A marriage on the rocks? How sales and marketing can get along better, Part Two

In Part One of this post, we considered why the marriage between sales and marketing was so uneasy, and we considered some possible solutions. This part offers some additional ideas.

Build personas together

One productive way sales and marketing can start working on their relationship is by collaborating on marketing personas.

A persona is a fictional representative of a potential buyer. They’re an attempt to make abstract marketing data a little more concrete, by representing that data as a character. Marketing teams frequently use personas to guide their work.

So personas are built from data-gathering. But hang on…don’t the sales team deal every day with real buyers? How could this input into the marketing process?

Sales can help marketing by fleshing out the latter’s personas. They can provide vital real-world information that marketers cannot discover on their own. For example, what language and turns of phrase do real customers use? What are their pain points in the buying process? These details can help the marketing team craft everything from great subject lines to persuasive marketing copy. And that, in turn, can only help the sales team.

Understand qualified leads

Another way sales and marketing can work on their marriage is through gaining a shared understanding of qualified leads.

Now, of course both marketing teams and sales teams understand theoretically what’s  meant by a qualified lead. Unfortunately, in practice, the two teams are often working to different definitions. One of the most frequent complaints that sales reps have is that the supposedly qualified leads they are given are distinctly unqualified, with no interest in the service or product. This wastes their time and effort, and makes it all the harder for them to achieve sales targets. In many cases, companies need to do more preparatory work before considering that a prospect is ready for a sales call.

One solution is to bring together sales and marketing to formally define the ideal qualified lead. This can give marketing teams crucial insight into what stage prospects need to be approached for optimal results.

Helping the sales team educate buyers…about their own business

Imagine if the sales rep could talk to a prospect and convincingly show her that within the sector, there were solutions that were already saving some of her competition X pounds a year and Y working hours. Imagine if the rep could then explain how this might work in practice for her.

In B2B, this scenario can work extremely well for reps. Having laid the solution out on a plate for the prospect, th easy and automatic next step is to work with the person providing the information — and that is the sales rep. It’s a different focus to trying to sell the provider’s unique benefits. Instead, the rep is educating the prospect about opportunities within her own business, and then reaping the rewards.

To achieve this, the rep needs to be armed with hard data from the marketing team. It’s not easy to pull off, but if achieved it can give sales a powerful weapon in their persuasive arsenal. It’s a way in which marketing can genuinely support sales in a very direct and powerful way.

One last thought…team jollies?

Hear us out on this one. We know that team-building days are certainly not for everyone, and they can involve a substantial investment of time and money. But consider for a moment one survey’s finding: when sales and marketing executives have to describe each other, 87% of the terms used are negative. If the relationship is that dysfunctional, there’s an argument for giving the teams an opportunity to gel with each other as individuals in a setting that’s away from the stresses of work. You never know, it could be an investment that pays dividends.

We hope that out two-part post has given you some ideas about forging a constructive relationship between sales and marketing. For support with all aspects of marketing — from strategy and campaign planning to ethical telemarketing — please get in touch with CEC Marketing’s friendly team.