18 Mar Subtracting the Sales and Marketing Divide
It’s a classic challenge. Sales thinks that marketing doesn’t provide enough real-world support for their sales engagements. Marketing is convinced that sales isn’t executing with the resources they deliver. While it’s healthy to have some give and take, if the go-to-market function is a toxic one then it can have a major impact on your growth.
The divide has become more pronounced recently due to major shifts in the sales and marketing functions. Increasingly, business-to-business marketing focuses on attracting and nurturing inbound leads through an evaluation process. And inside sales teams are growing in importance to engage these inbound prospects on their terms.
With fundamental changes to the go-to-market model comes the need to reevaluate how sales and marketing can engage effectively. In the coming weeks, we’ll publish survey data, infographics, and more blog posts that investigate the challenge. Before we dive in, let’s take a look at some of the common ‘divisions’ that we’ll take a look at.
1. Sales Needs Fast Access to Sales Tools
Sales teams need to respond quickly to the needs of prospects. In fact, this need has become more pronounced with the move to an inbound marketing / inside sales approach. That’s because prospects will often engage briefly with sales, looking to answer specific questions. So the sales person will need to respond with targeted collateral and messaging to keep the dialog going.
But the common challenge for a sales person is that they can’t find the material they need to keep the sales engagement going. They may check their document management system and come back with a large set of poor matches. The result, too often, is to not use the most current and effective marketing content. Instead, they may use whatever is on hand or on their desktop.
2. Advancing a Sales Process Requires the Right Messaging
It’s enough to send just any content to a prospect. Sales teams need to send the most effective message. When sales uses generic sales tools, it’s a source of friction between sales and marketing. After all, marketing has often produced great content that can help specific situations. But if sales isn’t using it, it is a wasted opportunity.
So, how do sales people know which content works in a given situation? Marketing and sales should assess their sales processes to understand when certain messages resonate best. Do best practices help early in the sales cycle? Do banking case studies work across all financial services prospects? Which proposals close business? Understanding what messages work helps sales and marketing partner better.
3. Marketing Needs Input on What Works
Communication is a key to any healthy relationship. And the same is true for sales and marketing teams. If sales sees that the corporate presentation isn’t working with prospects they need to let marketing know. But too often sales teams don’t have enough time to pass recommendations back to marketing. Or, they produce their own customized versions that work better, but aren’t shared with other colleagues.
Marketing needs to make it easy for sales teams (and their prospects) to give feedback about what works for different content and messages. And they need data about whether or not content is effective – the same way that they know what email messages work via their Marketing Automation tooling. And as part of a healthy relationship, marketing needs to capitalize on customized content that effective sales people produce. Standardize it, and make it available to sales colleagues.
4. Marketing Needs to Respond to Sales’ Needs Quickly
Marketing can’t always have the right content available. That’s especially true for proposal responses where tailored answers are needed. So, content development teams need to be able to find supporting content quickly, iterate, and get content out into the field or a response quickly.
That requires lightweight tools for marketing to edit, review, and approve content. And then simple tools that make sure that this new or revised content can be quickly found and reused by go-to-market team members.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll dive into these and other issues. But first, what other areas of friction do you see between sales and marketing teams?