How Sales and Marketing Can Work Together to Deliver A Better Buying Experience
This article was written by RevenueZen Brand Manager Jake Moffett.
Think of marketing as the Jets, and sales as the Sharks. Together, they’re sales enablement, and that would make that department Maria. Your company is the Upper West Side of NYC — it’s the late 1950s, and all the audience wants is for them to get along, because we all know they’d work better together. West Side Story, anyone?
Sales and marketing have the same objective: make the business grow. That being said, even saying the two department names in the same breath may stir up memories of confusion, irritation, mixed messages, and months-late case studies. Sales and marketing haven’t always seen eye to eye, but if you want your team to grow, you need to foster an environment where the two teams work together.
This article will walk you through some out of the box and non-obvious ways sales and marketing can work together to deliver a better buying experience.
Thought Leadership for Sales
Buyers often do some research before they’re ready to make a purchase. In the B2B world, buyers are doing more than just looking at the company website. If they’re dealing with an SDR or AE, or perhaps directly with the founder of a smaller company, they’re likely scouring the internet for information on the seller themself.
Buyers want to know you’re an expert in your field and that you do more than just sell a product. It’s a buyer-centric world!
Creating content directly on LinkedIn is a great way to inspire others and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. However, the content you create cannot be promotional in any way. In fact, that’ll damage your reputation and perhaps turn a buyer off.
Salespeople don’t have to be the greatest writers (though they should always be amazing storytellers) if they have amazing marketing counterparts to help them create content.
Marketing teams: spend time with your sales team to help them write thought leadership content. Consider setting aside fifteen minutes a week to partner with a sales rep and have them talk through different topics with you. While you’re talking, write a LinkedIn post for them that they can post directly to their page. Explain to them the process of how you write, why you start with the lead and close with the CTA, the value of certain hashtags, etc. The goal, over time, is to get the rep to be able to craft content on their own. While you’re talking, you’ll organically discover conversations that the sales rep is having, which will inform you of different collateral you can create within the marketing department.
At RevenueZen, we’ve collected over a third of our ARR directly from thought leadership content, so we know it works! It just takes some time to learn your voice and style. When it comes to creating thought leadership content, there’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Be authentic
- Be bold and set the tone
- Promote ideas and values, not products
- Have an original point of view
- Use your failures to your advantage
- Understand your audience
- Take advantage of the right platforms
Sales Enablement Content
Sales has insights into prospective customer needs more than anyone else in an organization. You likely already have buyer personas, carefully created to mimic your ICP, but sales can provide so much more insight than those theoretical silhouettes.
In today’s landscape, marketing is tasked with providing content at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This is no easy task! Considering that marketing doesn’t engage with customers regularly, they’re often creating content based around inferences.
Sales teams have the insight on what clients want. They understand their problems, common objections and questions, and the type of language prospects use. Are they technical speakers or more casual? Do they want more visual collateral, or do they like to sit down and read? Sales team’s have that insight, so marketing, use it!
With sales’ help, marketing can create better customer-facing content, such as blog articles, case studies, eBooks, white papers, product comparisons, reports, and videos. This collateral is only useful, however, if prospects find it helpful! Did you know up to 80% of content produced by B2B marketing organizations goes unused? That’s what we want to avoid.
Sales teams: set time aside with marketing, perhaps twice a month for 30 minutes to discuss the major things you hear from prospective clients. Marketing doesn’t want to receive a Slack from you saying “hey, I need a case study on our thought leadership process, can you have that later this week?”
Marketing needs time to develop their products, so holding regularly scheduled chats where you do a brainstorming session with the team will allow time for them to develop what you need. As a sales member, it also gives you the opportunity to sync with the rest of the sales team about what is actually important and appearing across the board, versus one-off outliers, before you bring it to marketing.
Sales-Rep Facing Content
Content isn’t just for clients. Sales teams can use internal content to help them have better conversations with prospects. Together, the two departments can create internal collateral, such as more thorough buyer personas, training content and manuals, playbooks, phone scripts (used wisely), and email and proposal templates.
It’s essential for sales to have internal content so they can better serve and understand clients’ niche issues. If your sales team is just making it up as they go along, handling each prospect from scratch, they could be missing out on the ability to scale.
Together, sales and marketing need to understand the buyer journey. That means sales and marketing need to have transparency and open dialogues about what the other is seeing. It’s not always easy to coordinate this, but a good place to start is to set a structured quarterly, if not monthly, meeting dedicated to understanding who the ideal buyers are. It’s important this isn’t a one-time meeting, as buyers often change over time as service offerings evolve.
Take this time to evaluate your content library to understand what pieces have been hits, and where there are gaps.
Asking for a Backlink
In the B2B space, sales teams may come across organizations who’d be good fits for backlinks. According to Moz, “a backlink is a link created when one website links to another. Backlinks are also called “inbound links” or “incoming links.” They’re extremely important when it comes to improving your domain authority and increasing site visibility.
With knowledge of what marketing collateral already exists in an organization, sales teams can confidently scout other companies who may be good fits for providing backlinks to their own company’s blog. Seems complicated, but it isn’t.
Sales teams are constantly talking with other organizations, and if they’re not actually speaking, they are at least coming across other websites while prospecting. If they come across a website that’s a good fit for content their own company produces, they can scour the blog, see if there’s an opportunity for a backlink, and then reach out to that company to ask if they’d be open to backlinking.
Sales, if you come across a blog that you know marketing has created collateral that’d be an excellent source of information, ask the blog’s writer if they’d be open to using it! This benefits both of you, as it shows you’ve a) taken the time to read their content; and b) initiated contact in a way that’s non-salesy. It opens up doors for you, and there’s the possibility that a happy marketer will send your name along to the right people.
The interaction can look like this:
“Hey Jenny, I loved your post about sales and marketing working together. In the Sales-Rep Facing Content section, you have the line “Together, sales and marketing need to understand the buyer journey.” My company wrote a pretty-thorough and out-of-the-box piece on the evolution of the buyer journey in current times. Sending the link. Open to backlinking?”
Easy as that.
There are so many reasons for sales and marketing to make alignment a priority. We’ve seen how much the two departments can achieve when they’re separate entities, so just imagine what it’d be like if they joined forces for the common good of generating revenue.
Prospects are coming to us knowing so much more of what they want, but that doesn’t mean we can fall short on delivering useful, non-promotional content. We still need to have content that informs people what our products do, but not at the expense of topical collateral.
So to all my West Side Story fans, I hope you’ve been taken on a musical journey of how the Jets and Sharks should have worked together to make a better outcome for Maria.
RevenueZen has been helping teams create engaging content that turns into closed won deals since 2017. Contact them if your team needs help with inbound lead gen, SEO, and outbound network growth.
Teams that use DealPoint close more deals, have a super accurate forecast and enjoy all the benefits of mutual trust & transparency between buying team and selling team.
So what do you want your next quarter to look like? Let’s talk.
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