I can clearly recall meeting with the marketing team when I worked as a sales representative for a medical device company. Marketing did their jobs without much interaction with the sales team, explained what they were doing from time to time, and then sort of dropped off the face of the earth, expecting the sales team to do the rest.
Better sales and marketing alignment could have led both teams to improved results. According to research from LinkedIn, 87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between sales and marketing enables critical business growth.
So, what can you do as a marketer to make life easier on your sales team?
How Marketing Can Support Sales
- Generate More Leads
- Help Sales Identify Qualified Leads
- Align Lead Qualification With the Sales Process
- Automate the Marketing Process
- Establish Joint KPIs
- Provide Insights About Your Company and Your Competitors
- Inform Sales Strategy With Marketing Insights
1. Generate More Leads
If you’re already generating leads through your website, congratulations, you’re ahead of the curve. But how do you know if you’re generating enough leads? More is always better when it comes to sales leads, right?
One way to determine how many leads are necessary for sales to hit their goals is to work backward from the lead-to-customer rate for your business. To simplify this, let’s say you’re currently getting 100 leads per month, and your sales team is closing them as new customers at a 5% rate, or five new customers per month. If your sales goals call for a 20% growth in new business, you’ll need to get this number to six new customers, which will take 120 leads at the current lead-to-customer rate.
To get here, you’ll need to do one thing above all else: create more premium content offers, like E-books, and offer them up on landing pages. Why? HubSpot has a few statistics that show how:
- Calls to action promoting E-books get almost twice the click-through rate as emails promoting webinars.
- Companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7x more leads than those with fewer than 10.
- Those with over 40 landing pages got 12 times more leads than those with only one to five landing pages.
Want to make your sales team’s life a little easier? Get more E-books produced.
2. Help Sales Identify Qualified Leads
One common gripe that sales teams have is that the marketing team is giving them too many low-quality leads that take their time away from finding prospects more likely to become customers. They may have a point. Gleanster Research reports that only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales.
With a modern marketing platform, today’s marketers can help develop criteria that identify leads who are most likely to be a good fit for a company’s products or services. By assigning values to these criteria, a lead scoring methodology is established.
For example, I used to work at a company that marketed bone grafting materials to dental specialists placing dental implants. The sales team knew that any lead that was an oral and maxillofacial surgeon was more likely to become a good customer than a lead who was a general dentist because they generally placed more dental implants. A lead scoring system would assign a higher value to oral surgeons in this case.
Make life easier on your sales team by identifying quality leads and getting them to the sales team when it makes the most sense.
3. Align Lead Qualification With the Sales Process
As your company starts generating more leads, it becomes important to separate those in the early stages of their buyer’s journey from those getting close to making a purchase decision. The best salespeople may be able to talk to prospects at any stage in this process, offer helpful advice, and turn them into a genuine sales opportunity.
It will help the entire sales team understand where their prospects are in the buyer’s journey and enable them to reach out more effectively and tailor those conversations based on that prospect’s needs.
4. Automate the Marketing Process
Marketing automation can increase sales productivity by up to 14.5%.
Automating your company’s marketing tasks allows you to create workflows and collect data about prospects and leads. Once data has been collected, your marketing team can help your sales team warm up cold leads by using automated nurturing campaigns to guide the leads through the sales funnel.
5. Establish Joint KPIs
Both your marketing and sales teams need to keep track of KPIs. Establishing KPIs that benefit both teams can help the sales and marketing teams achieve a common goal.
Reviewing joint KPIs such as your closing rate per marketing campaign and MQL to opportunity conversion rate during weekly meetings can improve the sales and marketing teams’ workflows. Joint KPIs also encourage team collaboration that could lead to innovative strategies for reaching your company’s sales and marketing goals.
6. Provide Insights About Your Company and Your Competitors
Your marketing team can perform a competitive analysis to learn more about your competitors’ marketing and sales tactics. The analysis can provide insights into your competitors’ products and services, market trends, and your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Your sales team can use these insights to distinguish your company during sales calls with prospects.
7. Inform Sales Strategy With Marketing Insights
Your company’s marketing data can help your sales team improve sales calls and tailor its strategy to meet its prospects’ needs.
Have your sales team review previous prospects' questions and objections during sales calls. Your marketing team can use this information to analyze your prospects’ pain points and develop a customer journey map that will help you adjust your marketing funnel and strategy to address the prospects’ pain points before they receive a sales call.
Embrace Sales and Marketing Alignment
These little things can help make life a lot easier on your sales team. And frankly, they’ll make life easier for you as well. As your company gets more sales and hits more goals, life improves for sales and marketing teams.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.