When marketing and sales work together, everybody wins. For some organizations, though, that’s easier said than done. While both teams have the same ultimate goals, they often have very different perspectives and ideas about how to achieve those goals.
When marketing invests the time to understand sales processes and the team’s challenges, we can do a much better job of equipping the sales team with marketing materials that they’re excited about and empowered to use correctly. Get on the same page, and marketing can be the strongest sales enablement tool they’ve ever had.
You don’t even necessarily need to create those materials from scratch. In many cases, your understanding of the sales perspective will allow you to tailor existing pieces to meet the sales team’s needs.
Lead the Way with Content
When you ask sales what they want from marketing, they’ll always focus on leads. But technology now allows marketing to go so much further. The tactics we use for marketing – social media outreach, email campaigns and content creation – can also be used in the sales arena.
The key is to be selective, evaluating each piece and map it to your organization’s sales process. Prioritize use of the assets that pair well with those processes, and make sure you educate the sales team about how to use it.
This is a dialogue, so if they come back with requests for something different, listen carefully instead of automatically being defensive. Every discussion with the sales team is another opportunity to learn more about how to align content with their needs.
Technology will continue to increase the opportunities for marketing to support sales. Tools such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics offer new avenues for aligning sales and marketing.
You may be able to use AI to identify prospects who best match up with sales’ most likely customers. Predictive analytics may be able to tell you that there’s a 75% chance that a buyer will make a purchase decision at a particular step in the process.
As often as possible, make an effort to dig into how you can use any new technology to solve the sales team’s challenges at each specific stage of a sales engagement.
When it comes to content creation, keep track of the various categories of content that your sales team uses. Know the purpose of each of these content types, and keep it top of mind when you create that content. Any time you create marketing content, consider how the sales team might use it, and whenever you need to, tailor those assets to help them achieve their aims.
Ongoing collaboration will thrive if you have an ongoing dialogue between sales and marketing, particularly if you keep in-depth planning conversations on the calendar. And between meetings, keep their perspective on your radar as you execute each piece of marketing.
If you want to learn more about sales enablement for marketers, read our Q&A with Pam Didner, B2B marketing expert and author of Effective Sales Enablement. And be sure to attend her session at B2B Marketing Exchange later this month.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.