B2B marketers really have two sets of customers: the end user and their sales team. That’s right, half of marketing’s target audience is probably sitting right under the same roof (maybe even within earshot), and unfortunately, their communication with this audience is likely limited to occasional grappling over lead quality.
This won’t be the first time we sing the praises of ‘sales-marketing alignment’ and ‘sales enablement as a marketing priority’ on our blog. But there’s a flip side to this equation that we’ve talked about far less:
Sales is equally responsible for enabling their marketing team. ‘Marketing enablement,’ if you will.
Think about it: your sales reps are the true experts on your prospects; they deal with them on a day-to-day basis. With sales reps sharing their insights from interacting with prospects, marketing can create more targeted and effective content — the kind of content that helps sales reps close more deals, faster.
And voilà, you have the kind of sales-marketing alignment that allows your sales cycle to run like a well-oiled machine.
Chances are, your sales team is unaware of how much valuable information they have to offer (or is too busy to even think about it), so it may be up to you to get the ball rolling. Let’s break this process of marketing enablement down into three basic steps.
Step 1: Open the lines of communication.
Pull some marketing team members into sales meetings, let them sit in on calls, or sit down with them one on one — whatever your approach is, make sure you’re answering some basic questions:
- Who is our ideal prospect?
- What are some of the most common questions and concerns you’re hearing on sales calls? Are you hitting any common snags in your discussions?
- What’s one feature or benefit that you’d like your prospects to have a better understanding of?
Step 2: Check in before each e-book.
Taking 20 minutes to sit down before each and every piece of long-form content you create can save marketing from wasting their time on an asset that sales may never actually use. Ask:
- What are we trying to achieve with this piece of content; what’s the goal (lead generation, education, etc.)?
- Who are we speaking to? What stage of the sales cycle are they in?
- What message are we trying to convey?
Step 3: Follow-up for feedback.
Your sales reps are following up with your prospects anyway, so why not gather some feedback that could be invaluable to your marketing team? If a rep sees that a prospect has downloaded a specific piece content, it’s not only an opportunity to pick the conversation back up, but an opportunity to assess the value and helpfulness your marketing assets were able to offer. Have your sales reps take a moment to ask:
- Could you easily find the information that you were looking for on our site?
- Did you have a chance to read through [content piece], and did you find it helpful?
- Were there any questions you had that were left unanswered? Anything that could be improved?
Ready to take sales-marketing alignment a step further? Align more than your strategies — align your tools. Give sales reps instant access to marketing content and data in the tools they’re already using, and let them review and share success reports from their own mini marketing campaigns.
Learn how to do it all with Salesforce® Engage in our free e-book, and don’t forget to share your own thoughts on improving sales-marketing alignment in our comments section!