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As a marketer, it can be easy to forget that you have one very important customer sitting right in your own office — and that’s your sales team. From the beginning, we’re taught to merge the art and science of marketing to reach our customers in new and unique ways. But when you look at the big picture, it’s the sales team that ultimately has the conversations with customers and closing deals.
This is why sales and marketing alignment has become so critical in B2B organizations. For each team to be successful, both teams have to understand their buyer personas, stand behind a unified message, and create a solid process for lead management.
Take a look at the following sales enablement tips to learn how marketing and sales can start winning together — simply by working together.
1. Get on the same page
Tackling sales enablement begins with understanding the buyer’s journey. Your sales team has a wealth of information when it comes to your buyer’s pain points, motivations, and interests. Start by interviewing them to get a better idea of the stages that your buyers go through as they move through the sales cycle. Discuss how your buyers learn, how they evaluate, and what buying signals might indicate that they’re ready to speak to a sales rep.
Having this understanding between sales and marketing establishes a mutual definition for a qualified lead, and helps marketers choose the best timing to assign leads to sales. Working from a communal model to determine marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, and closed-won business will make it easier for your two teams to cooperate and work toward common goals.
2. Set sales up for the win
After deciding on a common definition of a qualified lead, marketers can set up an objective lead qualification model. Using solutions like scoring and grading, marketers have the ability to automatically evaluate leads against their lead qualification standards before passing them on to sales. This allows marketers to assess leads based on their interest levels (their score) and how well they fit the company’s ideal prospect profile (their grade). Once leads reach a threshold score and grade, they can be automatically assigned to sales, effectively eliminating arguments over lead quality.
Setting sales up for the win isn’t just about identifying hot leads — it’s also about nurturing cold or non sales-ready leads until they’re ready to enter the sales process. In the past, these leads would fall prey to neglect, and would often get picked up by competitors. However, today marketers can set up sales nurturing programs that run behind the scenes. These campaigns will periodically “drip” content to leads over time, educating them until they’re ready to talk to a sales rep. Sales can remain relatively hands-off, but it’s a huge win for them in the long run.
3. Communicate habitually
It’s been said that sales enablement requires partnering with sales in a habitual way. This means constant communication between your two teams to better understand what’s working and what’s not. For example, are sales reps happy with the quality of the leads they’re receiving from marketing? What types of content would reps like to see incorporated into their sales nurturing programs?
There are several ways to ensure that sales and marketing are consistently communicating:
- Gain executive support. Let your executives lead by example. Your heads of marketing and sales should touch base on a regular basis.
- Treat your new sales-marketing processes like a pilot. See how your new lead scoring model and nurturing programs work for your top-performing sales reps, then roll them out to the entire team. Hearing about the success of the pilot from their peers will be a powerful motivator.
- Join each other’s meetings. Stay updated on any ongoing or upcoming marketing and sales initiatives by having a representative from each team sit in on your department meetings.
- Work marketing into the sales onboarding process. This ensures that marketing is a part of your sales reps’ processes from the very beginning.
- Collect actionable feedback. Just getting feedback from your sales team isn’t enough. The impact comes from using that feedback to improve your marketing processes.
There you have it: a quick guide to a few ways that marketing can help sales win. Start implementing these tips at your organization and watch your two teams become a single, revenue-generating machine.
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