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In-person events have traditionally been sales teams’ bread and butter — the perfect opportunity to shake hands and close deals. But the current health crisis has turned that model on its head. Many companies have had to pull back from in-person sales and marketing strategies and instead redirect their budgets to a more digital-focused approach.
In light of this shift in the industry, it’s vital for marketing and sales to work together to market and sell effectively. The unfortunate news is that this isn’t something sales and marketing teams tend to be naturally inclined to do. Data from LinkedIn illustrates that 90 percent of marketing and sales professionals recognize disconnects between the teams in terms of processes, content, strategy and culture.
This is a huge missed opportunity, as companies with healthy sales and marketing alignment generate 38 percent higher sales win rates and see 36 percent higher customer retention, according to MarketingProfs. And that’s not all that surprising when you consider the gold mine of information that each department can offer the other.
Sales teams get the inside scoop on prospects’ hesitations, obstacles and burning questions. They also know where in the buyer’s journey prospects have their doubts or just lose interest. Meanwhile, marketing knows the ins and outs of the content the company is creating and other information such as who is engaging with the website.
To supercharge revenue, company leaders simply can’t miss out on the rewards that can be gained by helping sales and marketing teams align their efforts.
Here are four things the marketing team knows that can help companies close more business:
1. Granular data on specific leads
If your company uses a platform such as HubSpot, the marketing team can actually show the sales team every piece of content a prospective client has interacted with on your website. This invaluable information gives the salesperson a glimpse into what the prospect is interested in before even hopping on the phone for a sales call, allowing the salesperson to be equipped with additional resources and educational pieces of content that can be shared to nurture the prospect further.
The marketing team can also use the same platform to provide insights into specific lead sources, including which ones are closing at higher rates and which salespeople tend to work best with which leads. My own company’s sales team was able to use this information to our advantage. Because we consistently log sales and marketing performance in our Marketing KPI Tracker, we were able to spot that one of our salespeople was closing inbound lead sources at a higher rate and another was closing more sales from outbound lead sources. Armed with that knowledge, we streamlined our processes to capitalize on these team members’ strengths, and the marketing team knew which salesperson to send these types of leads to.
2. What messaging captures people’s attention
The marketing team has direct access to the analytics of all of your on-site content, meaning these team members can tell which content garners attention and which content is snooze-inducing. So if the marketing team knows that one specific piece of content has generated a lot of buzz and engagement, that might be a sign that it includes some information the sales team could mention on calls with prospects. The marketing team can also determine which types of content tend to resonate with specific audiences and use that to their advantage to personalize content.
An interesting example of this principle at work is NoWait. This mobile app wanted to target a very specific audience with its content: restaurant chain CEOs. The company used its marketing capabilities to segment its audience and target the top 30 CEOs with highly personalized content. This allowed the company to make a positive impression, and as a result, the app was used in more than half of the restaurants it targeted, according to HubSpot.
3. What messaging people don’t really care about
Content doesn’t always perform well, and that’s okay — provided that sales teams don’t continue trying to use that content. There’s a reason you haven’t heard of a “National Bunny Ears Day” or used Nesquik’s app designed to give your photos chocolate bunny ears. Despite a massive campaign the brand orchestrated around the idea, it fizzled out.
Marketing teams can use their insights to determine which content just isn’t working, whether it’s a newsletter that nobody opened or a webinar that fell flat. And when marketers acknowledge this, they can notify the sales team so that salespeople don’t stress those topics in their sales conversations. These efforts failed to generate engagement and leads for a reason, so they probably aren’t worth mentioning.
4. Surprising wins
When readers download gated content from my company’s website, sign up for our newsletter or register for webinars or other events, our marketing team gets to learn their names, contact information and job titles. That’s important information that allows salespeople to reach out to leads, but even more conclusions can be drawn from this data.
For example, your salespeople might be experiencing modest success when they spend time targeting CEOs, but your content might be consumed by chief product officers more often. The CEO will probably still need to be involved in the sales process and sign off on an expenditure, but in this case, the sales team should absolutely work to get the CPO on a sales call as well.
As marketing and sales budgets shrink from economic uncertainty or simply shift due to changing norms of business, alignment between sales and marketing teams is more important than ever. It’s the marketing team’s job to generate leads, but marketers have a wealth of other information that can help salespeople seize opportunities and increase the rate at which they convert prospects into customers. To keep your organization moving through turbulent times, make sure you’re maximizing the power of marketing and sales by aligning their efforts and helping them work collaboratively toward the same goals.