5 things sales teams would love to tell their B2B marketers
Jack Kosakowski of Creation Agency tells it like it is on The Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast
February 22, 2018
There are many elements to effective sales and marketing alignment – but arguably the most important is the ability to see things from the other team’s perspective. A B2B marketer who’s walked a mile in the shoes of sales reps is always likely to be a more effective B2B marketer – and a more effective support to their colleagues attempting to close deals. A sales director who’s spent time planning and executing B2B marketing content is far more likely to make effective use of that content than one who simply has a list of article links handed to them on a Monday morning.
It’s a huge missed opportunity that fewer B2B marketers, in particular, have ever spent serious time working in sales. Jack Kosakowski is one very notable exception. He’s the CEO of the US Division of Creation Agency, a full-funnel agency that takes a fully integrated approach to sales and marketing. He’s a sales leader who became a marketing leader, and a social selling influencer who’s also one of the most interesting voices out there when it comes to B2B marketing strategy. He has a unique perspective on the relative strengths of the two departments – and what they really need to do to support one another more effectively.
When the chance came up to record a special issue of The Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast with Jack, I jumped at the chance. Not only is he very entertaining company – but he’s just the person to answer a question that every B2B marketer asks themselves: what does my sales team really think of me?
Click on the link below to hear my Podcast interview with Jack in full – it’s one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had on sales and marketing alignment. Then scroll down for five things that Jack believes sales teams would love to share with their B2B marketing colleagues. These aren’t rants, complaints or criticisms – they’re heartfelt pleas that will help any marketer to better understand the results they’re really driving for their business.
“The less you talk about yourself, the more people will want to talk to you”
It was fascinating to hear Jack talk about the sales director’s perspective of what’s often wrong with B2B marketing content. As a marketer, it’s far too easy to assume that your sales teams want you to sell for them: to put out content that bigs up your products and solutions and does their job for them. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of some of the lazy stereotypes that still persist about pushy and aggressive sales reps.
As Jack points out, the last thing that sales teams usually want is content that goes on and on about how wonderful your brand and its products are. Top salespeople know that the less you talk about yourself, the more people want to talk to you. They want content that adds value and complements what they do – not that replicates selling.
“I need to learn how to do marketing – and you need to try doing sales”
At the start of our conversation about sales and marketing alignment, Jack came out with a statement that really resonated me – in part because it’s such a challenge to B2B marketers. Sales and marketing alignment is often so difficult, he believes, because “sales don’t know how to do marketing – and marketing is too scared to do sales.”
The point he’s making is that there are different challenges involved in seeing things from the other team’s perspective. Sales teams know that the challenge of planning and creating marketing campaigns and content will be difficult – and their biggest fear is that it will take up too much of their time. Marketers often look at sales as an experience they don’t want to have. It’s hard in a different way – and takes a different type of courage.
So what would happen if marketers were asked to actually do the follow-up calls on the leads they pass to sales? They’d quickly get a very different perspective on the type of leads that their content delivers – and the types of experiences that creates for the sales teams. Sharing those experiences will bring a whole new perspective to the way you score leads – and the way you plan value-adding content to generate them.
“Just because you created a great piece of content doesn’t mean that it’s giving me great leads”
Lead quality issues are a frustration that comes between many sales and marketing teams. In a sense, we both have to be realistic about where and why problems occur. When sales teams complain about the value of a piece of content because of a lack of quality in the leads that it delivered, it’s easy for marketing to get defensive. However, the problems often don’t come from the content itself. Listen to the issues that your sales colleagues have – and if you feel an asset should have delivered better results, then try looking into targeting, distribution, timing, and all of the other factors that could be undermining its impact.
“We don’t just need marketing content – we need sales content”
Writing B2B marketing content that generates leads for sales is great. However, what’s potentially even more valuable is helping sales teams to create content that addresses the barriers they face in their sales conversations. If a sales rep keeps running into the same three reasons for prospects not buying your solution, then you have a great basis for a piece of content addressing those barriers in advance. Insights like these have real value – so build in regular meetings to help your sales teams raise them, and work with them to draft blog posts that give a compelling response.
“Social selling doesn’t get you out of having to sell”
In the age of social selling it’s easy to assume that there’s less of a difference between sales and marketing than there used to be: we both distribute content, we both seek to add value for prospects, we both build relationships. However, at the end of the day, there’s one very significant difference between your sales reps and your B2B marketers: one team has to move the conversation to a point where they actually sell something. That remains very difficult – and requires a great deal of skill.
The real secret to sales and marketing alignment isn’t pretending that sales and marketing are the same. It’s recognising the very unique skills and qualities that each brings to the table. As B2B marketers, we need to deliver our sales teams value-adding content, quality leads, and tactics that are tailored to the barriers they identify and the priorities they have. However, we also need to listen to the challenges they face that are very different to our own. We pride ourselves on our empathy and understanding, after all. There’s great value in applying those qualities to our partners in sales.