Without marketing, there would be no lead generation, awareness of your company’s product, or fancy logos. And without sales, there would be no… well, there’d be no sales!
These two departments don’t always see eye to eye on how they can align to produce the greatest company growth. As someone who has a background in sales, and now is dabbling more in marketing, I have a clearer vision of how marketing and sales can get along a little better.
Here are 6 ways marketing and sales don’t see eye to eye, and how they can work to solve it:
1. Bad Leads
Not every lead is a good lead, we can all agree on that. But it’s also impossible for marketing to ensure that each and every lead they provide to sales is a qualified one. Not only is marketing on the hook to produce excellent leads, but they also need to produce them in vast quantities. A few bad ones are bound to get through.
To combat this problem, sales needs to communicate with marketing on exactly who their ideal buyer is. Jot down the most important demographics, and once marketing has a very firm set of criteria, they can do a better job pushing through only the best leads.
2. No Leads
If you’re in sales, what do you think is worse: bad leads or no leads? One wastes your time, but the other leaves you with nothing to do. At least if you’re calling a bad lead, and do get them on the phone, it may turn into a networking opportunity. On the other hand, if you have no one in your pipeline to call, then you just can’t do your job. Salespeople, please take a breath before you start yelling at marketing for this.
Sales and marketing should always have an open dialogue between each other, instead of about each other. If you recently adjusted the parameters on who is considered a qualified lead, that may have really slowly down the funnel. Maybe you should just talk to each other to figure out what has changed. Sales should also not forget that they are also capable of searching and networking for their own prospects as well. Don’t rely solely on marketing!
3. Ad Campaigns
Sometimes sales and marketing don’t agree on company branding and messaging. I once worked for a company whose slogan for our new product (which was plastered everywhere) translated into French with a sort of off-color connotation to it. The salesperson sitting next to me, who sold into France, was livid and embarrassed that marketing didn’t take her customers into account.
Branded companies typically have strict style guidelines and messaging to adhere to. This not only makes you recognizable but also gives the illusion that you have some internal cohesion. Sales should be part of the marketing conversation around ad campaigns since they know the product they company is pushing better than anyone else.
4. Contacting customers
Sales can be very possessive over their accounts. In sales, you need to build rapport and personal check-ins with each and every prospect, or they won’t remember who you are or what you sell. But marketing also has the right to run email campaigns, which can include sales prospects. Sales can sometimes feel like marketing is barraging their contacts with annoying emails.
Rest assured, there is a solution! This is where you really need the business systems arm of your company to come into play and make sure all databases and software applications are talking to each other. Simply bring in IT to help map out, code, and segment, everyone prospect, and customer.
Many salespeople use tactics to help get their customers to close the deal now. Such as offering a discount to sign before the end of Q1. Now, let’s say marketing launches a new awesome ad campaign that teases prospects on what is “coming next month”. This can lead to some head-butting between marketing and sales, as it makes a customer want to pause on closing a deal THIS month when the company is promising amazing new things next month.
The answer to this communication problem, lies at the feet of the management. It’s a trickle-down communication glitch, and can be fixed if messages get relayed from the decision making leaders, to the middle managers, to the individual reps. If marketing has made a decision to run with an ad campaign, make sure that company directive is relayed all the way down the chain, and that everyone is on the same page.
6. Required Fields
Most salespeople I know hate entering data into their CRM. There are usually a million required fields just to simply enter an opportunity into the system. However, for marketing to do their job well, they need data to analyze which prospects turned into sales. This data helps them generate similar solid leads in the future. They would like to know as much as possible – customer’s industry, region, revenue, etc. But, sales doesn’t want any more required fields.
One way to solve this is by making data entry as seamless as possible for salespeople. With a Proactive CRM, most of the grueling data entry is automatically done for the reps. A salesperson can have a simple email conversation with their email assistant and contacts are created, reminders are set, and reports are run. If you minimize the time salespeople are spending on administrative tasks, then what marketing is asking for, won’t be a big deal.
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