It seems to me that in the evolution of business over the years that we should be beyond this. Right? Marketing should be talking to sales and sales should be talking to marketing. I mean duh. The reality is that sales and marketing often still don’t talk. They don’t strategize; they don’t tell each other what the one needs from the other. They often don’t work together in content creation or brand messaging strategy. I’m here to say that that’s a problem! A huge missed opportunity!
We recently began a new initiative with one of our clients to help facilitate the sales and marketing conversation that was missing in their organization. The idea was to gather information from both teams in order to begin to formulate unified messaging across their website and sales collateral. What we found was that the conversation was a breath of fresh air for everyone. The response from both teams was amazing because there was a realization that although they work for the same company, the often worked in silos as ‘sales team’ and ‘marketing team’. It was like having a conversation with a distant relative for the first time in years. So good to catch up and see what the other was doing and in the process revitalizing the relationship.
Beyond the ‘catching up’ and relational part of working together as a unified ‘Sales and Marketing’ team the information shared and gathered was invaluable. Here are some of the questions we asked SALES, that were extremely valuable for both sales and marketing. I recommend that every organization ask (and get answers to) these questions on a quarterly, or semi-annual, basis. Read and see why…
- List three (or more) objections you hear from prospects. Are these similar across products and solutions? If not how do they differ?
- Who do you feel the buyer is in terms of title or persona (if your company has personas created)? Does this vary by business size or vertical?
- Who (by title or persona) are influencers in the sales cycle?
- Describe the typical sales process from engagement through close.
- How much time does it take to get through the sales cycle?
- What questions do your prospects ask of you? What are they asking of you to help them make their decision?
- In a successful sale, what do you think, most often, makes it a success?
- List the key product/solution differentiators that your company has over its competition. Not just what your web page says; What are your clients/customers saying are your key differentiators? Why did they purchase?
- Buyer: What frustrations do buyers typically have in their daily work, or company, that you’re solving? What are their fears? What pressures are they under in making decisions?
- Influencer: What frustrations do influencers typically have in their daily work, or company, that you’re solving? What are their fears? What pressures are they under in making decisions?
- What are your competitors doing better than you? OUCH, but you better know.
- What are you doing better than your competitors?
- Is your website a valuable sales tool for you?
- If you could make any change to your website what would you change?
- Does your site meet the needs of your entire target audience?
- What are prospects and customers saying about your website?
I really could create a longer list but we went in with a set amount of questions and allowed the conversation to ebb and flow based on the answers. You can see how much real value it would bring to any organization if you had the answers to these questions.
The ultimate goal is to use this valuable information for content development with strong messaging that speaks to your audience. To make that happen, and to gather this info…marketing you are going to have to speak to Sales; Sales, you’re going to have to work with Marketing to help them understand the objections and problems you face when your feet on are the front line talking to prospects. Too often Sales just wants to complain about how Marketing never knows what’s really going on and what Sales really needs. Marketing, you know you’re guilty of complaining about Sales wanting everything, and wanting it now, without really empathizing with the pressure they’re under to sell; pressure that is often driven by sales goals and quotas. Both teams need to put the other’s shoes on, talk some shop, and strategize together on how each can help the other. Trust me; both teams will be more successful.
Do you find the Sales and Marketing chasm being an issue in your company? How have you worked through that? Let us know in the comments below!