This blog post was originally written last year, because we know how critical a cooperative relationship between your sales and marketing teams is to your business.
We were delighted when LinkedIn’s new ebook, “The Power Couple,” dropped this fall revealing that more firms see the need for collaboration, but many still struggle with how to get there.
We thought it might help to revisit our blog post for some ideas.
3 tips for making peace between sales and marketing
Sales and marketing functions have been siloed entities since time immemorial—warring factions that often forget they’re working towards the same goal. Day in and day out, in companies all over the world, sales and marketing butt heads.
Sales thinks marketing doesn’t understand how they communicate with customers, and that the tools created in a boardroom don’t apply in the real world. Marketing thinks sales is too stubborn to execute their brilliantly strategic program. (There are multiple touchpoints for a reason!)
Who’s right? They’re both right.
Marketers, it’s time to wave the white flag
If you want sales to push your marketing programs, you need their input BEFORE you present the finished tactics. You’re all on the same team, remember? Getting sales involved sooner doesn’t mean we’re advocating decision by committee, or recommending that they be present at every single meeting. But doing your homework upfront and keeping sales involved at a high level throughout the development process will save you headaches down the road. And you’ll likely get better returns on your programs, too.
Here are 3 tips for developing marketing programs sales will actually use:
1. Go ask questions
Sit down with the sales team (or a few key leaders) and ask them how they sell. How do they prepare for a customer meeting? What works? What doesn’t? What tools would they like to have? What do customers ask for in terms of information or leave-behinds? Use this insight to develop your strategic and tactical plans.
2. Get out in the field
Ride along when sales calls on customers and observe how the meetings go. Try to go out with a top performer and a less-skilled salesperson to see how their approaches differ. This will help you identify gaps and opportunities in your messaging and in your marketing toolbox. But remember, your job is to listen and learn—not dominate.
3. Solicit high-level sales feedback
Vet your strategic plan with the sales team (at a high level) to get their feedback and make sure they’re on board. You don’t have to show them every tactical element in layout (unless you particularly enjoy debating this color versus that color and how much content should really be on that PowerPoint slide), just make sure they have a use for the tools you’ll be putting in their toolboxes. Sales is far more likely to get behind a program that they helped create.
If you’re looking for more ideas on getting marketing and sales aligned and optimized, please contact us.
And check out LinkedIn’s helpful new ebook, The Power Couple.