As we’ve discussed before, nurturing cooperation between your sales and marketing departments is in everyone’s best interests. Say goodbye to the bickering and blame game and turn your sites towards a common goal for your company.
Now that you’ve decided to make an effort to work with the sales department, how do you plan your marketing strategy with sales in mind? Marketing is at the top of the new, combined funnel. How do you, as a marketer, do your job while ensuring that your leads are sales qualified when they’re handed over to the sales department to seal the deal? Here are some tips from LeadLifter to start you off on the right path:
Set up a weekly meeting between members of the marketing department and sales department. Use this time to share what’s working and what isn’t working through the marketing and sales process. Encourage constructive criticism on both ends. If there’s a reason behind the way things are, explain the reasons without being condescending. There are methods in each department that can be used to benefit the other, and it might just take education to warm up to the ideas.
Data is Key
Numbers speak louder than words. Data will be your best friend when communicating between departments. When you have data to support why your marketing strategy works, it’s easier to explain why certain things will need to be continued by the sales department. If one type of communication works better than another and you need the sales department to use that method, show them why this method is necessary with the data to back it up.
Use your marketing automation software to pull reports that you can share with the sales department. The sales department should also have access to view different clients in your automation software, even if they aren’t permitted to edit within the software.
As we discussed in our lead segmentation article, (link to blog) different kinds of leads go through the buyer’s journey differently. This journey can’t be interrupted when they’re handed over to the sales department, so both departments need to be aware of the classification of each lead, and be aware of the requirements that come along with communicating with that lead. In your marketing strategy, place emphasis on accurate note keeping and profile upkeep to ensure that your work isn’t forgotten by the time the lead goes to the sales department. Again, while it’s the marketing department’s responsibility to properly segment leads, it’s the sales department’s responsibility to follow through with the recommendations on the requirements of these lead groups and provide feedback if they find that something isn’t working or if they feel that something could be done better.
While it’s good practice to always A/B or split test your marketing efforts, these variant tests can be a good way to test suggestions coming from the sales department. If the sales department thinks that something should be done differently on the marketing side of things, introduce this suggestion as a part of the marketing campaign to see what method works most effectively. Remember to supply the data to support which method ends up being more effective.
You don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, either. Add another variant to the test that combines both ideas. Test, test and test again to find what tactics work best for the company’s goals.
While you’re working with the sales department, don’t forget that the roles of the sales and marketing departments are fundamentally different. While you’re working together, that doesn’t mean that you have the same roles. The marketing department needs to focus on nurturing relationships with qualified leads to be passed on to the sales department, while the sales department closes the deal.
Keep communication open and report back and forth between departments throughout the lead’s journey. Best of luck developing your marketing strategy with the sale’s department in mind; This partnership is for the good of the company and will serve everyone better in the long run.