The ultimate goal of your marketing team is (or at least should be) to help generate more qualified leads for the sales team and to help them close more deals. But the truth is, sometimes marketing can ruin your relationship with a prospect long before the sales team ever gets a chance to speak with them. Here’s what you need to know.
We all know that Marketing and Sales work a different side to the same coin. Marketing generates leads and funnels them to Sales, and Sales actively sells to those leads to turn them into customers. The goal of both departments, ultimately, is to create revenue by facilitating sales.
Marketing puts a lot of work into generating leads by creating content in various forms, whether it be blog posts or whitepapers or webinars, emails, and more. But sometimes, these efforts on the part of Marketing can inadvertently cause more harm than good. Here are three common ways that Marketing might be derailing your efforts without even realizing it.
1. Disrupting the Sales Process by Sending Out Irrelevant Emails
The Problem: Some common advice that salespeople follow is to “shut up and stop talking” once they have an active buyer. Basically, the thinking is that if you’ve already gotten a prospect close to saying “Yes” then you don’t want to get in their way with too much outreach, follow up, or aggressive sales tactics.
But the truth is, whether or not you are actively pursuing a hot lead—or even if you’re close to closing them—your marketing team is likely still in contact with them. Marketing sends out mass emails to the leads in their database as a regular part of business, and if they don’t know or don’t realize that certain leads are actively working with the sales team, then these emails can be a problem. They can cause hesitation on the part of the buyer who thinks they are being pursued too much; they can even stall or kill a deal.
The Solution: This one’s all on you. If you are pursuing a hot lead and have them close to a sale, then you need to make sure that Marketing knows so that they at least temporarily pause communications with said lead. You can do this by simply keeping your CRM up to date with current information and changing the status of leads.
2. Hurting Credibility with Content That Misses the Mark
The Problem: Because your marketing team may or may not directly interact with customers as often as the sales team does, Marketing might not be speaking the same language as your buyers do. This creates a disconnect between the sales team and the prospects who are visiting your site.
Even worse, the content that Marketing creates might not speak to the pain points that buyers are really feeling, making the content ineffective. If Marketing believes that they understand the buyer but really don’t, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of headaches (especially when bad leads are funneled your way).
The Solution: You need to make sure that your marketing team truly understands the buyers that your sales team regularly interacts with. By inviting them to join sales calls and meetings, taking them into the field to meet with current customers, and sharing information about active deals (what motivated the buyers to buy, what didn’t, and what situation led them to search for a deal) you’ll help Marketing get a deeper understanding of the market that you serve.
This allows Marketing to tailor their content to the issues that buyers truly care about. And this, in turn, means that the content created will attract more of your ideal buyers, narrowing the top of the funnel a bit so that unqualified leads don’t make it to Sales.
3. Failing to Provide Enough Context About Where a Prospect is in Their Buying Cycle
The Problem: As a salesperson, you don’t want to follow up with a lead who requested a consultation in the same way that you might follow up with someone who just downloaded an ebook: These people are at different stages in their buying cycle, and require different kinds of outreach. But if Marketing doesn’t tell you where a lead is in the buyer’s journey, then you aren’t able to tailor your outreach efforts in a way that will make you more effective.
Can you easily see what content the prospect viewed, what they requested, and how they interacted with your site? If not, you’re sort of selling blind.
The Solution: Again, resolving this issue will mean bringing Sales and Marketing together so that both teams can discuss what constitutes a high-quality lead. This way, when Marketing passes leads over to Sales, they can inform the sales team as to where the lead is in the buying process. Sales can also partner with Marketing to develop good follow-up templates and resources so that both teams are more effective in their outreach.
And, of course, it pays for Sales to be kept abreast of any current or upcoming marketing campaigns and initiatives, since this may impact the kind of buyer drawn to the site (and passed along to Sales as a lead).
Don’t play the Blame Game
One thing that you’ll notice in all of these points is that none of the issues is explicitly the fault of your marketing team. The problems aren’t with Marketing, or with Sales, but with the lack of communication between the two departments.
By communicating effectively—letting the marketing team know when you are actively pursuing a lead; creating an open dialogue about which content is working and which content isn’t; identifying what constitutes a high-quality lead—you can create an environment where the efforts of both your sales and marketing teams complement each other instead of hindering each other.