Last week, Salesforce released their eBook, 100 Sales Tips for 2014, with advice from the experts on everything from sales hiring and motivation to data and performance. But we found the chapter on sales and marketing particularly interesting; after all, there’s a lot that your marketing department can do — from writing emails to creating content and optimizing your website — to enable your sales team and make sure your company hits its revenue goals.
Let’s take a look at what the experts had to say on a few of these very important topics.
On Product Positioning
“Sales professionals and marketers, especially in technology start-ups, will talk in depth about features and functionality without considering what really matters to their customers. You must take a few steps back and look at your product or service positioning from your customer’s perspective.” – Dustin Grosse, CMO at DocuSign
It’s all about having a customer-centric approach. You can employ all of the shiny new features and cutting-edge technology that you can think of, but if your product doesn’t meet your customers’ needs, they’ll move on and find one that does. Never lose sight of what really matters to your customers, and make sure that their needs are your top consideration at every stage of your planning process.
Further reading: 4 Keys to Becoming a Customer Company
“When you’re sending emails, you live and die by your subject line. Making it personal or funny can increase your open rate ten times or more.” – John Wall, Host of Marketing Over Coffee
Chances are, email is still at the heart of your online marketing efforts — and your subject lines can make the difference between your email messages being opened, read, or deleted. Don’t let your emails get lost in crowded inboxes; take the time to personalize and optimize your subject lines to set your messages apart from the rest.
Further reading: 12 Dos and Don’ts of Email Subject Lines
On Landing Pages
“Stop distracting people on your landing pages with visual embellishments or motion. Your graphical designer’s need to avoid boredom may be costing you a lot of money.” -Tim Ash, Author of Landing Page Optimization
Keep it simple. Your visitors’ first priority is getting the information they need quickly and efficiently — not seeing how creative you can get with your landing page designs. Layouts should be attractive and professional looking, but you can’t afford to sacrifice usability on a marketing asset that directly determines your conversion rates.
Further reading: 4 Deadly Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid
“Automate your outbound and benchmark the results. If they don’t stack up, re-evaluate your messaging. Chances are it’s what you are saying, not how often you are saying it, that is costing you sales.” – Peter Gracey, President at AG Salesworks
Always be measuring success and reevaluating your approach. The great thing about having so much data at your fingertips is that you don’t have to nail things the first time around. Try different messages, see what’s working, and continually adjust your campaigns towards what resonates with your customers.
Further reading: 5 Steps to Better B2B Marketing Campaigns
On the Funnel
“The buyer’s journey is no longer a standard funnel. Sales and marketing need to team up with tools, process automation, analytics, and discipline to be successful.” – James Rogers, CMO at OneSource Information Services
If you’re still cramming as many leads as possible into the pipeline and hoping for the best, you’re going to quickly fall behind your competition (if you haven’t already). It’s no longer about the quantity of new leads, but about the quality. Forget about volume, and focus instead on a smarter, more data-driven approach to filling your pipeline.
Further reading: The 3 Flaws with the Funnel
One last thought to leave you with: as John Kucera, Director of Product Management at salesforce.com pointed out, “Marketing and sales should be your company’s quarterback and receiver. They should know the plays before the game even begins.” Don’t waste any time on getting your sales and marketing teams on the same team. Sit down as soon as possible and lay out your goals and objectives for the coming year.
And don’t forget to download 100 Sales Tips for 2014 for more expert advice from industry thought leaders!