Closer marketing and sales collaboration: the secret to success

In an ideal world, the role of marketing and sales teams would complement each other perfectly.

  • The marketing team produces content and collateral that drives traffic to your website and prospects to your door
  • The sales team follows up on these leads, ultimately converting them into new customers

Sounds easy. So why does it rarely work this effectively in practice?

The benefits of digital marketing

In theory, the shift towards digital marketing should make the sales process even easier. After all, one of the reasons social media, digital advertising and SEO are so widely used is their trackability.

In days gone by, you published a print ad in an industry magazine. It almost certainly raised your brand awareness among your target market. Some people might see it and contact your firm, or put you on a pitch list. Anecdotally, you could ascribe an uplift in enquiries to the ad’s publication.

But you never really knew whether your ad and your incoming enquiries were linked. Unless they were direct-response ads, and you coded them there was no scientific methodology that enabled you to accurately assess their impact.

Today, all that has changed. Visitors to your website can be directly traced back to the channel they came from. You know exactly how many leads your LinkedIn ad or tweet delivered. And if you know what’s working, you can focus your energy on doing more of the same.

What does this mean for the sales and marketing relationship?

How does this link between digital marketing and sales impact the sales and marketing teams? We think in a number of ways:

By working together, sales and marketing teams can have a huge impact on leads

If content is king when it comes to digital marketing, sales and marketing should be the chief courtiers. The success of your content – the way it resonates with clients and prospects – is now so transparent, you can’t afford to get it wrong.

The good news is that sales and marketing teams are among the best-placed in the business to deliver this relevant content – and by doing so, dramatically boost incoming leads.

Sales teams often complain that marketing isn’t giving them the tools they need to engage with prospects. But it’s sales who are talking to prospects every day, getting a real sense of their concerns and challenges. By working more closely together, the sales team can feed in content ideas to marketers, who can then bring them to life online.

The result? Content that speaks to your target market, and will drive increased interest in your firm. (You can read more on this in Perivan Solutions blog, Why content marketing is important to sales teams).

Marketing and sales collaboration makes the process slicker and faster

Once these leads are generated – whether via webinars, whitepaper downloads or e-newsletter clicks – they need to be passed to the sales team in a timely way. Marketing teams can play a key role here, making sure leads are passed over quickly and to the most appropriate people, so sales people can follow up while the issues are fresh in prospects’ minds. 

You can drive continuous improvement through collaborative working

Reviewing, measuring and analysing your approach is essential if you are to refine it over time. The sales team is best placed to feed back to marketing on whether content is generating the right number – and right type – of leads. Working together to review results – using collaboration software – will ensure you consistently produce relevant content that delivers the maximum amount of leads.

Think about whether the sales team should have involvement in digital marketing 

The other thing sales teams can do is get involved! Because you are often the closest people to your market, you might want to consider your own digital marketing –perhaps via your own social media feed. Posting content online yourself, rather than just through your corporate feed, can help build relationships with your key clients and prospects. As long as you get the approval of your firm, and comply with regulatory requirements (read more on this in Perivan Solutions blog on social media for sales teams), having your own presence on social media can be a big plus.

The focus on digital marketing is unlikely to abate any time soon, and with good reason. By working more closely together to create, review and refine the content you use online, sales and marketing teams can maximise response rates and increase ROI. The benefits of a collaborative approach are numerous.

As we mentioned above, if you’re active on social media, you‘ll need to make sure you’re fully compliant. Perivan Solutions 10 best practices for compliant social media has lots of practical tips – you can download a free copy here.

Author: Steve Coleman – Perivan Solutions