Help Me Help You – How Sales Helps Marketing and Marketing Helps Sales…

Earlier this week, I posted a blog about the importance of sales and marketing working together entitled Think the Sales Team Doesn’t Get It? Maybe It’s You.  For this next post, I want to share the sales perspective on that topic.  Here’s a great post from Drew Prante, PGi’s Director of Ecommerce Sales.  Drew and I work closely together to make sure there’s alignment between sales and marketing.  Please welcome Drew to SingleMindedProposition.com. — jp

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Help Me Help You – How Sales Helps Marketing and Marketing Helps Sales

by Drew Prante, Director of Ecommerce Sales, PGi

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

There’s a great scene in the movie Jerry Maguire that recently had me thinking about collaboration between sales and marketing. The sports agent, about to lose his star client, tells his client that he can deliver, but he needs the client’s help – really his partnership – to close the deal. 

Well art imitates life. For those of us in sales, we know that we have a co-dependent relationship with marketing. Historically, marketing was first out of the gate with programs and campaigns. Sales came in after, taking any leads and turning them into business. Today’s model recognizes the value of collaboration.

Read on, and I’ll tell you why this is important, what the challenges are, and what 4 solid ways you can work with marketing to bridge the communication gap, and turn leads into deals faster.

We’re all in this together.

When sales is not invited to weigh in on marketing programs, it puts them behind. Conversely, if marketing doesn’t understand the sales tools, all the marketing programs in the world can’t close the deal. Sales and marketing collaboration helps sales to accelerate the lead generation and lead nurturing process.

Every time marketing sends a lead to sales it costs money. According to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report, the average cost of inbound lead is $135. The average cost of an outbound lead is $346. These are hefty numbers. Think about it this way: If Marketing delivers a qualified lead to sales, and the deal is lost because of a bad online meeting experience, who loses? Everyone.

Marketing’s goal is to expose and deliver sales leads. Working with sales enables marketing to better understand the hallmark of a really qualified lead. Marketing should be interested in the sales tools being used because they impact the initial customer experience and the quality of the sales conversations. And this affects lead conversion rates.

Turning 3 Challenges into …

Sales and marketing have different short-term goals, but they share an eye on the end result. The challenge is getting the two groups to back up to a point of intersection.

  • Challenge #1: they report to different management. Opportunity: report to the same boss who can steer lead generation programs from the beginning and divide up the responsibilities is a less linear manner.
  • Challenge #2: where is the ownership? Opportunity: Everywhere. Sales knows what is required to sell a product or service. Once marketing also knows the secret, the two can share in the close.
  • Challenge #3: sales and marketing are virtual and don’t physically co-exist. Opportunity: leverage effective collaboration tools for alignment. In my last blog, I discussed the importance of face-to-face interaction in cracking a prospect’s code. The same strategy applies to working efficiently with those within your own company.

…4 Solutions to that turn leads into dollars

1. Get involved in the day to day. Attend marketing reporting meetings, get on email distribution lists, and change the model by getting involved in all aspects of the thought process.

2. Video speaks. Literally. Video is the great differentiator, and it has the power to help sales close leads more quickly. Sales conversations that work need to be injected into the marketing process. Ask marketing to focus on video assets and content that clearly communicate the sales perspective.

3. Tools have impact. Work with marketing to ensure sales has access to the best sales tools and technology. 50% of all meetings start late because of poor tools. This means lost time, lost productivity, and a potential lost customer.

4. Weigh and measure. Implement a closed-loop marketing program to understand the impact of cost per lead. Track the initial channel through the conversion and until they become a customer. A recent Forbes article titled Top 100 Lead Response Companies at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce 2012 showed that only 27 percent of leads actually get contacted by sales. A closed loop system quickly identifies that gap. Caution: It’s hard to measure marketing impact, so focus on ratios of lead volume to marketing qualified sales and sales involvement.

Gang up on the problem

Sales helps marketing help sales. In the spirit of collaboration, consider a quote from Thomas Stallkamp:

“The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than each other.”

The problem is converting leads to sales in a time when customers have unlimited options. The solution is a winning and unified attack plan.

Help me help you. Are you ready?

Advertisements

One Comment on “Help Me Help You – How Sales Helps Marketing and Marketing Helps Sales…

  1. thanks – about to put together a strategy for a new business client that has this problem and subsequently marketing is not funded. A vicious cycle to be sure but one worth fight for being all on the same side.

%d bloggers like this: