Special to the State Gazette
Most companies have historically used marketing to drive brand awareness and generate sales leads, relying on seasoned sales teams to close these deals by identifying the prospect's needs, recommending strategic solutions, and creating a sense of urgency.
Now more than ever, though, marketing is increasingly involved in the sales process beyond the point of lead generation, thanks to digital strategies like search engine optimization, online advertising and targeted landing pages that often provide exactly the information the prospect needs to make an informed buying decision.
With marketing playing a larger role in the sales process, it's essential to ensure your marketing and sales strategies are completely aligned or your marketing and sales teams may feel like they're trying to dance together to two very different beats; and your prospects won't have a seamless buying experience.
Forbes recently interviewed Deon Lewis about best practices for aligning your marketing and sales teams. As the Marketing VP at Weave, a SaaS communications platform, Lewis has developed effective strategies for getting both teams on the same page. For example, every time the marketing team generates a lead for the sales team, they pass along all relevant information about how they generated that lead, so the sales team can easily understand the prospect's position in the sales cycle.
The sales team is also trained on the materials developed by the marketing team. After all, if a certain marketing message on your website is resonating well with prospects, it's likely those prospects will call your sales team to learn more. If your sales team hasn't been briefed on that particular marketing message, however, they might fall flat on those sales calls without ever knowing why.
That's why it is wise for companies to invest in a sales and marketing liaison to help your sales and marketing teams avoid these dangerous disconnects. Your liaison can translate marketing messages into clear selling points for the sales team and offer guidance to the marketing department about what kinds of leads have been most likely to convert to sales in an effort to increase marketing investment returns.
An internal or external liaison can be chosen, but it's essential that he can be truly objective in his assessment of potential communication gaps between your sales and marketing teams or unproductive internal strife may be the unintended byproduct.
Your liaison's initial analysis should include interviews with your sales and marketing team, an audit of prior year marketing strategies and the results, a review of sales collateral, and shadowing of your sales team to better understand key selling points used and common prospect obstacles faced. With this research in hand, your liaison is equipped to strategically align your sales and marketing teams, ensuring both teams are dancing to the beat of the same drum.
Ashley McHugh is a training and development strategist at RedRover, and she can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.