What Your Sales Team Wants From Your Marketers

by:
on October 13, 2017

Let’s face it—businesses are sometimes awful at communication, especially within their own ranks.

For departments that should be working closely together in order to drive business, such as sales teams and marketing teams, this lack of communication can be disastrous.

Businesses create more leads, close more deals and make more profit when their sales and marketing teams are closely aligned and communicating regularly.

In order to find out just how important this alignment can be, we commissioned a survey of salespeople working at companies with separate sales and marketing departments.

From their responses, we learned some key points about what sales teams want from marketing teams in order to generate greater business and profits, and we want to use what we’ve learned to help you have an easier time aligning sales and marketing at your own business.

Our survey results showed that salespeople recognize the high value of the marketing teams’ input and materials, as well as the leads they generate, but that they could better utilize sales enablement software in order to aid in the two teams’ exchange of information.

1. Marketing Leads Are Strong Leads

Sales teams are notoriously independent, competitive and driven by a desire to actively close deals rather than sit through meetings. We’ve previously written about how sometimes salespeople need to be convinced that a new technique or updated piece of software or technology can help make them more money in the long run.

It was somewhat surprising, then, to learn that the respondents to our survey highly value the work and input of their marketing colleagues.

For example, when asked to describe the quality of sales leads garnered from their organization’s marketing efforts, 60% of respondents said they were “good” while another 11% said they were “excellent.”

Quality of Sales Leads Generated By Marketing
sales quality marketing

However, when asked about the biggest challenges that they face when collaborating with the marketing department, some of our respondents noted that they often need to narrow down the leads generated by marketing, in order to find the ones that work for their specific sales process.

According to one respondent, “Sometimes [the marketing team] disregards sales data (such as return on generated leads, i.e., how many potential customers drawn by marketing actually make purchases) as long as marketing figures are good.

They do not always think to take into consideration that generating sales is as important as generating leads, so they might be reluctant to modify a marketing scheme that works for them even if it negatively impacts sales.”

Although marketing teams generally seem to generate strong leads for sales teams, they need to be more selective about what specific leads to pass on.

They can do this by becoming more aware of the sales team’s specific needs, goals and best practices, something that can be helped with sales enablement tools (which we’ll discuss later on in this report).

2. Sales and Marketing Leaders Should Meet Regularly

One of the best ways to ensure proper communication within your business is to arrange regular, mandatory meetings. This can range from monthly team meetings to weekly (and even daily) one-on-ones between managers and their direct reports. However, sometimes it’s easy to forget that individual teams can get great value out of regular interdepartmental meetings, as well.

According to our respondents, in most companies there’s a good amount of interdepartmental collaboration, as evidenced by the fact that the leaders of the sales and marketing departments meet regularly. Over half (56%) of team leaders meet at least once a week, nearly a quarter (23%) meet at least once a month and another 14% meet at least once a day!

Regularity of Meetings Between Sales and Marketing Team Leaders
sales marketing meetings

In part because of these meetings, the majority of our respondents feel that the messages and goals of their marketing and sales department properly align. For sales and marketing departments to properly align, there needs to be open communication and open access between the two teams.

Alignment refers to both marketing professionals and salespeople presenting the same message.

While the marketing team works hard to present specific, branded company stories in its public-facing materials, all of that work can be undermined if the sales team presents its own, conflicting narrative about the company and its values. When properly aligned, both teams present the same, consistent message that is productive and useful for each of their purposes.

When asked about alignment within their own company, 18% of respondents felt “very confident” in this alignment while 60% of respondents felt “moderately confident.”

This leaves only about a fifth of respondents feeling “minimally” or “not at all” confident in sales and marketing alignment—around the same amount of respondents whose team leaders met less than once a week.

Salespeople’s Confidence That Marketing and Sales Are Aligned

confidence marketing sales

Although clearly most businesses find value in sales and marketing team leaders meeting regularly, you should also consider holding regular meetings between both teams in their entirety. Several respondents noted that direct communication with their marketing colleagues, without going through management first, could be very helpful.

As one person explained, “If the marketing teams push out something that we do not know about and a customer comes to us about something the marketing team did, it looks bad on me and the organization. The fact that we can only communicate to the marketing team through our manager can at times make our job difficult.”

3. Sales Teams Need Full Access To Marketing Materials

In addition to regular meetings and solid communication, what sales teams most need from their colleagues in marketing is access to the marketing materials that they use.

It’s clear from our survey results that salespeople have a use for the kinds of materials that the marketing team can provide. Over half of our respondents regularly consult their organization’s marketing materials (14% consult them “very often” and 42% consult them “often”), with a further third (32%) consulting them “sometimes.”

Regularity of Sales Teams Consulting Marketing Materials
sales consulting marketing

What aids this large amount of consultation is free, unfettered access to that material. The vast majority—over 90%—of our respondents have some sort of access to their organization’s marketing materials. Over half (51%) have full access while another 40% have restricted access.

Sales Teams’ Access to Marketing Materials
sales access to marketing

Clearly, these data points show the importance of sales teams’ access to marketing materials. Indeed, many respondents complained that their biggest collaborative challenge revolved around such issues as “access to material” and “getting updated materials.”

One respondents who was having trouble aligning with their marketing team specifically noted the importance of access to materials in order to understand and fix what’s gone wrong: “The biggest challenge we face is making sure the marketing material aligns with what we are saying verbally to customers as sometimes there are errors and discrepancies.”

If your sales team doesn’t have access to all of the available marketing materials, then you’re definitely behind the curve.

Fortunately, there are numerous software tools available to help you ensure that the most up-to-date marketing materials are accessible to your sales team.

4. Too Few Sales Teams Utilize Sales Enablement Tools

See if you can find the common theme amongst the following responses to our question about the greatest challenges that sales teams face when collaborating with marketing departments:

  • It’s difficult to implement a consistent process that works well with every team’s work styles. And if teams are using different tools, the difficulty increases.
  • Our software doesn’t integrate well with theirs.
  • Our department needs a more efficient software to share information and complete marketing campaigns.
  • We need a more efficient tool to gather all the information in order to complete projects faster.

The problem faced by all of these respondents comes down to one thing—software. Each of the above complaints revolves around the two different teams using different tools that simply don’t integrate well with one another, if at all.

The reason for this problem might be found in the answer to our question, “What tool(s) does your sales department use to help keep sales pitches consistent with the marketing department’s branded messaging?” Only 16% of respondents use marketing software, while even fewer (11%) use CRM software, and less than a tenth (8%) use sales enablement software.

Tools Used to Align Sales and Marketing
align sales marketing

As you can see, the most popular tools, each used by around a quarter of respondents, are email (including the Gmail suite) and spreadsheets (including Excel), but neither of these tools are specialized enough to make sure that accurate, updated marketing materials are consistently available to sales teams.

Sales enablement software, on the other hand, is specifically designed for this purpose. As we define them, “Sales enablement tools help sales teams keep abreast of best practices and marketing messages that will help them to refine and deliver their sales pitches in a manner that will convert more leads, close more deals and drive business growth.”

Sales enablement in Fision‘s asset management library 

Since these tools are the best way of aligning sales and marketing teams, it’s shocking that less than 10% of sales teams use them regularly. Purchasing and implementing sales enablement software to keep your sales and marketing departments aligned will help you stay ahead of your competitors, and consistently deliver to your sales team the marketing materials that they want to help them drive your business.

These are the kinds of useful ways that sales enablement software will help keep your departments aligned:

  • An asset database will allow sales team members to access marketing materials and implement them as a part of their sales process. It can also serve as a repository for sales team best practice guidelines.
  • Sales performance management tools will allow you to monitor the success and failure rates of your sales team in order to recognize what your best practices should be, and to see how the sales team is actually utilizing marketing/branded material.
  • Email tracking and outbound call tracking let sales and marketing team members and managers monitor email and telephone exchanges in order to oversee and maintain messaging consistency.
  • Sales training tools can be used to onboard new trainees and to coach existing employees in the sales team’s best practices.

Next Steps

Now that you know how important it is to make sure your sales and marketing teams are better aligned, you may want to check out how sales enablement software can help you accomplish this goal. For help choosing what that software should be, here are some steps you can take to narrow down your options and get more information:

  • Email me at andrewfriedenthal@softwareadvice.com for more information. I’m happy to help you figure out what your own sales, marketing and/or sales enablement software needs might be and to connect you to one of our expert software advisors for a free, no-obligation consultation!

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