In last week’s SalesforceLIVE webcast, Pardot’s Adam Blitzer noted, “B2B marketers really have two sets of customers: the end user and their sales team.” And it’s true: marketers too often forget that some of the most important people for them to be catering to are sitting right under the same roof — and unfortunately, their communication is likely limited to occasional grappling over lead quality. But Jay Gaines also made an interesting point in the same webcast: sales is equally responsible for enabling their marketing team.
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. Let’s break this process down into three simple 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: Briefly sit down before each piece.
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, 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, 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?
Check out the infographic below, published on the Salesforce blog last week, to see how a combination of collaboration, explaining your needs, and gathering feedback can lead to more effective marketing content. And don’t forget to share your own thoughts on improving sales-marketing alignment in our comments section!