B2B marketers need to spend a day in sales’ shoes.
One of my first jobs out of college was in B2B Sales for a market research and consulting firm. Instead of spending time banging the phones (as a good salesperson should), I spent a considerable amount of time:
1. Creating compelling presentations in PowerPoint and Word because I felt the sales materials supplied by Marketing weren’t suitable; and
2. Testing variation after variation after variation of email copy to see what would generate a response.
Unsurprisingly, I quickly learned my calling was in Marketing, not Sales. But I’m grateful for that experience as it gave me invaluable perspective about how, and why, sales and marketing are often misaligned – and the damage that creates for both areas.
Here’s how marketers do their part and close this gap.
The questions are simple, but the approach asks some additional effort and transparency between the two teams (so executive support could be needed).
1. Review email communications
- How is Sales following up on voicemails? First time conversations with prospects? Check in’s with prospects they’re nurturing?
- How are they positioning the product/service? Does it align with how the brand/company wants to be positioned?
- What links or sales materials are they using?
- What calls-to-action are they finding success with at each step of the buyer’s journey?
- What materials from Marketing are they not using, and why? Or what new materials are they creating themselves?
- How are prospects responding to their emails, and how is Sales responding?
2. Go on sales calls
- Listen to how Sales positions the product/service
- Observe what questions the prospect asks and how Sales responds
- Learn the primary objections from prospects and how sales overcome them
How can you work better together?
After you’ve gained a more intimate understanding of how Sales is communicating with prospects, ask yourself: “How can I improve the materials that exist today?”
For example, does Sales want a digital tool that offers customisation? Is the call-to-action letting them down?
What other materials can support them in opening doors, nurturing prospects and closing the deal? Analysis of industry insights? Email copy for introductions and follow-ups? A tool that lets prospects calculate their ROI with our product? Is it easy for Sales to find the materials they need, or can I do more to support them?
Finally, ask how trackable your efforts are in the eyes of Sales. How will you back up what’s working best? For example, it’s challenging to create a mechanism to track whether a prospect has read a PDF that was emailed to them. But you can easily track if a prospect clicked on a link within an email.
See it from the other side
It takes work and maybe some tricky conversations. But the impact outweighs the effort if the learnings are applied and well-executed.
It’s tempting to jump to rapid diagnosis and solution mode (usually with the best of intentions). But give your Sales colleagues the time and respect of seeing it from their point of view.
This not only improves business outcomes but also builds an internal bridge between Sales and Marketing, fostering trust and encouraging more ongoing open dialogue.