Sales and marketing don’t have to be at odds with one another. Columnist Steve Olenski discusses what marketing teams can learn from sales to benefit the whole organization.
In many organizations, the line between sales and marketing staff is solidly drawn. Marketing teams take care of getting the word out about a business’ products or services, while sales teams pitch customers directly. Inbound marketers are often seen as farmers, while their outbound counterparts in sales are seen as hunters.
Though these two groups have traditionally been kept apart, each of these groups can learn from the others.
Sales teams can benefit from the top lead-generation tools to ensure they’re contacting leads who are most likely to convert. Marketing teams can learn from the daily drive that sales teams have to perform.
Here are a few lessons marketers can take from sales as they strive to be more successful.
1. Re-evaluate Goals
Marketing teams generally operate using goals, while sales teams are held to quotas. The difference is in the accountability team members have in reaching their numbers each month.
A goal in this context is usually something team members hope to achieve, but if they fail, they simply start again the next month.
With a quota, however, each team member is expected to produce a certain level of results each month. If someone fails, the team can then determine if the quota is achievable. If it is, the team member may be required to answer why those numbers weren’t met.
For a new social media campaign, a goal might be to build a Twitter following and earn more retweets. With quotas, each team member will be responsible for bringing in a certain number of followers and retweets each month.
Having a required minimum will drive teams to work harder than they would if they merely had a vague goal.
2. Leverage Development Representatives
At the entry level, marketing development representatives (MDRs) and sales development representatives (SDRs) are very similar. They each are responsible for locating viable leads and passing them on to the sales and marketing teams.
Because of the similarities in the work they do, it is fairly common for each group to pass leads back and forth.
When these two groups work closely together, the entire organization benefits. MDRs can often learn from the lead-generation efforts of SDRs, who tend to aggressively pursue high-quality leads on a regular basis.
3. Network Aggressively
While marketing teams network on an industrywide level, through conferences and local sponsorships, sales teams are more likely to network on a one-on-one basis. Often they’ll belong to in-person and online groups that keep them plugged into areas where they’ll easily be able to make new connections.
Online, sales teams rely heavily on tools like LinkedIn for making connections. They can quickly identify a familiar face at a company and get a foot in the door before even attempting to contact that business.
Marketing teams can leverage LinkedIn in similar ways by building a network on the site. Once that network is in place, a sales professional can use the site for content sharing and cross-promotional opportunities.
4. Adopt Outbound Email Tactics
To achieve the one-on-one communication enjoyed by their sales team members, marketing professionals can leverage outbound email. However, it’s important to first determine if each marketing contact is a good fit before reaching out, just as sales professionals do.
According to a small business study, 38 percent of businesses plan on spending more in this area in the coming 12 months.
With so many tech tools now available, marketers can easily access the information they need to be effective in their email marketing efforts. There are three major options:
- Do-It-Yourself — If you want to do a better job of leveraging your existing database, there are several tools that can help. Solutions like Yesware and Outreach can track your emails and help you conduct more intelligent marketing campaigns.
- Managed Email Solution — If your team does not have the time, resources or expertise to manage an outbound email campaign, a service like LeadGenius can do it for you. LeadGenius finds companies customized, high-quality leads but also manages first-touch outbound sales and marketing campaigns using its own email tool. This way, you control your campaigns without having to do the heavy lifting.
By watching the way sales teams operate, marketing professionals can more effectively reach customers and get their messages across. Marketing teams can combine tech tools with their own talents to launch highly productive campaigns and connect directly with customers.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)