I’m a sales guy. I started at HubSpot in 2011 as a sales rep and am currently a sales manager in charge of a team that sells HubSpot’s marketing software to marketers. When I’m on the phone with marketers, I always ask the question, “Why does your sales team value you?” Most often, the marketer says, “They value me if I produce good leads”.
I’ve got news for you: Your sales team values you for a lot more than just leads.
From your industry expertise and blog content, to your lead intel and analytics, your sales team values the competitive advantage that you provide. The sales rep is on the front line and you are their weapon. Here are some of the key things I think it's important marketers understand salespeople value and appreciate -- besides just generating lots of leads.
Sometimes, salespeople need to call a lifeline during the sales process. Marketers usually have a deep and nuanced understanding of your company’s products and services -- not just your differentiators, but where you fit into your industry as a whole. This perspective can go a long way in the sales process.
Marketers -- even the executives -- should be available to help sales reps close deals. And sales reps value this help. For instance, one of my sales reps recently needed our CMO’s insight on multi-touch revenue attribution. Within one hour, the CMO emailed the sales rep with an explanation that could be handed down to the prospect, and also offered to write a blog post on the subject in the near future. The response helped the sales rep to close the deal -- at the end of the month with a quota looming, no less.
Do you have a case study that you can send over? Do you have an ROI report? How do you compare to your competitors?
Ah, the frequently asked questions that come up time after time in the sales process. When salespeople are asked those types of questions from prospects, they're expected to provide concise and consistent responses -- and marketers' collateral can help immensely with that.
In order to understand what your sales reps hear on the front line so you know what type of collateral to produce, strike up a conversation with your sales team. Here are some good questions you can ask:
Why do you win deals?
Why do you lose deals?
How do you sell against the competition?
How have you seen the competition sell against us?
What feature do prospects get the most excited about?
What are the top 5 most frequently asked questions you get during the sales process?
Write down or record the responses from your sales rep, and look for trends across the sales team. From here, produce a relevant case study, ROI report, competitive landscape, and loads of blog content to assist your sales team.
When marketers communicate with their sales team and create accessible collateral that helps them close deals, it makes a salesperson’s life infinitely easier.
Better Sales Efficiency
Salespeople are, of course, expected to follow up with their prospects. But because they’re naturally going to work the prospects and opportunities most likely to close, their follow-up is typically restricted to a small segment of people. And it’s pretty manual, at that. When marketers take the time to think through a lead nurturing program that keeps a salesperson’s leads engaged and moving down the funnel, it saves Sales a ton of time and individual effort that would take them away from closing business.
For example, while I was a sales rep, I always categorized my active opportunities into two buckets:
Closeable Opportunity This Quarter
Closeable Opportunity After This Quarter
For closeable opportunities in the current quarter, I maintained all of the communication. For those that are deemed closeable in future periods, I enrolled the opportunity into marketing-generated workflows so they could help me with follow-up I wouldn't realistically have time to complete otherwise. Those marketing-generated workflows helped keep HubSpot top-of-mind until the prospect neared a buying decision.
Think about how often you check out every nook and cranny of every single one of your competitor's websites.
Not that often, right?
When you have a marketing team dedicated to positioning your brand in the marketplace, however, they can alert Sales to competitive changes and teach you how to adjust your sales pitch accordingly. So if your competitor makes a change to, say, their pricing page, you don't have to worry about staying on top of that, or figuring how to turn that into a competitive advantage when you're on the phone with a prospect. Marketing's got your back.
Ability to Create Urgency
Marketers can also lend a hand in closing deals by producing offers that create urgency for prospects -- it helps salespeople get prospects across the finish line just a little bit faster.
Recently, our marketing team came up with a really helpful offer that helped create urgency for our sales team: They agreed to do a multi-pronged inbound marketing strategy session for the next 10 customers. The sales team used this offer for their hottest opportunities, and the expertise the marketing team offered helped created the necessary urgency to win the deals.
Things You Can Do to Help a Salesperson Right Now
If you'd like to lend more of a hand with your sales team, any and all of the ideas above are good places to start. But there's a lot of little things you can do right now that'll help you build a stronger relationship between Marketing and Sales. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Ask a salesperson if they can send you an example of the worst lead you’ve rotated, and the best lead you’ve rotated, so you can try to improve lead quality.
Write a blog post based off of one of the FAQs they get most on the phone, and send the link around to use on future calls.
Block off an hour every day where you’ll remain available to hop on sales calls.
Nothing too crazy, right?
Now excuse me, I have a demo to run to.
Marketers, how do you interact with your sales team? Salespeople, what else do marketers do that's incredibly helpful for closing deals?
Originally published Mar 11, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017