Proven Strategy to Align Sales and Marketing teams!

 In Business Wisdom, Marketing, Sales, Sales & Marketing Alignment

Do you have a Smarketing team? (Unified)

Or

A Sales team and A Marketing team. (Misaligned)

Don’t worry, this misalignment is natural.

To be honest Sales guys and Marketing guys come from very different disciplines.

Marketing Guys:

  • Long-term thinkers.
  • Follow the rules.
  • Want things to work.

Sales Guys:

  • Short-term thinkers.
  • Don’t believe in rules. Bend rules as per the situation.
  • Opportunistic.

Two totally different mindsets.

How do you bring them together?

The answer is “Sales Enablement”.

And, if you are not sure whether your teams are misaligned or not.

Here is how you can confirm the same.

Confirming Misalignment

Have you heard statements like any of these from your teams?

  • The sales team is not contacting the leads generated by the Marketing team.
  • The sales team is rejecting Marketing Qualified Leads.
  • Leads generated by Marketing Team are not Sales-ready.
  • The marketing team is not generating enough leads.

If your answer is a “Yes”, Your Sales and Marketing teams are definitely not aligned!

OR

If your clients tell, that what marketing team said is different from what your sales team is saying.

OR

If the sales team is not using the content created by the marketing team.

It’s also a sign of misalignment.

However, if sales and marketing bring their strengths together, they can do wonders for the business.

Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is the processes, content, and technology that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. – HubSpot

In this post, we are going to look at the following two aspects of sales enablement.

  1. A Target Buyer
  2. A Content Strategy

For the rest of the sales enablement strategies. Stay tuned for our upcoming posts!

Target Buyer | A Specific Definition

You wish to attract people who are most likely to buy from you.

Right?

Do your teams know who such people are?

Probably they have a rough idea but not too specific.

Besides the picture of such people might be different for sales and marketing.

Little difference in their understandings can attract poor-fit leads.

Something you absolutely do NOT want.

Hence, the best would be to create a target buyer persona for your business.

There are many tools available to create personas.

Here is one by HubSpot: “Make My Persona

It’s pretty user friendly.

Here is how our target buyer looks like.

If it resonates with you, we managed to attract the right lead 😉

Buyer Persona

 

Even after creating target buyer personas, there shall be little scope to further fine-tune the lead attraction and conversion.

Here is what you can do!

Create a small judiciary team. To start with, having just one reviewer is also okay.

This judiciary team can review every rejected lead.

If the rejected lead needs more nurturing its sent back to the marketing team.

However, if the lead was sales-ready, a discussion with the sales rep about the reason for rejection can bring more insights.

It would be best to have the reviewer not belong to either marketing or sales team. (#Unbiased)

Resolving dispute between sales and marketing team over a lead

Content Strategy

To explain the importance of content in sales enablement, I have a beautiful story to share.

The story is about a former pool guy at River Pools and Spas (RPS),  Marcus Sheridan.

( I heard this story while taking Sales Enablement course at Hubspot Academy).

Marcus is CEO and president of the Sales Lion.

The story is about how Marcus studied the buyer’s journey for RPS customers and used content to squeeze the sales cycle.

Year 2007:

  1. 250 sales appointments.
  2. Driving 2-3 hours to the client site.
  3. Educating the client on various aspects of pool installation for 2-3 hours.
  4. Driving back home for 2-3 hours.
  5. Marcus hardly got to see his wife and kids.
  6. After all this hustle Marcus converted 75 clients out of 250 appointments.

Year 2009:

  1. Recession hits.
  2. People could not anymore afford to pay for pool installations.
  3. Marcus starts to receive cancellation orders.
  4. The company lost quarter-million dollars in 48 hours.
  5. Weeks and months pass by, bringing the company on the verge of bankruptcy.

Year 2013:

  1. 150 sales appointments.
  2. 110 converted clients.
  3. Marcus now had sales and marketing teams to work for him.

How did Marcus reinvent?

Marcus used buyer-centric content strategy.

Here is how:

Marcus took a hard look at the buyer’s journey for pools and here is what he found out.

Most of the buyers asked him more or less the same questions in the sales appointment.

Two major things that the buyers wanted to know:

  1. How is the pool installation process going to look like?
    • The pool showing up.
    • Going in the ground.
    • Patio going around it.
    • All the cleanup.
  2. Which options shall they choose for customization?
    • Whether to use a heater or not.
    • Solid cover or Mesh cover, which would be better.
    • Whether the heater should be gas or electric etc.

So he thought, what if he can manage to get all these questions answered even before the sales appointment.

Marcus followed: “They Ask, You Answer” plan.

Marcus, with his team, created two things:

  1. An awesome video to walk the buyer through the installation process.
  2. A guide to help buyers make customization decisions based on pros and cons.

The sales team was instructed to guide the buyer to use the video and guide them to educate themselves.

Here is how Marcus’s pitch looked like.

Buyer: Hey Marcus, I’m checking out your website, could you come out to my house and give me a quote for a pool.

Marcus: Sure, I’d love to come out to your house, but you’re getting ready to spend a lot of money,

and if you’re going to spend a lot of money, I know you don’t want to make any mistakes.

So, as to make sure you don’t make any mistakes, this is what we’re going to do.

As we’re talking on the phone right now, I’m going to send you two things that you’re really going to like.

The first thing I’m going to send you is a link to the video that’s awesome.

This video is going to show you the process of the pool showing up, going in the ground, patio going around it, all the cleanup.

This way you’re going to see the whole thing, and this way when I come out to your house on Friday, you’re not going to say,

so, Marcus what is this process look like, you’re already going to know.

The second thing I’m going to send you is this guide, if you will.

This guide is great because it’s going to answer all those little questions you have right now about pools,

like should I get a heater with my pool? What’s the best type of heater? Should it be gas? Should it be electric?

Should I get a cover? What’s the best type of cover? Should it be mesh? Should it be solid?

We’re going to answer all those questions.

It’s a little bit long, this guide, it’s about 30 pages, but I promise it will be well worth your time.

Will you take the time to review those things before our appointment on Friday?

Buyer: Sure! (In 90% cases)

Source: HubSpot

If you carefully observe the pitch, Marcus tells the buyer that he cares about the buyer’s hard-earned money.

Marcus is also inspiring the buyer to make an informed decision.

How to find out whether Marcus’s buyer centric strategy worked or not?

An advanced data-analytics tool gave the answer.

Marcus divided the leads into two groups.

Group A had the people who bought the pool installation service.

Group B had the people who did not buy the pool installation service.

The team then found out the differences between the two groups.

The major difference between the two groups was, Group A, the buyer group had actually read at least 30 pieces of content.

This was proof that the buyer-centric content strategy actually works!

How to create more valuable content?

Here is a great #Hack by Harvard Professor Mark Roberge for creating valuable content.

Every #Friday, just a 60 minutes interview over a cup of coffee.

#Interviewee:

One of the members of the thought leadership group at the company. (C-Suite executives, sales leaders as they are out there in fields with buyers, etc.)

#Interviewer:

A member from the content writing team ( with good interviewing skills, maybe from journalism background).

#Output

Based on the discussion, the content team can come up with:

1. A 3-5 pages e-book.

2. 2-3 blog posts directing to the download of the e-book.

3. A dozen or 2 of social media posts.

#EndResult

More Leads, in fact, more qualified leads as the content is driven by direct interactions with buyers and insights from subject matter experts.

A sure win-win, What say?

P.S. If there are 12 members in the thought leadership committee, all you need is each member’s one hour in every quarter!!

Why do Marketing & Sales teams need to collaborate on content creation?

Sales and Marketing teams are like a two-part key to unlock great success in business.

1. The marketing team has a better skill set for creating content, but sales have access to more timely information.

2. Sales get to hear from buyers day-in-day-out, thus they know what are the pain-points of buyers.

3. If both the teams are on the same page, the chances of lead conversion multiply.

4. The marketing team makes the content look more appealing aesthetically.

5. Based on the inputs received from sales, the marketing team can create better lead magnets.(e.g. Free e-book on most pressing pain-point for the target buyers)

Here, I have one more very short story to prove that this collaboration works:

A sales rep created a set of most useful reports for clients.

Reports creation was based on an understanding of what buyers find valuable.

Reports were brilliant yet ugly (just look-wise).

Marketing team beauti-fied the reports i.e. made them visually appealing.

These reports then became the most successful lead magnet ever for their business.

This is the kind of partnership, you need to create between your sales and marketing teams.

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