Marketing loves sales. Why? Because the sales number is the most important number each quarter. And, an increase in sales generally results in an increased marketing budget and more allowance for creative approaches to get your company’s message out to a wider array of target audiences. But why hasn’t that love always historically been reciprocated? I’ve read countless thought leadership pieces from marketing and sales gurus that detail a borderline adversarial relationship between their respective departments, and I’m always left scratching my head. It doesn’t have to be this way.
I love the sales team at Conga, and we’re nurturing a positive symbiotic relationship while we’re constructing a system that embraces trust and allows camaraderie to flow in both directions. Here’s how you can make that happen at your company:
Engage in constructive discussion.
While objectives remain the same, the culture of marketing and sales departments are evolving within most organizations. For the better. Nonsensical aggression has toned down in business across the board, and this paradigm shift is allowing teams to have open and honest conversations about their needs without going for each others’ throats, so to speak. Like any relationship though, this takes work: challenge yourself to truly listen to what the sales team (or any team you’re meeting with, for that matter) is asking for. Only then can you boil down exactly how to accomplish those goals.
Enforce your call-to-action.
Whatever the marketing materials you create may be: case studies, social posts, press releases, blog posts, etc., ensure you have a strong call-to-action. You know this; it’s nothing new. But to give the sales department an extra boost, think critically about how the call-to-action can drive leads. And get creative! Did your organization recently roll out new capabilities that could address an untouched vertical? Craft call-to-actions that play right into the hands of that audience; they’ll feel heard. Add to that, evangelizing your content to sales will amplify overall company results.
Take the time to properly qualify your leads.
Few things get a sales department’s blood hotter than when they get a batch of marketing qualified leads, by way of a conference attendee, or whitepaper download, and those leads run away at the snap of a finger. Tensions immediately flare, and questions are pointed at the marketing team to explain why the leads weren’t thoroughly vetted in the first place. Scoring a lead is not akin to checking a box; it takes time, keen perception and the ability to engage in meaningful conversation to assess the prospect’s intentions.
If something isn’t working in your marketing department, address it plainly; don’t let it fester. Are your social programs not getting the engagement you looked for? Did your last webinar only attract a handful of viewers? Don’t panic; this happens. But to my above point, don’t stretch the campaign’s impact beyond recognition. Be honest with yourself and your partner departments about what’s working, what isn’t and what you need to be successful. Hold the people you work with to the same standard.
Oftentimes, when I hear about tension between sales and marketing departments at other companies, it’s usually followed with the admission that the two teams hardly interact on a day-to-day basis. We’re all charting the same course, so take advantage of the varying skill sets embodied by the varied departments in your organization to get there. Most of your professional success comes down to relationship building. As a marketer, sales is one of your most important relationships. Invest in it.