At least since our grandfathers, maybe even our great-grandfathers, Sales and Marketing have had a strained relationship…to say the least. The two have been at odds over disagreements about the quality of leads, the number of leads, and the poor use of marketing resources–all ending in the blame game when quotas aren’t met.
But, in the new buying environment that we currently live in, these two have a greater opportunity to work together to achieve Smarketing–the alignment between Sales and Marketing.
First, let’s take a look at how we got here to understand where we’re going.
The Blame Game
Both teams blame each other for their shortcomings. While this is neither efficient or effective in working towards sustainable business development, it provides us with some amount of understanding of the fundamental problems that both teams face.
Sales blames Marketing for not providing enough leads; for not providing quality leads, for not timing lead generation correctly, for casting too wide of a net with their content, and for not supporting Sales when they need it.
On the other hand, Marketing blames Sales for not using their strategic marketing assets to nurture leads into customers. Sales doesn’t give them any credit for successful deals, they complain that Marketing doesn’t provide the right leads, and they don’t bother with marketing assets that have been crafted for their specific purpose.
It’s time to reconcile these differences. Both sides share some blame, but both sides can also work together towards the same goal: growth. Now more than ever, Sales needs Marketing’s support. And now more than ever, Marketing has the toolkit to aid Sales by providing qualified leads, helping Sales better manage their time, and helping both teams reach their goals.
Why Sales Needs Marketing
It’s simple; there is one huge reason why Sales needs Marketing support now more than ever. Buying power has shifted to the hands of decision makers, thanks to a wealth of information available to them. Sales needs the help of Marketing to combat this challenge, to nurture prospects into qualified leads—and Marketing wants to help.
Why Marketing Support Is Crucial To Sales
So how can Marketing help Sales after all? Well, one of the first benefits that Marketing has to offer is helping Sales better manage their time, time that needs to be spent engaging with truly qualified leads. Prospects at the top of the funnel are typically unlikely to be ready to make a decision, and generally aren’t ready to engage with Sales. Here, these prospects would prefer to spend their time uncovering and understanding their needs, and analyzing solutions to their problems. They can do this by absorbing the content that Marketing has put together, such as an eBook or white paper, or even a blog article.
When they have made their way down the funnel and converted to a Marketing Qualified Lead, then they are ready to be handed over to Sales. It is at this time that the MQL becomes a Sales Qualified Lead, a lead that is near ready for a Sales discussion. It is because of the lead nurturing efforts of Marketing that Sales makes better use of their time; spending it only on the best and most qualified leads.
By creating a Service Level Agreement between Sales and Marketing, a clear definition of a qualified lead can be made. This SLA guides the cooperation between Sales and Marketing and enables for a smooter transition of leads.
Another benefit to this divide and conquer strategy is the trust that is built between this lead and your business. Marketing’s efforts to engage with prospects and ultimately nurture them into qualified leads through content via email, social networking, and so on, creates trust with the lead, even before Sales gets involved, which makes their job that much easier when making the first call.
Speaking of making the first call, Marketing can also make a significant contribution here. Through their engagement with leads, and through their knowledge of how leads have behaved on your website (what blogs they’ve read, what content they’ve downloaded, what forms they’ve filled out), Marketing has a sufficient understanding of these leads’ needs and concerns. By relaying this information to Sales before the first contact, Marketing can prepare Sales for a more efficient sales call.
After the call, Sales can then follow up with the lead by providing additional content to further nurture them. Also, if Sales reports back to Marketing, letting them know which content was of use, and what other questions leads had, Marketing can then tailor their future content strategies. This open communication between Sales and Marketing is what Smarketing is all about, and is the key to successful business development.
By working with and openly communicating with Marketing, Sales can reap the benefits of their counterpart’s efforts, increasing the efficiency of the sales process, the quality of lead engagement, and the likelihood of hitting quotas.
Learn more about the valuable relationship that Smarketing has for your company’s growth efforts. Download our Smarketing eBook below!