We had the honor of contributing this piece for our partners at Oracle Marketing Cloud. Read on, enjoy and explore more insights on the Modern Marketing Blog.
A sale is always preceded by a decision. And whether it’s excitement, concern, pride, or annoyance, decisions are initiated by emotions.
If closing a deal can be boiled down to making prospects feel or believe in something, then it’s clear that marketing and sales are two flavors of the same function: persuasion. (If you’re thinking “duh,” stay with me.)
All too often though, sales and marketing teams don’t act like they’re chasing the same rabbit. Some act like they’re in competition. Occasionally even leadership teams mistakenly assume marketing and sales is “either or”.
This couldn’t be further from the truth—especially when dealing with big buying groups and stretched-out sales cycles. To ensure prospects get the smoothest experience on their two-step from awareness to evaluation, and your team hits the KPIs they’re on the hook for, the marketing-sales relationship needs to be tight. Like skinny-jeans-on-Thanksgiving-tight.
Add these steps to your process to bring sales and marketing closer—and increase your win rate:
- Pick out your KPIs. Together.
When planning an account-based campaign, or any other marketing program that involves the sales team, look at what you want the outcomes to be. Do you just want to start conversations? Set meetings? How about advance deals? Or sign contracts? What would both marketing and sales teams consider a marker of success? The options are vast, so make sure you are honest about what you can mutually accomplish.
- Choose warm accounts.
A lot of times when selecting accounts to focus on, marketing leans on sales. Sometimes too much. And although it’s certainly important to get intelligence from the sales team on where prospects are in their buying journey, cold accounts should be avoided. Why? When teams choose pie-in-the-sky accounts that 1) haven’t experienced a buying event 2) are lacking awareness of the selling brand or 3) aren’t exhibiting behavior that indicates they’re in market for a solution, other problems crop up—usually boiling down to the fact that these opportunities just aren’t ready to buy.
To avoid cutting your program off at the knees, judge your targets on a set of agreed upon criteria like fit (company size and business model), intent (individual search results and surging topics), and engagement (content downloaded and consumed). There is a variety of technology tools and predictive intelligence at your disposal that can help with this.
- Talk to each other. (You know, like friends do.)
Treating each other as frenemies, like marketing and sales commonly do, hurts camaraderie. Hurts campaigns. Hurts the company. Assumptions lead to tensions, disintegrating organizational goals quicker than popsicles on hot concrete. So put an end to it. Get both teams together in one room—on a regular basis. Communicate openly about the program. Ask each other questions. What is going well? What could be better? When people are face-to-face, they tend to have more interesting conversations and empathize more readily. All it takes are a few people to lead the way.
When you blend two things, you inevitably end up with a bigger outcome. When you combine two things that make each other more valuable however, like a car and gasoline, you get a self-multiplying sum. This is the case when it comes to marketing and sales. Apart they’re important but put them together and your results will multiply. You’ll end up with more sales, more fruitful collaboration, and a more fluid customer experience. In this case, it’s clear one plus one doesn’t equal just two. Is it time you do the math?
See the original publication on Oracle Marketing Cloud’s Modern Marketing Blog.
All too often…sales and marketing teams don’t act like they’re chasing the same rabbit. Some act like they’re in competition.
About the Author
A tenured copywriter, Marly specializes in verbal strategy and brand voice development. Out of the office, she’s an incessant champion of her family’s happiness and regularly pens vignettes inspired by magical realism and nonsense literature. As she puts it, “I didn’t choose writing. It chose me.”