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.

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?