Four Reasons for Marketing and Sales to Collaborate

Last week there was a discussion in a LinkedIn group about marketers creating ineffective sales collateral. Most of the people involved in the discussion were salespeople and thought that marketers should be put through sales training so they’d understand the sales process. While not a bad idea, the reverse is also true. Research into buyers’ perceptions shows there’s work to be done on both the marketing and sales sides of the equation. A few research examples include:

A Forrester Research survey into buyers’ perspectives about salespeople found that:

  • Only 34% of buyers said salespeople understand their role and responsibilities.
  • Even less, 29% of buyers, said salespeople know their business and specific problems.

The CMO Council found that buyers’ top turn offs with marketing content include:

  • Hype and puffery.
  • Lack of a business value proposition.
  • Lack of proof of ROI.

With B2B buyers now controlling how they buy, this means that both marketing and sales need to up their collective game. Working together is the most efficient way to ensure that a company’s communications are consistent, relevant and designed to drive the sales pipeline.

Consider these four reasons to collaborate:

  1. Unite in favor of common goals. For marketing, getting sales to accept, qualify and close the leads they hand over is the key to proving their contribution to revenues. To make this outcome the norm, marketers must truly understand how sales evaluates leads for pursuit. By collaborating to define the parameters for a qualified lead, marketers can put processes in place that create opportunities that drive revenues.
  2. Sales is marketing's ultimate partner. In a complex B2B sale, marketing can only reach so far into the pipeline. Salespeople are critical for customer acquisition. By working with sales to understand what transpires after the handoff, marketers can develop collateral that suits their buyers’ needs at the end stages of the buying process. By eliminating the time and effort salespeople spend recreating collateral, they can spend more time selling. The added consistency from one end of the buying process to the other has also been proven to play a role in influencing the decision to buy.
  3. 3. Sales has street-level insights that marketing doesn't. Relevance is in the eyes of the beholder – your prospects. Since marketing rarely meets prospects in the context salespeople do, creating a process for closed-loop feedback can facilitate the sharing of situational insights to help marketers create even better pre-sales relationships with prospects. Providing more relevant information during the marketing-to-sales process decreases the overall sales cycle. 
  4. Marketing has data that sales doesn't. One of the biggest impacts of marketing automation software is the collection of rich prospect data about online behaviors in relation to buying interest. By sharing the patterns of data derived from prospect activity during the early stages of closed deals, marketing and sales can work together to determine process efficiencies that streamline selling. For example, lead scoring models can be matched against closed deals to refine triggers that improve the transition of leads to salespeople when the prospect reaches the tipping point.

Through effective collaboration, marketing and sales can work jointly to improve performance and establish accountability for driving revenues by embracing an integrated end-to-end process.