Marketing and sales have always been two areas of business that go hand in hand. If the marketing team isn’t doing its job, the sales team won’t have qualified leads to close in the first place. But there’s a lot more that most companies can do with their marketing teams than they currently are in terms of boosting sales and conversions. In many organizations, sales and marketing teams end up pitted against each other, pointing fingers and shifting blame when things go wrong.
What if, instead, you focused on how to use both teams to make things go right? Your marketing department is generating hundreds of leads each month. Imagine closing even just a fraction more than what you are now—your profits and retention will soar. In order to create a solid partnership between the two, here’s what you need to do.
One of the biggest stop gaps in the marketing-sales relationship is the blame game. Neither team is trained on how the other works or impacts their role and duties, so everyone wants to claim that it’s “not my job” or that leads falling through the cracks are the other team’s fault. If these two understand how they work together to create the total sales funnel for your customer buying journey, they will be able to deliver a more cohesive experience and stop ending up at each other’s throats.
Your sales training should include insights on marketing and how their work plays a role in the sales reps’ jobs. Your marketing training should include sales insights that might help marketers make better decisions about their efforts. Set the bar for collaboration from the start.
Speaking of understanding their roles, having the right organizational structure can make a big difference, too. If you have a bunch of static departments that are internally focused and don’t interact with other teams often, you’re going to end up with a disconnected process and that’s going to lead to a lot of dropped leads and lost sales. Avoid the disconnect by making sure that there is a place for every team and that every team has its place.
The reason that inbound leads are an area of struggle is because many sales reps are trained in aggressive practices to close deals. They are focused on getting the sale and immediately dismiss the leads that won’t generate that conversion right away. However, inbound leads take a lot more nurturing and never respond well to someone coming at them with a hard-sell pitch, no matter how many times they’ve visited the site or interacted with your company first.
The conversations that you have with inbound leads should be consultative and educational. The goal should be to position your organization as the preferred resource for whatever pain points they are having or solutions they need. This is also a great place to discuss a possible timeline with each prospect so that the sales reps can be available at their demand.
If the conversation ends and a lead still isn’t ready, you can pass them back to the marketing team with the new information you’ve gathered. This will allow them to continue to nurture the lead until the prospect is ready to convert.
What happens when your sales team gets leads and finds those that aren’t ready to convert? Do they send them back to marketing for further nurturing or do they just disappear on a pile on someone’s desk? You need to make sure that your sales team knows how to pass leads back to marketing so that they can continue to be nurtured until they’re ready.
If you can’t connect the two teams and create a team effort of lead nurturing, you’ll struggle to increase conversions and profits. Communication is everything, so make sure that everyone feels comfortable sharing information and offering feedback. This will also eliminate the blame game and finger-pointing, too.
It’s not just about making the marketing team better or just about making the sales team better. It’s about making your organization better, and that requires improving, aligning, and consistently monitoring both teams. If you have regular meetings with both teams present, you will be able to get consistent feedback for actionable improvements.
Make sure that you set up meetings as a group event, not as an “us versus them” across-the-table debate. Facilitate the meetings in a way that encourages collaboration and watch your teams follow suit.
If your marketing team doesn’t understand what the sales team is trying to achieve, they don’t know how to market effectively to your prospects. They can probably pull it off, but they won’t be able to deliver the tailored, targeted messaging that provides a cohesive buying journey from start to finish. When you set sales goals and other metrics, make sure that everyone is familiar with them, not just your sales team or your closers.
In many cases, your internal marketing team might be able to problem-solve and help your sales team close more deals, convert more leads, and improve business in other ways. They’re not just for promoting business—the marketing team is an integral part of the customer journey. Treat them as such and include them appropriately, including when it comes to goal setting and strategy.
When your sales and marketing teams are aligned, you’re going to see an increase in leads and qualified prospects. Are you ready to handle that? While you’re perfecting your internal strategy, why not rely on a 24/7 answering service? When you choose the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you’ll get that along with support for lead intake, appointment scheduling, and even your outreach campaigns.