In looking at the other side of the sales-marketing relationship, sales teams have responsibilities, too. If they don’t follow through, provide feedback, and become part of the process, marketing initiatives won’t go far. So how can sales teams better support marketing so that the entire organization generates more revenue?
It’s not an easy answer. Many factors impact the relationship, but there are ways to bring both groups together to drive success.
In this post, we’ll define four “failures” that can permeate organizations if the sales team doesn’t respond effectively and drive momentum for marketing initiatives. Failure to address these issues means both teams won’t reach their potential.
1. Sales Team Doesn’t Provide Feedback or Data on Content
Sales and marketing should be a constant feedback loop. Both teams need to share information so that everyone is on the same page and is exerting energy in the same manner. Such a process can be challenging, and it’s often inconsistent if it exists at all. If you want to improve marketing campaign outcomes, salespeople need to provide feedback.
Sales reps have direct interactions with customers and prospects every day. These moments allow the sales team to dig into current challenges and whether the content provided is addressing them. The reality is that your customers’ motives and pain points are constantly changing. Without a clear echo chamber to capture this, the content can come up short and miss the mark.
Additionally, the content may not be effective because it doesn’t answer all of the prospects’ questions. For example, if a life sciences rep uses a product video to demonstrate how a medical device works, viewers may have questions it doesn’t answer. This valuable information is critical to marketing teams and allows them to produce more impactful content.
Beyond anecdotal comments, sales reps should be using technology that tracks content used by sales and the response and engagement rate of prospects. If sales reps aren’t using the system properly, or at all, this data won’t exist. Data fuels better content, decision-making, personalization, and more. You don’t want a gap in this arena, because it can derail your sales goals.
2. Sales Team Doesn’t Update CRM Information
The CRM system is the hub for contacts and tracks all the touchpoints and interactions between your organization and buyers. When sales reps omit key information, it's hard for marketing to effectively target and align the right campaigns with the right prospects. For instance, marketers can segment prospects into groups based on their previous interactions. This helps the team build a more compelling campaign that will resonate, therefore increasing the opportunity for the sales team to secure a win.
The pushback from sales reps is often that CRM work is labor- and time-intensive. In fact, they may have to re-enter information if integrations don’t exist. To avoid this and encourage further adoption of the tool, you’ll want to streamline the process with a sales enablement platform that has these capabilities.
3. Competitive Insights Slip Through the Cracks
Salespeople have their ears on the industry, hearing critical information on competitors. They’ll likely hear these tidbits from leads they’re working with or from other insiders. This is valuable to a marketer who’s designing content and can substantially impact future initiatives.
These insights offer one more layer of intelligence that sales reps can gather and disseminate to the marketing team to ensure campaigns and their content take advantage of competitors’ weaknesses.
4. Sales Team Doesn’t Engage with Content
Marketers spend lots of time and resources creating content in multiple channels. The sales team has the ability to extend the reach of that content by interacting with it on social media or other channels. Doing so not only supports marketing campaigns, but it also positions sales reps as thought leaders in the space.
The problem here is not solely on the sales side. Marketing should take the time to educate on the power of content marketing for the brand. When sales reps understand the potential of their advocacy and how properly leveraging it can benefit them, they’ll be more apt to take the time.
The Path to Better Sales-Marketing Alignment
For sales reps to support marketing initiatives, some fundamental things need to be in place. Without them, you aren’t likely to achieve meaningful sales-marketing alignment. Turn failures into successes by establishing these protocols:
- Communication and regular meetings to discuss industry trends, content needs, upcoming campaigns, and more: Dedicated time for the sales and marketing teams to chat about this will bring visibility to all.
- A positive culture that puts both teams on the same level and in a collaborative relationship: If there is antagonism on either side, you’ll need to root that out. It’s most effective when you secure top-down buy-in.
- Transparency around goals and objectives for both groups so they can work toward these together. Many of these goals will likely overlap, so it makes more sense to tackle them concurrently.
- Establishing and maintaining workflows regarding CRM data to ensure it is accurate, complete, and clean. Your CRM data will have little value with governance around how you use and maintain it.
- Closing the feedback loop with processes for sales reps to report information to the marketing team and using technology to gather and analyze data on content engagement: The feedback principle requires that the sales and marketing teams have an open dialogue as well to collect data on usage and analyze it for actionable insights.
To establish sales-marketing alignment, you’ll need a collaborative approach as well as the right tools. The most valuable tool that can enable sales to better support marketing campaigns is sales enablement software.
Sales and Marketing Equal the Revenue Team
Although sales and marketing have unique roles in a company, they are more alike than disparate. They shouldn’t operate in silos but instead as one revenue team, with revenue generation being the primary objective. Such a dynamic is achievable when you have the proper mindset, culture, and technology. By leveraging a sales enablement platform, you’ll find that you can eliminate your current barriers.
Learn more about how critical sales enablement software is in the sales-marketing relationship by downloading our e-book, Secrets Revealed: How Marketing Can Help Increase Sales Using a Sales Enablement Platform.