Marketing in the Business-to-Business (B2B) world can mean a shift in perspective. If you switched industries or came from the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) arena, the transition can throw your marketing mindset off a bit. Now, as any good marketer would do, you are seeking out different forms of content to create and promote on the company website and social networks. But without a sexy product in shiny packaging to showcase, how do you best highlight the service or component you are tasked with marketing?
The answers could very well lie within your sales team. If your sales and marketing teams aren’t closely integrated, or aren’t on the same page with key goals and metrics, it may be up to you to forge that relationship. Doing so will make for a smart and effective marketing strategy and ultimately close more deals. In addition, it will ensure a growth marketing mentality throughout the organization.
The key to remember is that you want to coordinate with your sales team to align your content marketing efforts with their selling process. So, walk down that hall, pick up that phone, or set a meeting for the next time the entire sales team is in the office, and pick their brains.
Sales and Marketing; The Dream Team
- The questions they receive are revealing. Ask each sales team member to share the questions they are asked most often by their prospects. Go deeper and ask at what stage of the funnel those questions are asked. This will help guide your content marketing by giving you topic ideas for blog posts, ebooks, webinars, social media posts, and more. Knowing the funnel stage a prospect is in when they ask a question allows you to better align the content offers on your website.
- Their feedback on sales materials will help improve messaging. Scenario: the sales team asks the marketing team to spend time developing a new ‘sell sheet’ or case study, or some type of material that they want to take on the road to their next prospect visit or maybe a conference. Weeks or months later, the marketer has completely forgotten about that piece and has no idea if it was actually helpful in closing deals. Schedule time to reach out to the sales team after they have put that new piece in front of many prospects, and ask whether the piece resonated with the audience. They may tell you that the infographic was a hit and the new client asked to keep it and share it with their team. Or they may say that the new sell sheet didn’t quite speak to the buyer persona and they didn’t end up using it at all. Valuable information to know! Drill down and refine the sales materials you produce, to ensure maximum effectiveness and to also show that marketing is more than willing to help the sales team for the overall success of the organization.
- Obtain a temperature reading on leads. Periodically check in with the sales team on the quality of the leads you are funneling to them. Are the offers you put on the website bringing in qualified leads? If not, it’s time to change up the offer. Touch base again on your company’s buyer personas–are they still accurate, or have your buyer’s habits evolved? If they have changed, your personas, and therefore your offers, need to evolve.
- Gain insight into your marketing metrics. Hold a kickoff meeting with your sales team when you initially are setting the marketing metrics that you will track. Find out what they value when reviewing progress and customize a reporting dashboard just for them. Then send monthly reports to them, and hold a midpoint meeting as well. Get their feedback on what the metrics are showing as far as traffic sources, lead attribution, conversion rate, types of offers, etc, as the sales team may have deeper insight into trends you are seeing and help you make decisions on next steps.
- Asking them what they need to do their job benefits everyone. Keep in touch with the sales team and simply ask them what new materials they need in order to do their job. These materials will change when new products or services are launched, when re-branding happens, or when new staff change processes. Keeping marketing materials fresh and on-target with the intended audience ensures that prospects are receiving the best information about how your company can solve their problems.
The bottom line is, your boss and the stakeholders in the organization will be impressed if you make a real effort to understand the sales process within your company, and then adapt your marketing activities in order to deliver the most qualified leads to the team. The added bonus is that you will be up to your ears in topic ideas and will be churning out fresh content regularly!
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