B2B is simple: marketing comes up with the leads, and sales converts them. Sure, it’s simple… when everything is going right. But what happens when the organization isn’t hitting its numbers? If you ask sales, it’s because marketing isn’t providing enough qualified leads. If you ask marketing, it’s because sales isn’t working hard enough to convert the leads they’ve already been given.
Unfortunately, that’s the dynamic that exists more often than not. Like cats and dogs, B2B marketing and sales departments often feel more like competitors than collaborators, destined to point fingers forever instead of working together to make each department stronger.
But the fact is that too many companies spend hours and hours honing their marketing strategy without ever bringing sales to the table. This is a crucial mistake; as the people who talk to your customers day in and day out, your sales team can provide crucial intelligence you can use to improve your marketing strategy, which in turn will improve the leads you deliver to sales.
As a B2B marketer, it’s up to you to take the lead and make sales a part of your strategy. Here are five things you should ask your sales team right now to ensure what you’re doing is in line with what they need:
- What are your quarterly sales goals?
You can’t help the sales team hit their target if you don’t know what you’re aiming at. Spend some time learning about their quarterly goals and discuss why they chose them. Is there a specific account they are trying to land, or perhaps a new market they want to enter? If so, this may determine the type of content you prioritize, the channels you run on, or even the focus of your overall messaging.
- What is your top sales enablement need?
B2B sales reps talk to dozens of prospects a week. With that many conversations, they have a keen sense of what is important and what isn’t. Instead of spending time and budget coming up with a marketing asset they might not need or want, talk with your sales team to discover their top priority for marketing content. They may have already identified a need for a new message or material they can use to close the sale, but have been too busy trying to make do with what they have to volunteer that information to the marketing team.
- Who are the primary decision makers?
On average, it takes 6.8 customer stakeholders to make a B2B purchasing decision. So while you might think you know your primary audience, think again. Your sales team can tell you all about the exact roles you need to talk to, their pain points, their needs, their objections, and more. You’ll likely discover that your primary audience includes a wide variety of implementers and supporting roles in addition to the main decision maker, all who have their own concerns that may need to be addressed in your marketing.
- What channels does your audience use?
B2B marketers work hard to keep up with the latest channels. But with a near-infinite way for people to connect with others and get information, it can be difficult to know precisely which ones are most relevant to your audience at all times. While the marketing team can certainly use research and analytics to determine the right marketing channel mix, make sure you include sales to get their perspective on where their prospects are. By including sales, you can either confirm what your data is telling you or help unlock new opportunities you didn’t know existed.
- What are your prospects’ biggest barrier of purchase?
When closing a sale or losing a big deal, a B2B sales team will often hear the same objections over and over. Marketing needs to work closely with sales to create effective buyer enablement content that not only overcomes these objections, but helps create champions within your prospect organizations so they can help overcome those objections internally and do your selling for you.
While B2B marketing teams will continue to use KPIs like clickthroughs or MQLs to define success, it’s important to remember that leadership defines success by revenue. By working more closely with sales, your marketing department will be able to deliver the success metric your boss truly cares about.