As a B2B marketer supporting sales in the past 15 years, I’ve tried various ways to help direct and indirect salesforce. I often tell my clients to ask their sales teams to uncover their needs. Then, prioritize their support based on what they can do with their budget and resource.
Here are some common suggestions to consider in supporting your sales team:
- Help educate new salespeople on select content they could utilize
- Understand marketing’s demand generation outreach
- Leverage the marketing customer database before contacting target prospects
Educate new salespeople on select content they can utilize
Content is something that sales can use as an opening conversation with prospects.
Rather than sharing a massive content list with sales, I’d recommend marketing to do the following:
- Map content based on sales needs
- Source sales-centric content from the management library
We all tag marketing content based on the purpose of marketing communications. When you support sales, you need to evaluate content based on sales needs. Bear in mind: sales won’t have time to review and understand classification categories. It’s essential to classify content based on how sales will search. Pare down categories, focus on keywords, and beef up content descriptions so that it’s easy for sales to search.
Source sales-centric content management library:
Having a nice master file or Sharepoint folder is a good starting point. In the long run, I’d recommend uploading content to a sales-centric library with an easy UX for sales to inquire and search the content database.
The key is to make it simple for them. That, of course, comes with a price. Most sales content management libraries are not cheap, but many marketers think it’s completely worth it once they get relevant content into the platform and sales are trained to use the services.
Another benefit of using a content management library is that you have a dashboard to track things like:
- Which keywords are used most often?
- Who uses them?
- Who downloads what?
- Which categories are used for search?
- Who hasn’t used the library and why?
- When should content be updated?
- Which formats are downloaded most often?
- And more…
You need to determine a process with an appropriate tool so sales can find content quickly.
Understand marketing’s demand generation outreach.
Many marketers can track the demand generation effort from sources of marketing channels and campaigns to MQLs. It’s essential to help them understand the whole MQL process so that they can provide feedback from the lead qualification perspective.
Marketers often hear complaints from sales about the quality of leads. Get feedback from sales and address the issues together.
Leverage your marketing customer database before contacting target prospects.
Based on my experience working with clients, I don’t think marketers (me included) leverage their marketing automation database well. I started to review my subscriber list and segment them based on company industry, job titles, and content consumption history. Using the insights to uncover prospects and craft my own ABM outreach.
Many marketers also use data enrichment to help them gauge prospects’ intent and interests. Spending time to understand your data to optimize demand gen is critical in modern demand generation efforts.
Frequent communication alongside an established collaboration process is the key to success.
When I worked with my sales team, I often attended sales huddle calls (Yes, you must attend sales huddle calls). Listening to these calls lets you know what is happening, their challenges, and what deals are won or lost. The more you know, the more you can connect different dots and identify opportunities to help sales.
Working with sales, I created a communication cadence in weekly, monthly, and quarterly increments.
- Weekly: attend the weekly sales huddle, and send out a weekly newsletter
- Monthly: monthly updates to the CMO and VP of Sales, and send out “monthly update” as one of the weekly newsletters
- Quarterly: publish quarterly reports as part of the newsletter, and add a dashboard or new announcements to be part of the corporate townhall or quarterly update meeting
There are many ways to support sales. Talk to your team to understand where the gaps are. The next step is to evaluate what you can do to help them.
Of course, I know that even the most straightforward processes have nuanced stumbling blocks; if you’d like to get more in-depth, I’m just an email away, so don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
In the meantime, I wish you all the success as you work to align marketing and sales better!
You’ve got this!