marketing and sales teams communications

When sales and marketing work together, the results are astounding. That’s why we’re headed to Revenue Summit 2017, March 7th & 8th in San Francisco. Revenue Summit 2017 brings the brightest minds in marketing and sales together in one place for learning, inspiration and some magical collaboration.

This kind of atmosphere is almost impossible to recreate in the workplace, making it a must-attend event. Come check out LearnCore while you’re at the summit, and in the meantime, dig a little deeper into why the relationship between your sales and marketing teams is hypercritical to your success.

Sales reps want to close more deals, and marketers want to create tools to help them do it. In an ideal world this should be the perfect relationship. So why are we constantly hearing complaints from one team about the other? It seems no matter what happens, the two just don’t “get” each other.
But when sales and marketing really work, it’s magic. Aberdeen Group research reported that when organizations have closely aligned sales and marketing teams around the topic of content creation, they see a 21% better lead acceptance rate, and 36% higher conversion rates.

marketing and sales teams aligned

In other words, it’s a pretty important problem to fix. We’re diving deeper into the age old sales versus marketing problem by taking a closer look at what causes the disconnect and suggested solutions.

What Do Sales Teams Really Want From Marketing?

Similar to just about anything else, the root of what sales reps want usually revolves around closing more deals. Sales reps are naturally competitive people, and they typically need to knock their numbers out of the park to succeed in their roles.

Because of that, they aim to spend most of their time selling, and they try to do it efficiently. When push comes to shove, sales teams look to leverage resources that can help them close more deals without sucking up any extra time.

Sales teams are looking to leverage experts than can help provide resources like:

  • Effective and relevant content
  • Insightful analytics
  • Communication automation
  • Competitive insights
  • Promotional offers
  • Leads

One of the most discussed resources is the need for great content. In fact, 57% of sales and marketing professionals agree that high quality content is a top driver of sales.

sales teams content data

Powerful content seems like a reasonable ask from a marketing team. So where is the disconnect between what they want, and what they are actually getting?

What Do Sales Teams Actually Get from Marketing?

Amazingly enough, while marketing is plugging away creating more and more materials, sales teams are still not really using them. Research shows sales reps don’t even use 60-70% of the marketing content they receive.

If they’re getting the resources, why aren’t they using them?

  • Content doesn’t match buyer personas. Marketing often creates the catch all resources that are overly general so they can appeal to as many buyers as possible. In reality, even though marketing assumes these will be more useful because they aren’t specific, they’re actually less helpful. Sales teams are looking for resources specific to their buyer and buyer industry to be most relevant and help push the deal along.
  • Content isn’t accessible. Believe it or not, sales reps actually spend 31% of their time searching for or creating content. As organizations grow, so does the amount of content created, and subsequently, the complexity of the systems where they live. After enough frustration from hunting down these pieces of content, sales reps eventually give up.
  • Content is addressing the wrong funnel step. Every sales rep understands their buyer journey and the different interaction point opportunities within each stage. If marketing is focusing all of their resources on a stage that happens prior to where most leads enter the sales process, they have virtually no use to sales.
  • Content isn’t customizable. Strong marketing materials are great, but with technology today most prospects expect a personalized experience. If sales reps can’t customize marketing content, they’re likely to scrap trying to use it at all and piece together their own on the fly.

So your marketing teams are generating content, and your sales teams aren’t using it. Where do you go from here?

Solving for the Sales Team and Marketing Disconnect

What the issue really boils down to is assumptions. Sales teams assume marketing knows exactly what they do, and marketing teams assume they know what sales really needs. Assuming is easy because it doesn’t take any time, requires no effort, and never has any pushback in the moment.

Assuming may help either team win the battle, but it will make both lose the war. Making assumptions is a short term fix that causes serious long term problems.

Think of all the marketing resources invested daily into projects successfully completed, introduced to sales, and then never touched again. Not only is your organization wasting a ton of money, you’re leaving your sales team hanging too, which means deals left on the table.

Sales leaders need to facilitate better communication between their sales and marketing teams. Doing so will result in a more efficient organization, and provide their sales reps with the support they really need. The best way to encourage communication that will naturally diminish assumptions is to build in interactions for marketers to learn about sales reps, and for sales reps to provide input into marketing initiatives.

Check out these ideas:

  • Use customer profiles. Have your sales reps provide customer profiles for their most recent best and worst leads, and for customers. This will give marketers a fresh take on who they are targeting and help narrow down their scope.
  • Create useful content. Have your sales reps jot down the most frequently asked questions or objections they get over the phone. Share this data with marketing so they can create more relevant blogs, whitepapers, and case studies.
  • Brainstorm useful insights. Have your sales reps brainstorm what types of customer insights would be most useful for them to close more deals. Then, see if marketing is able to hone in on this data and provide it on a regular basis to your sales team.
  • Try some shadowing. Have marketers jump on a few sales calls every so often so they can get some real customer exposure, and see exactly how their sales team uses the materials they create.
  • Get sales rep input. Instead of waiting until the product is finished to share it with sales, get them involved in the development process. The right insights could help make the marketing creation process more successful, and efficient.
  • Plan social activities. Help your sales and marketing teams connect on a different level by hosting joint social events where they can get to know each other in a relaxed environment. Building some rapport will help their relationships and their ability to work together.

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