Six ways marketing can support the sales process
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 26/03/2018
Historically, marketing and sales teams have often experienced a turbulent relationship with miscommunication, misunderstandings and miss-selling all contributing to problems, but when deadline day comes around – and even in everyday business – it’s important that departments pull together and foster a supportive relationship. After all, all members of your business are working toward the same goal in one way or form!
The bottom line is that, regardless of its size, a company won't survive if it doesn’t meet its revenue goals. One of the goals of any marketing department will therefore be to work towards setting up the sales team for success; generating brand awareness and enquiries, motivating valuable leads and nurturing them until they are ready to be processed by the sales team, where they will hopefully be turned into revenue.
Working from the same page
First and foremost, it’s clear to state that everybody within the business should be on, or working from the same page. If you haven’t already, a meeting should be arranged to sync your marketing and sales efforts, identifying clear responsibilities, processes and goals.
This meeting is ideal time to align and discuss:
- The lead management process
- The qualification of potential leads
- The use of your Customer-Relationship-Management (CRM) system in following the lead through the buying cycle
- The point at which a lead is turned over to sales from marketing
- How the customer relationship is managed once the lead becomes a paying customer
Once this is established, it’s time to get to work. Not sure of the best way to support your sales team when it comes down to it? We’ve outlined a few suggestions below that may help.
Six ways marketing can help sales in securing a contract
Growth and success are team sports, so the marketing team should be lending sales a hand when it comes to a difficult-to-convert customers. A marketer can help the sales process by:
1. Jumping in on a client call
If you work in marketing, the likelihood is that you're a product expert, understanding the product range and its USPs and benefits in a different way than other employees within the business. If so, offer to jump in on a call and use your knowledge to sell.
It’s often difficult to align schedules with decision-makers, so organise a shared calendar and set aside a time each week to facilitate these opportunities. Sometimes this second perspective is all that’s needed to get that contract signed.
2. Giving a demo or walkthrough
Similarly to conference calling, providing a demo or walkthrough of a product or service from a marketing perspective is also often helpful in securing new business.
As a marketer that's knowledgeable about the product range or services, guiding, joining or creating a demo in the form of a webinar can significantly accelerate the decision process, offering the opportunity to answer technical questions and giving insider tips to encourage that signed contract.
3. Creating insightful marketing collateral
Marketing collateral, such as presentations, datasheets, case studies, white papers, statistics and/or proposal content are vital to the success of any sales effort. These should therefore be strategically updated by all teams and readily available to be used during a pitch.
As with your marketing plan, your marketing collateral should improve and develop with the businesses’ needs over time. Qualitative feedback from account managers and their clients should generate input about what's resonating and what's falling flat. If reps don’t believe in their tools, their clients won’t believe in the product, leading reps to make their own tools or simply use what’s most familiar.
It’s also worthwhile ensuring that these 'tools' are being used correctly, and at the right time in the buying cycle. Additional training could help to map which content will help with client sticking points and when.
4. Introducing references and testimonials
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, with many businesses not always making good on their product and service promises. It may therefore be that a new prospect just needs to check your past references before making a commitment to your brand, product or service.
You may already have a wealth of testimonials on file that are not being used to their full potential. If not, be sure to get out there and ask your loyal customers for their glowing reviews. These can then be supplied to sales in a shared document, or communicated to the client in a scheduled call, live chat or email.
5. Being on hand to help
Occasionally, a perspective customer will have a question that a sales rep or account manager cannot answer, or requires a second opinion on. In this instance, a responsive marketer can often answer or source the correct response to the question.
In order to process these questions alongside your normal workload, it’s best to set up a bespoke process that best works for your business. A dedicated email inbox or phoneline that’s managed by the marketing team should help sales reps to source the answers to their questions in a timely manner. If working in a smaller company with sales and marketing based in the same place, it may be that both teams set aside some time to confer on these matters. Here at Yachting Pages, we have a dedicated inbox, and hold a 'Friday Forum' where the whole business discusses projects, progress and concerns across departments.
6. Broadcasting achievements
As American showman P.T. Barnum once reportedly said, “All publicity is good publicity". If a marketing team can put together a news story or social media post shouting about a potential prospect and their achievements, this public recognition may go a long way to securing the deal.
Highlight a company’s recent achievement, new hire, promotion or initiative in order to demonstrate the level of customer care and support that a prospective client can expect to achieve when they become a paying client.
Above all else, let your sales team know that they can count on those working within the marketing team when the going gets rough, and hopefully the gesture will be returned when the heat is on in the marketing department!