10 Things Your Marketing Team Needs to Know About Sales

What does sales need from marketing and vice versa?

I’ve worked in communications/marketing for 17 years. My husband has been in life science sales for even longer. There are often “healthy debates” in our house about the roles of sales and marketing in life science companies and misperceptions about the two.

When marketing and sales understand each other, big things happen.

Over the years we’ve discovered that debates happen because the roles and interactions between sales and marketing can be very different at different organizations.

As you plan your year, there are some things every marketer should know about the sales function at your organization.

What is a typical sales cycle?

The length of your sales cycle can have a huge effect on your marketing. If customers typically take a year to sign up for your service or buy your product, you aren’t going to sell them based on a single demonstration or a two-week trial.

What’s the time between a lead going into the CRM and a deal closing? How many touch-points are there along the way?

The answers to those questions can direct your marketing strategy and deliver higher quality leads.

What marketing collateral does the sales team use the most frequently?
Marketing materials can be useful for sales. When you produce marketing materials, bear in mind that they can also be used by the sales team to convince end-of-funnel prospects.

Knowing what kind of materials your sales team uses can help you produce more helpful materials. You may even be able to reformat or repurpose existing materials to provide more value to the sales team.

With better materials, you can increase your conversion rate and bottom line.

What marketing collateral is sitting in the reps’ garages gathering dust?
Sales reps work directly with prospects all day every day. As such, they have fantastic insight into what works to close a deal.

So if the sales team has put a piece of collateral on the bench, pay attention. Consider scrapping or modifying the collateral in your marketing efforts, or else redirect future marketing to stay away from the messages that flop.

What is the one differentiator that the sales team has the hardest time communicating to your customers?

As a marketer, a lot of your job is persuasive communication. It’s possible that the sales team is struggling to sell customers on particular differentiators, just like it’s possible that you are talking about differentiators that aren’t the customers’ highest priority.

Talk to the sales team to get their notes, and pay attention so that you can help out with messaging if necessary.

What does sales do with a marketing qualified lead?

At some organizations, sales teams basically ignore leads that come from marketing.

That isn’t an ideal scenario. Once you pass a lead on to sales, what happens to it? The answer to this question can help you better qualify your leads, as well as set them up with messaging that will lead nicely into the sales team’s pitch.

Where does sales get the majority of their leads?

What marketing or other customer acquisition methods get the most, and best, leads?

The answer can help you focus marketing resources where they’ll have the best ROI, as well as suggest new channels for marketing materials. If you get a lot of business from referrals, are there marketing materials you can create to increase the chance or frequency of a good review?

Think outside the box to find new ways marketing can support customer acquisition, retention, and advocacy.

What kind of marketing would sales teams prioritize, given a finite budget?

Marketing can have several goals, including creating broad brand and product awareness, so the company and products are known entities in the marketplace when sales reaches out, or generating specific leads for the team to follow up with.

Which route is more valuable to sales? The answer depends on your product/service, your sales cycle, the size and type of your business, and other factors. It can also change over time. Check in periodically for feedback.

How does the sales team stay connected to customers after a deal closes?

Are you getting referrals or customer advocates? If you do or have a significant amount of repeat business, there may be a place for marketers to get involved. Working with sales to market specifically to existing customers may improve your upsells and cross-sells.

Marketing doesn’t have to stop with customer acquisition.

How do your customers typically like to communicate?
How does sales connect with customers? Meetings in person? Email? Phone? Webex?

You can tweak your marketing to lead toward each of these meeting types. If customers prefer a particular kind of communication, mentioning that method in your end-of-funnel marketing could give the sales team a leg up in the process of selling.

So what does sales need from marketing?

They need to know the full breadth of your marketing team’s capabilities.
If your sales team doesn’t know about your marketing team, it’s likely you’re leaving opportunities on the table.

Marketing can support sales, but if sales doesn’t know how to engage with the marketing team (or that they can) to fill a need, your business will function in silos.

Instead, make sure to share information freely across divisions. When marketing and sales are working together seamlessly, big things can happen to your business.

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