Sales and marketing absolutely need to be aligned; here’s how best to integrate the two in the digital space.
The title of this post is a bit misleading because this really isn’t a topic for debate. Sales should absolutely be involved in digital marketing, unless you want your brand to get left in the dust. By now, savvy marketers have realised that the silos and the silent rivalry separating sales and marketing teams are bad for business.The smart question is: how can you get your sales team inspired to get stuck in when it comes to digital marketing?
Renowned marketer the Sales Lion makes some excellent points in this video post on exactly that. He tackles the most obvious tactic first – don’t give them the option to say no. Sit down with your sales team and make it clear that working with marketing is in their job description.
You will have to facilitate the process and help them to find their feet but it can have some incredibly positive pay-offs. For example, getting sales staff to write marketing content helps hone their communication skills, increases their loyalty to the brand, helps to build your sales team into experts on the subject of your products or services, and may even help you find a hidden gem with a talent for content production amongst your sales staff. Sales teams are also far more likely to buy into and actually use marketing material if they had a hand in producing it – which is a huge plus when you consider that SiriusDecisions recently found that up to 70% of marketing material wasn’t even used by the sales teams they surveyed.
One issue that has been identified is getting sales into the mindset of the customer. Get sales involved in creating buyer personas and spend time walking them through the buyer’s journey. This typically marketing-aligned process can help your sales force see things through the eyes of their intended customers and allow them to talk to customers on a whole new level. Talk them through the buyer’s challenges and potential solutions, using case studies and realistic scenarios as suggested here. As this article emphasises, sales as a role is shifting in the digital age as buyers become more informed and more empowered. A sales person is a consultant, who helps the buyer to become even more informed, by passing on quality content that is relevant to them. They can also solve problems and remove barriers to close the sale.
Another point to remember is to get people talking to one another. It sounds obvious but often it falls by the wayside in the bustle and flow of busy weeks. Schedule regular, non-negotiable meeting times where sales and marketing discuss planned campaigns, sales figures, and if there are any gaps that need to be plugged. You employed people with different backgrounds and hence minds that can see problems from different angles, so get them in the same room!
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Build in some common metrics as well. People work best when they have clear goals, so get sales and marketing to agree on what indicators will help both teams to measure their performance. Then haul out that data during shared meetings and get input on what’s working and what needs some extra effort.
Any discussion about digital marketing isn’t complete without touching on social media. Whether you are an Instagram fanatic or fear all things Facebook, social media is a huge influencer in buying decisions – unsurprisingly, a report by Price Waterhouse Cooper found that 78% of people stated that reviews, comments and feedback on social media influenced their buying behaviour. Yet, many companies don’t have a social media strategy for their sales staff. Salespeople can use these platforms to build relationships with consumers, answer questions and drive sales. This should be part of your marketing plan and it needs plenty of side-by-side work from the sales and marketing team to be pulled off successfully.
Finally, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all formula to get your sales staff thinking like marketers (or vice versa). You need to experiment with what feels right, and learn and improve throughout the process. Of course, a bit of expert advice and guidance never goes amiss, which is why there are marketing experts who can help to point you in the right direction.
For more information on how to set up your digital strategy, download our guide here