How Your Sales and Marketing Teams Can Support Each Other

How are you setting your sales team up for success?  In an ideal world, your sales and marketing team would be perfectly aligned, working together to increase revenue. Your sales team would have a set of marketing assets that they could use to support their process. And, your marketing team would fully understand the sales strategy.  The good news is that this scenario is entirely possible. Here are a few ways you can implement a marketing support system to increase sales. 

Have a Cross-Training Session

When sales and marketing understand each other, your team is running more smoothly and working toward the same vision. They can use this information to align their goals, see where they can help each other, and build a sense of teamwork that will open up future collaboration.  Encourage these teams to work together to build revenue-generating opportunities. You can accomplish this by holding regular cross-training sessions, during which marketing is trained on the sales process and vice versa. You may also try implementing team-building exercises between the two teams as well, strengthening their communication. 

Ask The Sales Team What They Need

“If I could provide you with one thing to make your job easier, what would it be?” This question can spark conversations within your sales team about what they feel they’re missing and how you could help them fill a gap in their process. You might be surprised what they ask for. As a bonus, it will open an opportunity to brainstorm creative ways that you could solve their issues.

Build Marketing Pieces with The Sales Team in Mind

In your marketing strategy meetings, bring in a sales team member to discuss their goals for that year. As you’re building your newest plan, consider sales at every step of the process. Are there any pieces that you could build that might improve the sales strategy?  A few examples of marketing collateral pieces that could support your sales team are: 
  • Whitepapers
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Case studies
  • Customer interviews
  • Testimonials
  • Brochures 
  • Business cards
  • Branded customer gifts 

Attend a Sales Team Meeting

The more you know about what’s going on on the inside of your company’s sales team, the better you can support their efforts. Try attending sales meetings, and likewise, offer for a member of the sales team to attend your marketing meetings as well. You’ll be surprised what you can learn from each other.  Not only should these teams observe each others’ meetings, but they should also provide insight as they see fit. The more opportunities you take to be collaborative, the more aligned your sales and marketing teams will be. 

Adopt An Open Door Policy

By opening communication in the previous methods we discussed, you let the teams know that they can communicate with each other to improve their processes. However, it is essential to make it clear to these teams that an open-door policy is encouraged. Though you may feel like the teams feel comfortable coming to each other, some may still be reluctant. Make it abundantly clear that collaboration is the key to success. Are you looking to align and boost your sales and marketing efforts? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

3 Ways Internal Sales Teams & External Marketing Agencies Can Thrive Together

office working
Marketing should exist to be a strategic asset for business development. That includes equipping the sales team with the information and tools they need to be successful. But, creating the kind of collaboration that’s necessary for a thriving partnership isn’t always easy—especially between an outside marketing agency and an internal sales team. Oftentimes, a marketing agency works directly with one person on projects, either a business development leader or a marketing manager. Most of the work that’s being done by the agency isn’t directly connected to the day-to-day activities of the sales team. As a result, the sales team often wonders what the marketing agency is doing…and the marketing agency is wondering why the sales team isn’t taking advantage of all the work they’re doing. How Internal Sales Teams & External Marketing Agencies Can Thrive Together So, how do you create a type of culture where an external marketing agency can thrive with your entire sales team? Here are a few keys I’ve learned over the past few years…
  1. Make Sure Your Sales Team Feels Supported by the Work the Agency is Doing
Having a partnership where your sales team knows and trusts your marketing agency is key to an effective partnership. When sales and marketing agencies work together, there’s a certain amount of marketing that needs to be done for reps within the organization. While most marketing agencies work on specific projects or marketing campaigns, one way they can provide value to the sales team is by doing all of the heavy lifting for the “marketing work” that sales reps should do. This includes getting your agency to help with things like email scripts, sample social media content, and buyer personas that your sales team can use to be more effective and efficient.  
  1. Find Ways to Keep the Communication Lines Flowing
It’s critical for a marketing agency to communicate on a regular basis with relevant, important information that can help sales with customers and potential deals. Find ways for your sales team to connect with your marketing agency, whether it’s setting up monthly or quarterly meetings, weekly phone calls, etc. This provides an opportunity for your marketing agency to make sure sales is aware of all the activity that’s going on. It also provides your marketing agency with an opportunity to identify the biggest obstacles your sales team is facing so they can help create solutions for them.
  1. Inspire Both Teams with Success Stories
Celebration is another important key to collaboration. Highlight the success your sales team is having with your marketing agency. Let your sales team know about the projects and key learnings your marketing agency has discovered through their work. Finding times to celebrate the collaborative wins between your external agency and the internal sales team is key to ensuring the two teams are locking arms rather than pointing fingers.

3 Marketing Metrics Your Sales Team Should Know

traffic at night
Good sales teams are incredibly disciplined when it comes to monitoring the metrics that impact their ability to achieve their overall goals. Whether it’s certain sales cycle metrics, close rates, or deal rates, most sales professionals know exactly what they need to do to meet their quotas. However, most sales people are clueless when it comes to determining which marketing metrics impact their efforts. 3 Marketing Metrics Your Sales Team Should Know While your sales team may never be interested in knowing website activity, email performance, or social media interactions, here are three marketing metrics they should be paying attention to:
  1. Lead Response Time. The rise of inbound marketing means companies are becoming more focused on online tactics to generate leads. However, research has shown that lead response time is one of the most important metrics for effective inbound marketing. Companies that wait a full 24 hours before contacting the lead are 60 times less likely to qualify the lead than those who responded within the first hour. Speed of response is key.
  2. Content Consumption Metrics. Knowing the most type of content that is consumed most by your audience is another valuable insight to track. This gives you perspective into the ideas and concepts they’re most interested in. In many cases, a CRM can provide you with insights on the specific content a prospect has downloaded or read. If you don’t have that kind of detailed insight, knowing your most popular resources can provide a decent understanding.
  3. Velocity. Velocity represents how quickly a qualified lead can turn into a closed deal. This provides an idea for the number of leads you need at any given time in order to hit your upcoming revenue goals. Knowing how long it takes for a lead to convert provides both sales and marketing with a better understanding of what they need to do to hit their goals.
If marketing impacts your buyer’s decision in any way, shape, or form, it’s important to know the activities that influence them most. These three metrics will provide you with a solid foundation of the marketing metrics that impact your ability to meet your quotas and achieve your goals.

5 Questions Marketing Teams Should Consistently Ask Your Sales Team

4 question marks on blackboard

Do they really understand the sales process? How can we get them to create more
quality leads? I’m not sure what they do?

These are all common complaints I hear from business development professionals about their marketing teams.

Like I’ve mentioned before, marketing should exist to be a strategic asset for business development. One practical way that happens is by constantly evaluating the impact your marketing efforts are making on sales and how your marketing team can continue to improve the way it’s supporting business development.

5 Questions Marketing Teams Should Consistently Ask Your Sales Team

In order to make those things happen, here are five questions marketing team members should be asking their business development colleagues in order to be more effective:

1. What problems do we solve for our customers? What are we better at than anyone in our industry?

Knowing the challenges your customers face—and how you’re uniquely equipped to help them—is essential for sharing a clear and compelling marketing message. Positioning your brand as an industry leader isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work to discover the thing that you’re truly best at doing. But from a marketing perspective, discovering that “thing” becomes the product or service you can invest the most time, energy, and resources promoting.

2. Where have we helped solve a major challenge before?

Sharing success stories is one of the most effective ways to create demand for your products or services. Your sales team should know the customer who experienced a breakthrough because of the thing you provided them.

3. What are the common characteristics shared by customers who buy from us?

Understanding the common characteristics of the customers who pay you allows you to create personas of your ideal target audience. Creating “look-a-like” personas is important for your marketing team, as it impacts everything from how they create content on social media to where they invest marketing dollars.

4. What are the most common questions you get during the sales process?

Almost every sales team has a list of common questions that are asked by prospective customers. How much is ___________? Would we still have to purchase ___________? Why is it important for us to invest in _____________?

But what if your marketing team could support business development by addressing many of these questions beforehand? Encourage your marketing team to codify and create responses for the frequently asked questions they receive during the sales process.

5. Where do most of your sales conversations stall?

One of the most valuable ways marketing teams can support sales is to create resources that accelerate the sales process. In most cases, marketing teams have access to writers and designers who can help create tools that your business development team can use during the sales process to address areas in which they might receive pushback.

If you’re struggling to create alignment between your sales and marketing teams, start with these five questions. If anything, these questions will get the conversation started around how both teams can work together to help your marketing professionals better understand the unique challenges and opportunities that exist for your business development team.

How to Align Sales & Marketing to Optimize Your Ability to Grow Your Business

woman watering plant
Sales and marketing groups often work on different sets of projects. While your marketing team might be preparing an ad campaign or coordinating logistics for an upcoming tradeshow sponsorship, your sales team is busy tracking down leads and meeting with potential clients. Although the roles and responsibilities might look drastically different, breaking down the silos between sales and marketing is an essential task for entrepreneurs and business development leaders. According to Marketing Profs, companies that align their sales and marketing practices generate 208% more revenue from marketing efforts. How to Align Your Sales & Marketing Teams As you look for practical ways to begin aligning your sales and marketing teams, here are some valuable tips to keep in mind: 1. Share as much information as possible between teams. Making sure your sales and marketing teams have access to the same information allows them to make strategic decisions together. For example, marketing insights such as email click-thrus and website visitor tracking can be incredibly insightful information for your sales team. Information about where sales conversations stall, or how long it takes for a decision to be made, allows marketing to identify ways to support business development. This isn’t about pointing fingers. It’s about using all the information at your disposal to work together for growing your business. 2. Create buyer personas. Knowing who your ideal customer is, what their pain points are, and how you can uniquely help them is essential for creating an effective buyer’s journey through the sales and marketing process. Your sales and marketing should know (and agree) on exactly who you’re trying to reach. 3. Provide constructive feedback on leads that are generated through marketing. For marketers honing their lead-generation practices, it’s not enough for salespeople to simply label a lead as “bad.” Sales team members should explain why leads are not a fit so that marketers adapt what they’re doing to help produce better-qualified leads. 4. Encourage the sales department to provide stories of customers that can be leveraged for marketing purposes. Stories are a powerful sales and marketing tool. Whether it’s a product pitch or a new campaign, framing information into a narrative form makes it much more memorable and effective. Weaving more stories into your strategy creates a natural convergence of sales and marketing departments because each area should depend on the other for a complete picture. While it might not be a smooth road, continuing to improve alignment between your sales and marketing teams is incredibly valuable. Not only can each team accomplish more when these two teams work together, your business, as a whole, becomes healthier and more profitable.

Is Your Marketing and Sales in Sync? 5 Questions to Ask…

small business people in a meeting

Making sure your marketing and sales team are aligned might be the most profitable decision you make this year. Don’t believe me? According to
this report, companies with good sales and marketing alignment achieved 20% annual revenue growth.

Making sure your sales and marketing efforts are in alignment is essential for an entrepreneur or business development professional. But how?

5 Questions to Evaluate Sales & Marketing Alignment

Here are five questions to help you determine if your marketing and sales efforts are truly aligned, or if they’re operating in silos:

1. Are your sales and marketing teams meeting regularly?

If your teams aren’t meeting together on a regular basis, there’s no way they can effectively work together. Setting up regular meetings allows marketers to know how sales is doing with their quota and goals while offering support when needed. It also allows the marketing team to share upcoming campaigns, content, and offers that will be promoted.

2. Are you equipping your sales team with content marketing?

Marketers are constantly promoting new offers and content, so it’s important to keep the sales team up to date with these promotions so that they know what recent offers their leads are receiving. If you’re looking for ideas, here are a few ways to equip your sales team with content marketing.

3. Are you leveraging your marketing channels to position salespeople as thought leaders?

Marketers should understand content and social media better than anyone else in the company. Using that knowledge to showcase your sales team’s expertise is a valuable way for the teams to work together. This could include having your marketing team create content on behalf of your sales team, or marketers could teach the sales team how to leverage social media through training classes.

4. Are you constantly sharing important information with each other?

In the same vein as meeting together regularly, it’s important to create a system that allows your sales and marketing teams to share information. One way to achieve this goal is to create an email alias that gets sent to both sales and marketing. Use this strategically to share important information in both directions.

5. Is your sales team informing the content your marketing team creates?

No one knows the challenges and obstacles of your buyers better than your sales team. They also know the common questions that appear during the sales cycle. Sharing this information with marketing so that they can speak into the pain points of the audience and addresses frequently asked questions before sales conversations goes a long way when it comes to creating content that resonates with people.

While there’s no quick fix, there are certainly a number of foundational principles you can take to promote collaboration between sales and marketing. My hope is that these questions would help you identify some potential ways your company can achieve 20% growth through better marketing and sales alignment.

Marketing Should Support Business Development (and Vice Versa)

employee putting hands together in solidarity
On a scale of 1-10, how aligned are your business development and marketing teams? How often do they connect? What kind of information do they share with each other? Is there any synergy between the timing and effort of the work they’re doing to convert potential customers? These are the questions we like to ask entrepreneurs or business development leaders who ask about how they can improve their marketing efforts. Marketing and Business Development Shouldn’t Operate in Silos Your marketing team exists to be a strategic asset for business development. Everything they do should, in some way, work towards driving more business. Whether it’s through generating leads for business development, supporting business development in the sales cycle, or maintaining the trust and integrity of your brand with current customers, one of marketing’s primary objectives is to support business development. At the same time, your business development team should serve as a strategic asset for marketing. No one knows the challenges and questions your potential customers are facing more than your sales team. That is incredibly valuable information for marketing. It drives the type of content they create and helps them get inside the mind of prospective customers to develop strategies that accelerate the buying cycle. How to Break Down the Silos Between Sales and Marketing So how do you break down the barriers between your sales and marketing teams so that both are strategic assets for the other? Here are a few keys: 1. Make sure both teams are on the same team. When marketing and business development are on different levels of the organizational chart, it can quickly create a hierarchy of who is right and who is to blame. If business development is not above marketing and marketing is not above business development, both teams can feel more confident in having an open conversation. The verbiage becomes less “us vs. them” but rather just “us.” 2. Set up meetings to close the feedback loop. When marketing and business development are operating in silos, they don’t communicate with each other. Sales doesn’t know what marketing is doing. And marketing doesn’t know what’s working on the sales side. It’s easy to get so caught up in your own list of tasks that carving out time to have strategy conversations can be tough. Having ongoing coordination meetings is important to ensure that both teams are on the same page, that objectives are being met, and that both teams know what progress is being made. 3. Create shared accountability. How do you avoid the “blame game” between sales and marketing? Setting the expectation of organizational goals for growth through KPIs that are shared by both teams is a great start. There are several metrics owned by both marketing and business development that can be used to measure progress: length of sales cycle, opportunity-to-win ratio, and lifetime value of a customer. What are some of the biggest barriers you’re facing when it comes to aligning sales and marketing? What’s one step you can take to break down those barriers?

5 Ways to Equip Your Sales Team with Content Marketing

Equip your sales team
A common frustration among content marketers is seeing their well-crafted content being ignored by sales reps. Depending on who you ask, the estimates for how much content goes unused by sales vary from 60% to 90%. So how do you get sales to get on board with content and leverage the content you’re producing? Many times, salespeople see the primary function of these pieces as lead generation tools. However, by encouraging your team to use them as tools for cultivating relationships with current clients and leads, you’re able to essentially kill two birds with one stone: generate new leads & equip your sales team with resources to help them succeed. 5 Ways to Equip Your Sales Team with Content Marketing Here are five ways your sales team can use the resources you generate from content marketing to cultivate relationships, shorten the sales cycle, and close more leads:
  1. Send the downloadable content to a decision maker who has stalled in the buying process. This is a legitimate opportunity to see if you can get things moving forward again.
  2. Blast the downloadable content to your existing clients to remind them that you are still there. Everyone likes to know that others are looking out for them.
  3. Print the downloadable content out in color and include that with seminar or workshop materials. Give them something of value that doesn’t ask them for a signature at the end.
  4. Include it as part of your follow-up to a conference call or onsite meeting when appropriate. Again, this is another way you can separate yourself from the competition and interact with the prospect in ways that benefits them and you.
  5. Use downloadable content to add credibility to your product or service. Independent research, case studies, and white papers remind the prospect of what you discussed and can be used to affirm your position. You’re also helping your internal champion “sell” you to all the people involved in the decision process.
Take Your Content Marketing & Biz Dev Efforts to the Next Level Content marketing does more than help you generate new leads it can also drive the success of your sales team. If you invest in content marketing, be sure to develop a process for equipping your sales team with the resources you create and encouraging them to share the content. If you want to learn more about how to integrate your content marketing and business development efforts to maximize ROI in both areas, don’t miss our latest eBook Biz Dev’s Guide to Inbound Marketing.