Communication Bridging the Sales / Marketing Disconnect

Last summer at the Boston IDG Enterprise Engage event, the tech marketing attendees and I all cringed as the following demand gen story was shared. During our panel of CIOs, one participant recalled a time when he had downloaded a vendor white paper and a few days later received a sales call. The sales executive asked, “what did you think of the white paper you downloaded?” The person was honest and explained that he had not had time to read it yet, and to learn more about the white paper asked the sales executive, “what did you think of the white paper?” Surprisingly, or not, the sales executive shared that they too had not read the white paper and the call quickly wrapped up.

This was a perfect example of a common disconnect between sales and marketing. Sales and marketing alignment is a topic that often comes up in conversations and there are numerous recommendations online calling for better communication and metrics. That’s nice as long as there is action behind the theories.

It is imperative that sales and marketing communicate on what is being shared externally. But at the end of the day, the onus is on the sales team to stay educated and aware of what assets customers and prospects have access to.

Tech buyers are savvy, and want an omni-channel experience. Seventy-one percent of tech decision-makers notice and appreciate a consistent experience when interacting with a brand. That experience, particularly during the self-educating phase, is built by the marketing team. The sales team can hit it out of the park, by spending time with these market insights and using the packaged market intelligence to have thoughtful interactions with customers and leads. This extra time will pay-off, as 51% tech decision-makers are more likely to make a purchase from a sales representative that is highly knowledgeable and able to answer questions promptly.

With communication being a key success factor, I wanted to share the communication strategies the IDG Enterprise sales and marketing team use:

  1. Daily/Ongoing Tracking: We have adopted a deeper focus on tracking sales engagement with our highly valued customers, which provides transparency to all internal parties including management, sales operations, marketing and sales colleagues. Our sales team adds detailed call reports into our CRM, outlining what transpired during a meeting, follow-up required and a required section to check off whether or not the engagement was with an inbound lead. Now that we are tracking this engagement, there is more awareness of inbound leads.
  2. Weekly communications: We want our sales executives to be experts, and to do that they need to spend time with market insights. To help make that process as easy as possible, our marketing team produces a weekly recap email of all of the new tools and resources. Additionally, the top assets, from product launches to market research and events, are discussed in-depth on a conference call to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  3. Quarterly feedback sessions: Feedback helps both teams be the most productive. Sales needs to give feedback on what assets are providing the best lead conversations as well as close the loop when a sale is made. Our sales and marketing teams come together quarterly to discuss what is working and what is needed, from templates, to using a tool better. This open conversation keeps the teams on the same path.
  4. Annual face to face meetings: Sometimes you just can’t beat in-person conversations. Each year we get together to share wins, role play and simply build relationships that open the door for dialogue throughout the year.

Success requires people to take a moment, or many moments, to educate themselves on market changes, how we are positioning solutions, and what is working best. As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. The sales team needs to use the available tools to be the knowledgeable face of the company.

Do you need help to better align your sales and marketing teams, or your alliance partners? We can help through a variety of sales enablement solutions.

Source: 2016 IDG Enterprise Customer Engagement Research


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2016 Customer Engagement Research
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