Aligning Stars: What Should Sales Ask of Marketing?

January 11, 2018

Align Stars

Sophisticated organizations have long amplified the impact of top performers. And now that the average buyer is 57% through the purchase decision before speaking with a salesperson, companies are finding that facilitating collaboration between top sellers and marketers helps ignite early-funnel engagement that paves the way for better late-funnel interactions.

Here are ways to take advantage of the unique skills of your best marketers and salespeople and better prime prospects to make a purchase.

Strategize to Strengthen the Pipeline

With buyers holding your sales reps at bay until later in the buying cycle, it’s essential for your marketing team to reach prospects early in the upper funnel. Establishing a connection with prospects before they are even in the market for a solution increases the likelihood of staying top of mind once they do start their purchase process.

To that end, coordinate a meeting of your top marketing and sales minds to develop strategies for building a stronger pipeline. They could cover everything from defining the ideal customer, identifying target accounts and contacts, and outlining a content marketing strategy to determining processes for engaging and nurturing prospects, and validating leads.

Cross-Pollinate Efforts

Your top sales reps should share their insights and experience with the marketing team to help raise content quality. It starts by informing the marketing team about the informational needs of buyers. This includes their priorities, challenges, needs, interests, and content preferences. With this deeper understanding, marketing can create targeted content that resonates. Based on their direct interactions with prospects, your top sales reps should continually report back on which content works and which doesn’t.

Your best sales pros can also shed light on the competition’s strengths and weaknesses and other key details of how they are engaging with buyers in the market. These insights equip marketing to better evaluate their strategy and ensure that content includes differentiated messaging and positioning.

Rather than act as a one-way street, sales should invite marketing to share their insights and experience. The marketing team’s research into markets and potential customers could prove useful in forecasting. Moreover, marketing can steer the sales team to address key topics for more engaging conversations when meeting with prospects in the later stages of the buying cycle.

In fact, sales should ask marketing to explain the storyline being conveyed in the content shared with prospects so reps can pick up the conversation where marketing leaves off.

Collaborate Around Leads

One common theme across sales and marketing departments is the disconnect around lead scoring and disposition. To close the gap, your department standouts should first create a meaningful and realistic lead scoring system that helps both teams understand when to nurture and when to route leads.

Next, put in place tools and tactics that help qualify prospects objectively and nurture and route them automatically to avoid the finger-pointing that amplifies departmental divisions. Keep sales and marketing on the same page by providing a mechanism for sales to report on lead quality and for marketing to show how they are responding to the feedback.

Leverage LinkedIn

Consider ways to use LinkedIn and LinkedIn Navigator to support the efforts of your superstars. Using LinkedIn Navigator, your sales team can organize and prioritize the top accounts to target. With a focused list of target accounts in hand, your marketing experts can develop personalized content and offers that encourage high levels of engagement and response.

Calling upon a combination of organic and paid search, marketing can better reach and nurture these prospects on LinkedIn and beyond. For example, the team could feature thought leadership content such as eBooks, how-to guides, infographics, videos, and SlideShare presentations on your Company Page.

LinkedIn also provides marketing and sales access to real-time data that provides insights into the information that prospects are seeking. This helps prepare sales to engage in high-value conversations with in-market buyers.

It’s always rewarding to see your sales and marketing superstars deliver for your company. But it’s even better when you can tap into their winning approaches and unique insights to get everyone in sales and marketing working as one.

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