How B2B marketing teams support sales isn’t just a handoff like the runners in a 4X100 race. There should be some back and forth. Here’s a hypothetical situation. Say a potential customer calls for a meeting with your company demonstrating some level of interest in your product or service. Your sales rep arrives, and spends a good hour presenting your product. Sounds fine, right? Maybe fine for your company. But think about it from the potential customer’s perspective.
This potential customer couldn’t get a word in edgewise because your sales rep was merely doing a presentation. The sales rep failed to interact with this potential customer. Rather than asking the customer questions, and addressing his or her needs, the sales rep merely plowed ahead with a prepared speech and likely pushed away that potential customer.
We might look at this hypothetical situation and immediately think, “That sales rep sounds incompetent. He sounds like he needs to have a refresher course on the ins and outs of sales.” While this may be true, we should also look at this situation as a failure by the marketing team. The marketing team should be working hand in hand with the sales reps, to ensure that they make the most of every sales opportunity and collect the right kinds of information to help the company improve its understanding of the buying process its customers go through.
Here are five must-dos for B2B marketing organizations to improve the support they provide to their sales organizations.
Provide Support to Sales
Think about it – the role of the marketing department is essentially to make sure that the sales department is successful. In B2B, sales owns the responsibility to deliver revenue. And marketing’s role is to make sales more productive—to help them reduce the sales cycle. Unfortunately, frequently the marketing department ignores this and merely thinks of the higher level brand awareness, lead generation, trade shows and the like. But if a sales rep gets a meeting, and then doesn’t have the right materials needed to close the sale, marketing has to take some of that responsibility.
Give Sales the Necessary Materials
While many of the necessary marketing materials may be available on line or delivered via specific campaigns, the sales organizations should also have those materials and be able to access them when necessary. This could mean anything from presentations, to templated documents, to white papers, to case studies, to videos, just about any piece of collateral that can assist with the sales process. This way, sales can actually respond in a meeting when a prospect has a question and be equipped with stories and examples as to how similar companies have used your products and services.
Show Customers the Return on Investment
This goes hand in hand with step two, giving sales the necessary materials to succeed. Without proof, why would any potential customer choose your company over another? Sure, you might argue that word of mouth marketing is the best kind, but if the customer has heard about you and still wants to know more, they’re going to want proof of success. Materials like the ones mentioned above can help with this. You might also consider developing some sort of calculator to show a potential customer the ROI they can expect.
Don’t Pass on Unqualified Leads
Lots of sales reps will claim that the leads from marketing are not qualified or are “unworkable” and that they shouldn’t even bother with them. But the marketing department often wants to pass on as many leads as possible because that’s the metric by which they are being measured. Stop wasting the time of your sales reps and don’t pass on leads if they’re not qualified.
Be Wary of Touting Success
This is somewhat of a conundrum, but often the marketing department wants to take credit for the success seen from a sale, while the sales department wants to claim that success as entirely theirs. Think about it in sports terminology—it really should be considered an assist. In other words, the marketing department set up the possibility for success and prepared sales, and the sales department continued to engage the opportunity and then closed it. Rather than focusing only on sales, take credit for things like the conversion rates, from browsers to leads or the costs per lead.
Obviously, there are dozens more must dos for B2B marketing success. These are just a few of the big ones. Start brainstorming today to think about what else your company can do to boost their marketing success, and drop a note in the comments to let us know what else we should have on the list.