The most common mistake marketers make when designing and executing an inbound marketing strategy is attempting to do it all by themselves. Doing anything solo usually adds additional risk. Team efforts almost always prevail over one-man shows – just ask Lebron. Batman had Robin. Ben had Jerry. Lewis had Clark. And Lennon had McCartney. Heck, even when I was 12 years old, I was told to never go swimming in the lake without a “buddy.” So marketing needs to team up with sales to mitigate risk and increase the likelihood of success.
Still not convinced? Here are four reasons you should invite representatives of the sales team to your next marketing planning meeting.
1. Success is impossible without them.
Remember, the objective of any marketing strategy or campaign is not just to generate leads, but to generate revenue. Marketing can produce MQLs and SQLs all day long, but leads can’t be deposited in the bank or be used to pay bills. A needs analysis with a prospect won’t be completed, a proposal won’t be presented, or a contract won’t be sent without the involvement of a salesperson.
Since the sales team is critical to the success of the marketing strategy, it makes sense to set them up for success however possible. Communication is the key. Let them know what kind of leads they’ll be getting; how they’ll be receiving them; and what they should do when they get them. This is important. Many salespeople don’t know what their follow-up should look like and often give up too soon when trying to reach a new lead. They leave one voicemail and send one email and then assume the prospect really wasn’t interested. To combat this problem, many marketers are providing specific sales “plays” with each lead that’s handed off. A sales play outlines the next best steps that should be taken by the salesperson. Those next steps could be up to 10 different interactions over a time span of a few weeks. The called play could include email templates, call guides, sales collateral and voicemail scripts.
2. They’re great resources for target and campaign ideas.
Since salespeople are the ones who propose solutions and deal with prospects’ objections, they often know better than anyone what will resonate with a prospect. They should have their finger on the pulse of the market – knowing the various issues associated with each vertical and niche. A successful marketing initiative should address “hot button” topics; speak to common business challenges; and inform about relevant solution differentiators. Determining these elements can be as easy as asking the sales team a few questions.
3. They’re a great source of content.
Not only can salespeople provide input on marketing content ideas, they can often actually produce the content as well. Salespeople can be a great source of blog articles because they can leverage the topics and questions from their recent meetings with prospects to drive the creative process. Publishing content that is shared with prospects is also a great way for them to position themselves as thought-leaders and subject matter experts.
4. You need their feedback to adjust and optimize.
Marketers know that measuring the numbers is the first step at optimizing results. Some numbers are easy to get – website visits, lead conversion, etc. However, as a lead progresses through the sales funnel the metrics can be a bit more challenging to measure. What percentage of MQLs became SQLs? What percentage of SQLs became opportunities? How many opportunities received proposals? How many proposals closed? How long did the sales cycle take? The sales team can not only provide those performance metrics, but also provide anecdotal input on why a lead fell out of the process. This feedback can make the next campaign and the next lead even better.
It’s time to break down the walls between sales and marketing. Everyone is on the same team, and we share the same goals. Opening the lines of communication and aligning our objectives will ensure we all surpass our goals.