At times it may seem like salespeople and marketers come from different plants but for your business to be a success they need to work together, which is why you need data-driven campaign.
If you asked a salesperson 20 years ago what they thought about a marketer, they wouldn’t have had good things to say. And if you asked a marketer the same question, they’d be just as negative.
There’s no question, salespeople and marketers are different. They should be. They have different skill sets. But how different are they? That’s where the answer that you’ll have received 20 years ago, is now totally different.
Alison Leishman, Strategic Director and co-founder of Spitfire Inbound, believes that roles are changing. “Marketing, sales, and customer service are focused more on the same things than they ever were before. Marketers didn’t used to chase numbers. Now they do but, while it’s an important part of their job now, it’s still not their only focus.”
So what are marketers focused on now?
“It changes over time. A few years ago when I attended the HubSpot Inbound event, marketers were focused on ROI, then they moved to focusing on the challenges of creating content volume. Then last year at INBOUND17, they realised that it’s actually about being memorable – creating an awesome user experience and building customer love.”
Ironically, it’s that same focus on the customer that now means that salespeople are not from Venus and marketers are not from Mars. Instead, if they’re both thinking about their customers in the same way (as they should be doing) then salespeople, marketers, and their customers are all from Earth. If they’re collaborating well, they should both be using their instincts as a guide, and modifying them with data.
What do marketers’ instincts tell them?
For marketers, their instinct tells them:
- When they’ve got good content it will cut through the noise, and
- When they’ve got good campaigns it will put the content in the right place where their personas are hanging out.
- When it is time to a) either to handover a quality lead as quickly as possible, so sales can follow through or, b) to hold on to a lead until it’s perfectly ready to hand over to sales.
What do salespeople’s instincts tell them?
For salespeople, their instincts tell them:
- If this is a good lead, if there’s enough information to identify a demand and when to offer an opportunity to make this a worthwhile deal in the end
- If it’s worth putting in the effort to turn the lead into a sale.
Darren Leishman, MD and co-founder of Spitfire Inbound emphasises that “there is nothing better than being handed a quality lead who has been well qualified. This gives you the momentum that you need in sales to build your confidence, which in turn allows you to create better leads.”
If you get handed a good lead it gives you momentum that makes every lead better, as so much of your selling comes from confidence - you will make your leads better.
Thank goodness the world is a different place to 20 years ago. Now, successful organisations know that salespeople cannot exist without marketing, and vice-versa. Nor should they.
What should happen in the new world where salespeople and marketers both come from Earth?
In this new world, everyone should be data-driven. Salespeople know that there’s a certain element of sales that is a numbers game where putting in more calls = getting more appointments = more likely to get a sale. Marketers are also sometimes guilty of taking the same approach with digital marketing: more traffic = more contacts = more likely to get a sale.
However, in today’s data-driven world, both sales and marketers know that this is not the only influence on the likelihood to win a sale. If it’s not the right contact, organisation, or person for either sales or marketing everyone loses.
Advice for marketers:
To help improve business success, marketers can help with the difficult sales task of prospecting: to identify MQLs from a company that’s being targeted, look at them within context, contact them and help nurture that lead until they’re ready to reach out to a salesperson. It is important to identify a quality lead as soon as possible and refer them to sales to follow up - it is what they do better than any marketers.
Advice for salespeople:
Salespeople have to help marketers identify the obvious (and not so obvious) signs that a lead is ready to talk about the value you can add to their business through a partnership that benefits both of you.
Advice for better collaboration:
- Marketers should use their instinct for a good story and a good promotional tool to use the numbers to refine their instincts.
- Sales should stop using these outdated sales tactics and focus, instead, on inbound sales tips and techniques like these.
- Sales should help marketing look critically at the deals they’re getting – to identify good leads, rather than just lots of leads and marketing shouldn’t be offended but, rather, learn what to do when sales hands back a lead.
- Both groups should learn and understand common myths about lead nurturing and the sales funnel, to overcome prejudice and improve collaboration
- Both groups should agree on a quality lead
- Both groups should watch out for these signs that sales and marketing are misaligned.
And if you’re still struggling, here’s a translation guide, to help ensure that marketing and sales are speaking the same language.
What’s the answer?
Focus your entire funnel on the value of relationships. Get the right people in at the top of the funnel, nurture them with valuable, helpful information throughout the funnel that leads to your solution, and the end result is that you’ll win customers that get what you do, want what you do, and want to work with you.
And at the end of the day, that’s what we all want – happy, satisfied customers who get what they want and are so delighted with what you’ve sold them that they tell their friends which, in turn, makes it easier to sell things to more people. It’s a beautiful planetary alignment.
Want some insights into how Inbound Marketing can help you create better data-driven campaigns? Download our guide, what is inbound marketing.
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