Throughout my career, I have worked in both Sales and Marketing, and have experienced the pain points of both. I have sat in sales meetings where the following sentence has been said:
“The leads we have are terrible, we need Marketing to step up and get their targeting right.”
I have also sat in with the marketing team and agreed to the following sentence:
“I can’t understand why the Sales Team is not converting. What more do they need?”
This experience has taught me that sales and marketing teams have a complicated relationship. They need each other to work in synergy, but for the most part, there seems to be a competition and all too much of a “blame game”.
In truth, what Sales & Marketing need to do is exactly what people in most relationships need to do; communicate, collaborate, experiment and support each other. And whilst we are going through extremely tough times, there has never been a better time to sit back and evaluate the way your sales and marketing teams work together – you need this relationship to work now more than ever
What both teams need is complete transparency. One of the first things Cariad Marketing asks clients before we even start to work with them is “What does good look like?”. There is nothing worse than blind marketing. Superb Google rankings, high engagement and increased clicks is great for the reports, but if this is not bringing in the sales needed to keep the company ticking over, it means nothing. This is where the sales targets need to be picked apart, and a good marketing strategy will ensure that the marketing is geared towards this goal. There is no magic trick to this. The communication between teams doesn’t just have to be good, it has to be outstanding for the relationship to work.
It is important to understand how each team works together to get to the end goal. Once you BOTH know what good looks like, and you COMMUNICATE to ensure that the marketing is aligned with the sales goals, then is the time to work together to ensure this is a smooth operation. Spend time together to iron out the wrinkles of a plan, assess what’s working, what needs to be improved on, and what you can do together to make things work. Some of the best relationships Cariad has with our clients are the ones who work with each other, and don’t expect each other to work off their own steam. A cliché, but teamwork really does make the dream work!
Historically, the sales team would have to educate people on the industry, products and service, even telling them who the competitors are. In the modern age, the buyers are doing this even before they pick up the phone, fill out the contact form or DM you. The selling actually comes much later in the process. If the marketing hasn’t been done right, the savvy consumer will just go and find a different company who has, and ultimately spend their money there. But, even if we have a laser targeted campaign to a niche market, their individual buying process will mean the same message will not appeal to the same people. Sales and Marketing will need to work together to experiment with different processes, ad copy, content, social media channels, language structure. They will all need to be crafted to essentially speak the same message, to different target personas. Experimentation is essential to perfecting the marketing to drive more sales.
Last but not least, the importance of supporting both sides of the effort is paramount. What experimenting will show you, is that some things won’t work as well as you expect them to. This will mean that the support will need to be there in order to work through the problem. This is not the time to play the blame game against each team. If communication, collaboration and experimentation has all been done well, support should be second nature and there will be no finger pointing if things don’t have the desired outcome.
As a marketing agency, our biggest competition is not another agency, but the sales team or another member of the management team who is currently tasked with ‘doing the marketing.’ In nearly every conversation I have with businesses looking for marketing help, I am told how they have been covering the social media themselves, or they have someone in one of their departments who writes their content. As much as we understand that resource limitations mean that everyone has to “muck in”, the absence of a marketing strategy and expert implementation can have a negative effect on the sales pipeline. Having an experienced, trusted and dedicated person, team or outsourced agency for the marketing, means that the pressure is off the sales team,and other members of the company to do marketing as and when they can and as best they can.