Improve relationships between sales and marketing departments | FirstRain

Improve relationships between sales and marketing departments

By Ryan Warren

Sales and marketing departments often butt heads. Despite them working toward the same goal, the lack of communication between employees in these divisions can often lead to decreased efficiency.

3 things salespeople wish marketers knew
Sales can be a difficult job. If salespeople could put one thing on their holiday wish lists, it would probably be that marketers try to empathize with their position more. Instead of buying your sales colleagues ornaments or chocolates this year, try giving them something they really need: a little more understanding.

1. Selling is difficult
Salespeople love to sell, but it’s a hard job. Selling is personal, says best-selling author Seth Godin. When a salesperson makes a promise, he or she has to keep it. In a similar vein, selling is highly interpersonal. Sales is like a long conversation. The salesperson can’t always tell you when a prospect is ready to buy. Often, no one knows.

2. There’s a huge difference between inbound and cold calls
No one wants to be in a situation where they have to make a cold call. As Godin puts it, the marketer’s job is to prevent a cold call scenario from ever taking place. Given how rude people in the U.S. can be over the phone, it’s no surprise that salespeople would want to avoid cold calling. A recent poll from The Atlantic Monthly demonstrated just how foul-mouthed Americans tend to be on the phone, particularly Ohioans.

3. Salespeople enjoy a good conversation-
– especially with you, the marketer! Salespeople tend to learn from conversations with each other. In turn, marketers stand to learn a lot from the salespeople who are down in the trenches.

What’s on the wish list in your sales department?
It all boils down to one big wish, and that’s known as lead qualification, according to Jeff Kalter for Business 2 Community.

The job of marketers is to generate leads, which salespeople then follow up on. However, the marketer’s job shouldn’t be over as soon as he or she has generated some interest in a product or service. As Kalter notes, this situation is lose-lose. When marketers hand over too many leads, salespeople are only able to call a few of them. Panicked about wasting time, the salesperson then throws out the rest of the leads, confident he or she can save more time by just starting over.

Instead, marketers can work to alleviate the burden by talking to leads themselves.

  • Think ahead – Determine whether prospects actually have the budget, need or timeframe to buy.
  • Score leads – Rate sales prospects based on the above criteria and assign a rating based on a system you decide.
  • Create a short list – Only send along the ones that qualify based on their ratings. Ideally, this shouldn’t be that many. As Kalter puts it, 10 dependable leads is better than 100 of questionable value.

Building the sales-marketing relationship
First of all, realize the two departments can learn together. Both sales and marketing can benefit from B2B market research. Market insights are invaluable to understanding the customer base. Both marketers and salespeople need this knowledge to maximize performance.

Schedule regular meetings to make sure sales and marketing are both in the loop. If you already have meetings, organize break-out sessions with small portions of each team, Brad Miller suggests in an article for Search Engine Watch. In these meetings, focus on the positives. Use the time to talk about which leads the marketing department provided actually led to a sale. It’s fun to talk about success, but it’s also beneficial. Figure out how both teams can reproduce these results.

The hyper-connected digital buyer has a greater knowledge base than ever before. Sales and marketing teams need to keep up. Consumers will probably have researched your product long before you ever speak with them. This is an area where marketers can really help out their sales teams.