By: Don Gray
As a fellow sales and marketing professional, I have lived the disconnect between marketing and sales that many of my peers experience. I’d like to share my perspective on helping to eliminate that disconnect to ensure successful B2B initiatives.
In Today’s Age, Content is King
It’s become so prevalent everywhere and anywhere that we hardly notice it anymore, but the changes the Information Age has ushered in have made it imperative that sales engages much more closely with marketing and the content that is produced.
The content of the past was almost all print or occasional: brochures, sales sheets, white papers, presentations. Advertising helped businesses build brand awareness, but there was no easy method to establish credibility. While we still use some of the old content formats today, there are much more ways to establish credibility on electronic media– whether it’s created by marketers or not. Readers educate themselves on what they can find online, and when they do reach out to a sales rep, they have high expectations:
- They want their sales reps to be knowledgeable – about their industry, their problems, and potentially their company;
- They want to get to the heart of the matter (“Tell me what you can do for me”); and
- It’s not about the product.
The ever-increasing availability of content gives the prospect much more context in order to decide whether or not we can solve their business problem. And they may make the decision, based on what they found, NOT to engage with us.
The Sales Challenge: Preparedness
Sales is now required to be better prepared regarding business issues our company is able to solve. We must know and understand marketing materials AND how to discuss that content with the prospect. We must be able to leverage the content in various business discussions, build our credibility, and more effectively develop relationships. Sales must be better prepared to lead the prospect discovery discussions, identify critical issues concerning each prospect, and discuss the business results and impact our solutions will provide.
Marketing and Sales Working Together: Talk Often
This new dynamic of greater, more relevant content requires marketing and sales to be in sync. It requires a greater collaboration between the two organizations to ensure that the messages put out by marketing are represented correctly by sales.
Marketing, with collaboration from sales, defines the target markets. From there, marketing builds the key value messages and develops the initiatives it will use to promote the company’s capabilities.
Marketing educates sales with value messages and dissemination processes, and sales understands how marketing acquires leads. Sales must use this knowledge to conduct effective prospect qualification dialogs, demonstrate the solution’s capabilities, and develop relationships. Sales must stay in tune with marketing and the content that marketing disseminates. At the end of the sales cycle, win or lose, sales must review the results with marketing to ensure a process of continuous improvement.
About Don Gray
Don Gray is the Founder and President of Sales Engineering Group, a sales performance consultancy. Don has worked with a variety of small, medium, and large B2B organizations to help them develop their distinct value messaging, identify how customers buy their solutions, and skill their sales teams to drive predictable sales results. You can find him leading the monthly Sales & Marketing Shared Interest Groups. Engage with him on Twitter @Grasan2001 or comment below.