Have you ever had someone say to you, “I feel like you just don’t get me.” Yikes! That just brought back some memories of a girl I dated in high school. And it’s true — I didn’t “get” her. The problem was that nobody “got” her.
This same feeling can happen in the workplace as well. In particular, when marketing develops assets for their sales teams to use like collateral for prospecting meetings, or a trade show booth for lead generation, or an e-book for that prospect at the very bottom of the sales funnel. Although a key part of marketing is developing beautifully created assets, they aren’t always making the sales team stronger in their sales efforts.
SiriusDecisions, a leading global B2B research and advisory firm, demonstrated that “highly aligned B2B organizations achieve 19 percent faster revenue growth and 15 percent higher profitability.” It is fiscally irresponsible for a company to allow their marketing and sales team to work in silos. Let that sink in for a minute. The very best B2B organizations are the ones that best demonstrate alignment between their marketing and sales teams.
Here are five things to keep in mind when developing marketing assets for your B2B sales teams:
- Literally put on your sales hat. The number one reason that marketing teams miss the mark when designing assets for the sales team is because they don’t take the time to truly understand the buying challenges that the sales team has to overcome. Do a ride-along. Be on a sales call. Join the next internal sales meeting. Any of these activities will open up your view to the current buying challenges.
- Ask a bunch of questions. If the sales team feels uncomfortable with you tagging along during their sales activities, then ask to sit down with a couple of them one-on-one. Don’t just talk to the VP of Sales. You want the most authentic data you can. Have them go over the last five deals they closed and the last five deals they lost. How and when did they get the lead? What were the sales activities along the buying cycle? Why did they convert or why did they drop out of the funnel?
- Competitor research. Sales materials are becoming more and more available for prospects to access without talking to a sales rep. Guess who can also access those sales materials? YOU! This is a great way for you to see what type of material your competitors are using to help their sales teams. Start by asking your sales team who they find themselves competing with on a regular basis. Don’t just assume whom the competitors are.
- Each section of the sales funnel needs love. I’m glad that you built a drip campaign that has a custom landing page that ties in beautifully with your marketing automation platform, but your sales guy is building his own pitch deck in PowerPoint using Times New Roman and images that he shot from his iPhone. After you’ve learned about the multiple touch points along the buying journey, make sure each touch point has assets that your sales team can use.
- Convert them to a customer smoothly. When the sales team has converted a prospect to a customer, they are ready to move on to the other leads in the pipeline and hand off the new customer to the account management team. How can marketing help build in assets to make it a smooth transition and get the new customer excited about their new partnership with your company? Also, keep in mind that the sales team will likely want to touch base with the new customer during the year without disrupting the work of the account management team. Make sure to build marketing assets and activities that allow both teams to keep building on the relationship.
Last thing to keep in mind is that the marketing team can only do one of two things for the sales team. Help them or hurt them. What are you honestly doing for your sales team?