The corporate connection between Sales and Marketing can amount to a wasted symbiotic relationship: The two teams need each other to survive, but they often fail to depend on each other in ways that would keep them both alive and thriving. The concept of a mutually beneficial partnership gets lost in the fantasy of “we do this, and you do … well, whatever it is you do up on your floor.” Practically speaking, Marketing and Sales share the same goals and objectives: creating value and increasing the bottom line. In reality, there’s more crossover between the departments these days, and there are some great marketing-automation tools, like Hubspot, Act-on and Marketo, that support the efforts of both teams. Top-performing companies understand all this. Hey, maybe that’s why they’re at the top.
This two-part blog post looks at the ways Sales and Marketing can benefit from a stronger work relationship, one with clear communication and knowledge sharing. Part 1 looks at how Sales can benefit from a better understanding of what Marketing does. Next week, we’ll cover how Marketing can learn from Sales.
Part 1: What Sales Can Learn From Marketing
Rule No. 1: If you’re in sales, do sales, don’t try to market. Nothing leads to a marketing mishap faster than Sales taking a well-meaning stab at creating their own marketing collateral. Not a good idea. For a thousand reasons. Part of Marketing’s job is to conduct user testing of things like subject lines and branding colors. They’re trained in massaging content and getting digital and print pieces delivered professionally and efficiently. Sales members attempting to play marketer can derail legit marketing projects already well underway. Do your homework, sales gal or guy, see what’s in the creative pipeline before you decide you’re going to go viral with your kitten-on-a-treadmill clipart thing. If not, you’ll make everyone look bad.
The Secret Sauce of Marketing
Marketing paves the way for successful sales. They seed the ground, they’re out in front scouting, doing recon—however you want to put it, they’re up ahead getting leads. They have systems in place for this, such as specific marketing automation software and CRMs. Not only do marketers bushwhack to uncover what’s out there, they leave a breadcrumb trail of leads that’s archived and trackable.
Customers are more information-loaded than ever in this digital age. Still, marketers have their expert ways of getting on prospects’ radar. These days, there’s practically a science to how marketers communicate, and the science keeps changing. In another two, three, four years the communication landscape could alter completely. It’s the marketer’s job to be up on these changes. Sales should leave this to the experts, instead of going it alone with a dead-end DIY attempt to reach out.
Sales works mainly via phone or email to reach out to customers. That has its value; not to mention they have little time for anything more than that. Marketing takes a different, oftentimes more effective approach. They don’t shoot messaging like arrows at a single bull’s eye. They launch it down many different channels. They even hire people to do this, called channel managers. Channel marketing can include social media, advertising, e-newsletters, websites, apps, sponsorships, and more. Sales, let Marketing spread the word. They’ve got it down, and their aim is good.
No Room for Collateral Damage
Sales can get frustrated with Marketing over what can seem like detail drama—hours spent on just the right font, just the right images, etc. But there’s a real art to being effective at look and feel and branding. Think about it: You wouldn’t want them to do “collateral damage” by dropping some creative stink bomb, would you? Great details, layout, and images can make marketing materials stand out above the competition and grab the attention of clients and prospects, much to your benefit.
If you’re a serious sales rep, bond with the marketing creatives in your company. You don’t have to be best buds, you just need to put aside professional differences (misunderstandings, really) and work with them, not against them, to get the job done. And, please, no clipart. Ever.