As marketers, we’re trained to think creatively: who are our prospects and how can we reach them? How can we communicate with prospects in new and exciting ways? What messages will resonate most? Sometimes it’s easy to forget that marketing’s most important customer is sitting right under the same roof, and likely, within earshot: your sales team.
Think about it: your sales reps have a better understanding of your prospects than you can ever guess at — they deal with them on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, your reps are the ones ultimately closing deals and generating revenue; the best way for marketing to contribute to the bottom line is to be familiar with your sales teams’ pain points, and to consistently create the content and marketing assets that will help reps close more deals, faster.
Let’s take a look at a few best practices for staying in-tune with your sales team:
1. Set up a meeting.
This is the very first thing you should do to open up lines of communication. Find out how your sales team communicates: are there regular meetings you can sit in on? An email listserv you can subscribe to? If you’re going to identify your sales team’s pain points, it’s important to be a part of these conversations.
2. Sit in on sales calls.
Go straight to the source. Listen in on sales calls and take note of the questions prospects are asking and the concerns that arise. It’s important to have these questions and concerns directly addressed by a rep during a sales call — it’s even more powerful to receive follow-up content after the sales call reinforcing what was talked about and linking to futher information.
3. Ask the right questions.
Sit down with a few sales reps one-on-one and find out what their typical sales cycle looks like. If your sales team has reps that cover different territories or business sizes, you’ll want to create content to meet each of their specific needs. Address questions like:
What are the most common questions and concerns you hear on calls?
What is the biggest snag you hit in closing a deal? What do you think causes this delay?
What’s one feature or benefit that you’d like your prospects to have a better understanding of?
4. Build a content library.
Chances are, you’ve already created a ton of content that could be useful to your sales team, they just don’t know how to access it. Make things simple. Compile all of your helpful, evergreen content into a library and organize it in a way that will allow your sales team to find what they’re looking for at a glance. This may mean categorizing by funnel stage, by territory, by business size, or by topic — whatever system makes sense for you.
Also consider adding keywords or a brief description of the content. While this will require an investment of time initially, you’ll ultimately save yourself time by recycling content you’ve already written, and ensuring that your hard work doesn’t get lost in the archives.
5. Create an internal digest.
It’s also important to keep your sales team up-to-date on new content as you release it, so develop an internal digest or message board. The most important thing to remember here: you’re not writing for marketers. Your sales team gets enough email as it is — if you send them several paragraphs of information, they won’t read it. Keep things short, use bullet points and checklists, or directly address questions (“if the prospects asks this, send them this”). You can also create ready-made social postings to help your sales team share your content with their networks easily — just copy, paste, and share.
6. Collect feedback regularly.
Make it as easy as possible for your sales team to request content. Create an email address or message board specifically for this cause, so your reps can quickly send an idea or request whenever an idea hits them. Remember to ask for feedback on this process as well, and always be receptive to new ways you can better communicate with your reps.
What are some other ways that marketers can enable their sales reps? What are some obstacles you’ve faces in sales-marketing communication? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section!