I had an epiphany talking to Rob Clarke, co-founder of Strala, at Martech West in early April. His company created a turnkey platform that allows you to standardize UTM parameters to track all your online and offline marketing outreach. He told me that marketers like to ask 3 questions: who, what and when. So let’s start there when talking about how to align sales and marketing.
Marketing focuses on Who, What, and When
- Who are they?
- What did they do throughout their buying journey?
- When did they do it?
If you have a standard tracking system that is integrated to your marketing automation, CRM, POS (point of sales), eCommerce and other platforms, you can see a series of actions that prospects go through their journeys. With all the information in one place, hopefully, you get some insights to determine the next steps to nurture and drive better conversions. If you tie that information to your budget, you can see which marketing channels perform better and adjust your marketing budget accordingly.
My conversation with Rob prompted me to think about what salespeople would like to know when they talk to prospects. Are the questions the same like marketer’s who, what, and when or something different?
Sales focus on Why and How Much, in addition to Who, What, and When
Working with sales for a long time, I realize they like to understand Why, How much, and when?
- Why did they come to us? Why are they interested in us?
- How much budget do they have?
- When will they likely buy?
Of course, asking who and what is also important, but these answers to these questions may be more in-depth than marketing want to know.
- Who are they?
- What challenges do they have?
- Which of our offerings can solve their challenges?
- What else can we do to help them?
If you think about it, even if sales and marketing are talking to the same prospects, the way they communicate and the information they gather are fundamentally different. Obviously, one focuses on the top of the purchase funnel, while the other focuses on the bottom of the funnel. One emphasizes on awareness-building, while the other is all about how to move prospects to different sales stages to close deals.
So, understanding the types of questions that sales asks will dictate how you support your sales team.
You can’t take the marketing content and just dump it on the sales side and expect them to use it. Why? Because they ask different questions. If you work on ABM, don’t expect that the copy you use for mass marketing outreach will necessarily apply to the sales side. You have to consider the accounts’ needs and the questions that sales want to address.
In previous episodes I talked about, in order to support sales as marketers, you need to understand how sales think and work. One of the key ways is to know the types of questions they ask at different stages. That piece of intelligence will help you determine your sales support approach and the content you can recommend for the sales processes.
If you have any questions, and want to learn more about how to align sales and marketing, you know where to reach me. Just google Pam Didner.
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Keep hustling, my friends. You got this.