– Roy Harry, Creative Director, Media II, Inc. The firm specializes in optimizing B2B marketing communications results.
Sometimes, marketing people don’t understand sales people. And sales people don’t understand marketing. I’ve heard marketing people say sales is arrogant and lazy and ignores marketing’s efforts. Likewise, I’ve heard sales people opine that marketing is irresponsible and irrelevant. They never get anything useful from marketing.
But instead of moaning, what can we do about it? Here are some tips for marketers to begin building bridges with sales.
Tips To Bridge Building
- Truly involve sales in the marketing process: Simple concept, rarely done. Go to sales meetings, accompany sales on calls, walk in their shoes for a while. Often, the best marketers I know have a sales background. You don’t have to sing “Kumbaya,” but you must bring the sales team in at every stage of the marketing process to understand their needs and gain their buy-in.
- On the other hand, don’t let sales push you around. As a marketing professional you must have a broader vision for the company’s voice, position and resources. Sales people are focused on their individual territory requirements. Your job is to use various input from sales and turn it into cohesive strategies and tools.
- If you are trying to change behavior of sales people, save your breath and efforts. They are who they are. If you see problem, we as marketers have to create solutions. It is up to marketing to get proactive and make some changes.
- Understand the sales plan. As a partner, we need to complement the goals and resources of the sales plan.
- Don’t get too cute with marketing communications messaging. Make sure sales can easily understand and deliver messages to customers.
- Good sales people hate unqualified leads. Marketing must develop a sales funnel to pre-qualify leads before sharing them with sales. After you create the lead process, insist that qualified leads be followed up.
- Do not steal thunder sales people. Even though you created the awareness, sales leads and lead management system that eventually led to a sale, limit yourself to activity-based measures, like cost-per-qualified lead, and leave the revenue claims to sales. At least when you are in public.
- Contact sales and interview key sales reps and managers regularly. Think Ed Koch: “How’m I doing?” Ask what are their key challenges and brainstorm ways you can help them succeed. And then deliver on what you promised.
Good selling and marketing!
Do you have any other tips that you would share about improving sales and marketing performance? Let me know:
Roy Harry, CEO and Creative Director for Media II, has spent over 30 years helping B2B marketers improve marketing communications results with common-sense support.