Getting Your Sales and Marketing Aligned
If in the past the sales team could have been the first or second touch point with a potential customer, today a lot of consumers initially get their information from online research. Despite the plethora of information, when purchasing complex solutions the consumers may still feel uncertain. Is your sales team effectively utilizing marketing materials? Is there a measurable way for you to know? Sales enablement allows marketing to provide salespeople with the right tools and content at the right stage in the buyer’s journey. As you read this, we encourage you to think about key areas you feel your organization can benefit from improving the connection between marketing and sales.
Establish a process For sales enablement to take effect in your organization, it is essential to create a process tied to specific measurable goals such as quickening the sales cycle or improving margins.1 Start with a survey to find out whether your sales team is utilizing what marketing has to offer. You might discover significant gaps. For example, your sales team may find that promotional materials are difficult to locate. In large organizations, marketing material might be spread out in several repositories instead of being located in one central place. This may make it difficult for sales to find the most updated content. In other scenarios, sales may altogether be unaware of the existence of updated marketing materials or might complain that the materials are not created with the salesperson in mind.
An important guideline to start integration is to have a formal submission form for the sales team to request assets from marketing. Such a document will ensure your sales team carefully considers the value they seek to achieve from each asset while marketing will have a concrete understanding of what should be delivered. Gathering the requests, categorizing them, and analyzing them will provide insights on the type of assets in greatest demand as well as gaps in asset creation according to the different audiences you target.2
Train Your Team It is essential marketing and sales share the same definitions for key concepts. Getting sales and marketing in the same room is the first step to coming to an agreement on fundamentals such as leads,marketing qualified leads, and opportunities to name a few. But it’s not just about the tools and content. Training employees on the correct processes is as critical as having easy access to one point of truth. To enhance retention, training should not be Strategist limited to once a year. Maintaining continuous communication can include, for example, internal newsletters, a “tip of the week” email, and instructional podcasts. For face-to face training to be truly effective, each session should end with actionable takeaways that salespeople can immediately take action on.
Qualify first Remember that a fast handoff of a lead from marketing to sales is not necessarily the goal. Lead qualification and handing off quality leads is essential before moving a prospect forward. Establishing a lead scoring process allows marketers to rank and assign those leads with the greatest likelihood to become opportunities for sales follow up. For leads that are not yet ready to become prospects, we suggest establishing a nurture process with automation. Through drip campaigns you can keep in touch with leads that have potential to become future customers.You can also direct potential customers who reach your website to a sales support section or live chat to continue engaging with the potential customer through his or her journey.