Thought Leadership Interview: Jill Konrath on Closing the Gap between Marketing and Sales

Jill Konrath - SNAP Selling Jill Konrath wrote the first section of The Quintessential Marketing Automation Guidebook where she wrote a letter from Sales telling Marketing exactly what was needed to help drive revenue. If only companies were that brave. Her letter stirred up reactions from our readers, so I caught up with Jill to ask her to share a few more insights about how to bring marketing and sales closer together. Jill has also offered up some free resources for you that complement her new book, SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers. I encourage you to go download Jill’s Buyer’s Matrix, her Value Proposition Generator, 9 Tips to Get Prospects to Call You Back, as well as listen to her audio on selling to crazy-busy people.

CD: What does marketing need to do to get salespeople to use the content they provide?

JK: Write good content. Most of what marketing produces today sucks. It's self-serving tripe that highlights the company's fabulous products, unique methodologies and state-of-the-art technologies. When sellers use this type of content, it trivializes them with customers. They're seen as product-pushing peddlers who add little value to the sales process.

Educate the sales force. After an eternity of only getting crap from marketing, salespeople don't have a clue how to use good content. They need to know how to follow up effectively on leads with content during the sales process.

Make it simple. Salespeople don't have a lot of time. If it's scattered across the website, it won't be used. If it's not intuitive, it won't be used. Make it as much a no-brainer as possible.

CD: In SNAP Selling, you talk about the prospect's three decisions. What are they and how do they related to content?

JK: Basically prospects make three primary decisions when it comes to dealing with salespeople. Their 1st Decision is to "allow access" to them. Sellers may only want a small amount of their time, but today's crazy-busy buyers are stingy with it. At this stage, salespeople could use content related to the value other firms have used from using the company's offering. This supports their reason for getting together and increases their chances of setting up a meeting.

The prospect's 2nd Decision is to "initiate change" – which is something they are loathe to do with everything else on their calendar. Sellers desperately need good content to help prospects determine if making a change would provide significant value for their organization. This could include case studies, white papers, podcasts, articles, analyst reports and more.

Finally, the prospect's 3rd Decision is to "select resources." At this phase, sellers need content that differentiates them from other vendors and supports the company's strengths. Please notice that I didn't say brochures. They provide little value except at the very end of the sales process. In my opinion, fancy four-color glossies are a relic of the past – even though salespeople may still be clamoring for them. There are enough sales dinosaurs out there who haven't yet realized that brochures create significant collateral damage and destroy more opportunities than they gain.

CD: In your new book, SNAP Selling, you present a Buyers’ Matrix. How would you suggest using this matrix as a tool to create a more productive relationship between marketing and sales?

JK: Every time I do a workshop with sales teams, I invite the marketing department to join us for the event. Why? Primarily because we do a major immersion into the prospect's environment. We analyze their roles, responsibilities, objectives, strategies, challenges and more.

Marketers have one view of what this is, while sellers bring a different perspective. When they finally work through this exercise, both groups are blown away by the invaluable insights and overlooked information that comes out through the use of the Buyer's Matrix. At the end, they're both operating from the level of understanding. And they realize that they have to change and adapt in order to be successful in today's crazy-busy business environment.