Tip 9: Get Marketing involved on Sales calls.
What better way to have Marketing understand Sales than to actually have them be on/attend calls?
During my longest tenure at an employer - all of which were various marketing roles - the sales team would often refer to us as being in an "ivory tower". You may have heard of this as well so what this means is we (marketing) didn't have practical knowledge or experience as to what sales really was, did or needed.
Not knowing at the time, the "ivory tower" reference was a fair judgement since I've been through sales training and in Sales roles. I requested to participate in the rigid 6-week sales training class - it was the best decision I ever made!
Why? It taught me these 5 critical things:
Product and pricing program knowledge
Working with personas (before personas was a "thing")
Completing paperwork and requirement
Minimizing objections and how to handle when there was an objection
It was very strategic and thorough. We practiced as we learned and received our own accounts to sell in a real market (I achieved 170% of my objective - not too bad for a rookie).
The most important thing the training taught me? To be successful in Marketing, you have to understand Sales (having sales experience should be a requirement, in my opinion).
In reality, offering this type of sales training for Marketing isn't practical. What is practical? Getting experience from Sales in real-time. And that means on the phone during prospecting/cold calling and customer relationship sales calls.
Whether your Sales team is inside or outside, local or remote the one thing that always connects people is the phone. So as a minimum take-away from this article (assign yourself this as an action item!), as a Marketer commit to one of the following options:
Discuss the plan and obtain any necessary approval
This can be a quick email to your boss with who, time, and what your plan is for your work during that time if there's a deadline to meet
Share your plan with the sales people you support
I'm confident they will be on board with it and work with you on the details
It's important that these time slots are kept unless emergency or unknown circumstances arise. If the latter occurs, reschedule.
Schedule 60 minutes of phone time with each sales person you support
This will allow for dials and voice mails as well as time to connect with prospects/customers to engage in the conversation
Follow each hour call with an email to the sales person and the respective bosses (yours and his/hers)
Outline your take aways, notes, next steps
Identify action items and deadlines
If it's not possible or realistic to be on the phone, another option is field audits or riding with your sales rep. That's great 1:1 face time and allows you the opportunity to see prospects/customers and the process your sales person endures on a daily basis. If you haven't been exposed to the sales team and their process, I guarantee it will be a good experience!
Keep in mind that the most important reason for these calls to occur is to provide Marketing with insight into what the Sales team experiences. This will provide more specific examples of the conversations, what Sales uses and needs and how Marketing can better support Sales efforts.
Participation will also increase communication between marketing and sales, building trust between team members and increasing mutual respect for the other team which ultimately helps the overall business. And that's the goal of aligning Marketing and Sales!
What's worked for you in a Marketing or Sales role to bridge the gap between you and your counterpart? Share your experience below!
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