Written by Amber Kleine
When I first started in sales, it was a one-way street: smile and dial, visit clients, and close business. To me, marketing was merely a cost center. As my career evolved and I started to work in different sales roles, I found that this is one of the key attributes that differentiates the good vs. the great sales reps within organizations: HAVE LOVE FOR YOUR MARKETING TEAM!
To put it plain and simple, we are ONE! No longer are we in the world of siloed work environments. As much as it falls on marketing to provide resonating and impactful content, such as case studies, blogs, and ebooks, it takes equal effort from sales to provide feedback.
So how do I personally contribute to the alignment of our teams?
1. Recognize the different marketing employees and their position.
Most importantly--how do they measure success? I took it upon myself to learn what digital, demand generation, and content marketers oversee and how they individually measure success. Whether it’s click-through rate, cost per lead, conversion, or how the nurturing stream goes through the funnel into a sale qualified lead (SQL), each position has different goals.
2. Raise your hand and volunteer!
Provide insight on the challenges you are seeing from a sales perspective. More than likely sales is receiving the feedback on the collateral our target audience is consuming. Marketing needs to know what is resonating and what isn’t. They aren’t mind-readers and trust me, they are always open to new ideas/topics.
3. Be receptive, trust their process, but don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Let's face it: as salespeople, we tend to have big egos. An SQL doesn’t magically appear or grow on an SQL tree (can you imagine seeing a tree with little leads ready to buy on every branch?). I have taught my teams that engagement doesn’t mean commitment. Allow marketing to nurture and don’t be so eager to product dump just because they visit our page or download an infographic. Lead scoring is there for a reason, and if done correctly, it enables marketing to equip sales to work smarter-- not harder.
What do I want in return from marketing?
1. Be patient! On behalf of most salespeople, we are sorry.
Our attention span when it comes to anything outside of true selling can be minimal. Don’t take it personally! Also, I know when we provide feedback or ideas we want to see immediate change without taking the process into consideration. It’s okay to push back, I promise.
2. Continue being awesome and providing new uniform collateral.
Having relevant content to our industry/solutions is key across all marketing departments. So attend those events, listen to those podcasts, be creative, and become my marketing superhero. Knowledge is power!
3. Be present!
If you are anything like our marketing team, then more than likely you are wearing many hats, attending tons of events, and are constantly in meetings. But, be as collaborative and engaging as possible: join our sales meetings, grab lunch with us, and attend our sales kick-offs. Keep us updated with marketing challenges, initiatives, and wins. Remind us that you are on our side and how you are continuing to be our internal champions. Empower us salespeople to be marketing evangelists on the front end with our prospects and clients.
We are all in this struggle of finding a balance together. Since every company is different, there is no playbook on marketing and sales alignment. But, what does work is being proactive vs. reactive to bridge the gap between sales and marketing.