their business and concepts with a smile and a handshake and with no concept of marketing collateral to back up their sale.
Closing the loop
Thinking about closed-loop marketing, it’s essential that the sales team is included, in turn it’s very easy for the marketing team to say “we’ve delivered the leads but they [the sales team] isn’t closing them” – without feedback from the sales team you really have no idea if the leads you’re feeding in are having any positive impact on the business (other than gut feeling).
As with most things marketing related, the key to getting things done is proper communications, once communications fail it’s difficult to pick things back up and get them going again – so it’s better not to drop that ball!
Thinking about what makes a sales orientated individual
As marketers we’re constantly getting things out there, always thinking about new things to put in front of people to get them to engage. We think we’re clever and we want people in our business to acknowledge what we see in ourselves (especially when things are working), the thing about sales people in general is they’re difficult to impress.
There is a tendency for sales people to be opportunistic learners, likewise they want information when they need it (this is important when thinking about how they will demand things from you when they need it) and they’ll also want the content you’ve got to have an exact synergism with who they are selling to, or their selling style – if it doesn’t match up you’re going to have lost them.
It’s therefore important to be creative. You’re a marketer, so market your contribution and your teams output to the sales team.
Internal marketing between the marketing team and the sales team
In many businesses the politics between the marketing team and the sales team can cripple some of the best thought through campaigns because they are working in opposite directions from each other. In these situations it’s often to get the two teams to get together and slog out what they’re trying to achieve and why. Together it become apparent that they are two sides of the same coin.
Fundamentally, sales and marketing have to make the same noises, there needs to be a clear strategy between the two, the way sales’ talks on the phone to a customer should be the way the marketing is being communicated, when marketing moves to a new campaign, sales should shift to that campaign too so the whole business is driving out the same message in a consistent approach.
When thinking about the grief a salesperson is giving you about marketing collateral they want or the leads they’re getting it’s worth considering that there’s bound to be a grain of truth in what they’re saying, you’re in the marketing function – you should have already thought about what they’re saying.