Closely Aligning Sales And Marketing Pays Off In The Short Term
The days of marketing doing its thing and sales doing what it wants is quickly coming to an end. The best companies are realizing the massive inefficiencies associated with separate sales and marketing efforts. They’re aligning behind a single revenue goal.
This usually takes vision and leadership from the top, but if your organization still operates with divided sales and marketing teams, you can be the one who brings them together. Once marketing makes the first move toward working more closely with sales, a lot of opportunities open up.
Here are seven ways inbound marketing can make a big impact on revenue by helping marketing to work more closely with sales.
1) Add Video Into The Sales Process
I’m going to assume you have a documented sales process. If not, we should talk. But if you do, by adding video into it, you’ll be making an immediate upgrade in both message delivery and experience. Your prospects prefer to watch, then read.
An article from Psychology Today reports that according to a study by Usurv, “if you want prospects to share and interact with your content, delivering it via video is the best way to go. People are 39% more likely to share content if it’s delivered via video, 36% more likely to comment and 56% more likely to give that video a coveted 'like.'”
This article goes on to talk about video being better at seduction. Isn’t sales a seduction? Aren’t we telling an emotional, compelling and disruptive story that engages our prospects to want to hear more, to learn more and to work with us? By adding video into your sales process, you’ll see improvements in all the sales funnel conversion rates including the most important, closed new customers.
2) Upgrade Email Communications Within The Sales Process
Most salespeople use email as a necessary evil, but do they think about each of those touch points as opportunities to make emotional connections with their prospect, to tell a story and to disrupt their status quo or provide valuable insights? Probably not. In most cases, it’s about moving the ball forward and keeping the deal going.
Upgrading the functional emails your sales team is currently using, building those into your CRM so everyone has access to them, and training the sales team on when to use what emails and why is going to have a giant impact on the sales process, on your ability to close deals and on your revenue growth.
Even if you added only a few new emails or upgraded a couple of emails for the sales team, the experience for every prospect that sees those emails would likely improve. More qualified leads means more sales opportunities and more new customers. Impact to the top-line delivered!
3) Start Connecting With Customers To Participate In An Advocacy Program
Most companies are pedestrian when it comes to asking for referrals, references and customer advocacy in general. We all have the pre-packaged success stories or case studies that we roll out when prospects ask about them. But what if our best customers were incented to play a more active role in the sales process? What if they sent unsolicited emails to prospects telling them they’d be crazy to not hire you? That would be powerful, right?
By reaching out to a handful of high-quality, reference-worthy customers, you’re further cementing your relationship with them. You’re going to offer them something of value to participate. It might be extra services, discounts or even gifts and rewards. Make sure they see value in what you’re using to incent and maintain their participation.
4) Leverage Existing Content In The Sales Process
This is an easy one. You’re already creating a ton of educational content for your visitors, but I’m betting the sales team is not using any of that content in the sales process. Today, the CRM you’re using should clearly show you and the sales team what content your prospects have downloaded. You can then proactively use the rest of your assets in the sales process.
Tip guides, infographics, e-books and whitepapers are amazingly effective at telling your story, moving prospects along the sales process and contributing to a guided sales process. When we work with clients, we map all of the existing content to the sales process, so reps know what to send to whom and when. The only overriding factor is if the prospect already downloaded it during their visits to their site.
In almost every case, the amount of available content isn’t close to what the prospect downloaded on their own, arming the sales rep with a ton of valuable content to strategically sprinkle along the sales experience to differentiate, educate and help close leads faster.
5) Get Feedback From Sales On The Questions Prospects Are Asking
Keeping up with the content requirements needed to drive leads for the business is rough. What do we write about now? One of the best and easiest ways to come up with content ideas is to ask the sales reps about the questions their prospects are asking right now. By asking the sales reps to participate in the process, you’re taking an important first step. You care about their opinion. You value their experience. You’re trying to help them.
Make sure you get questions from prospects early in the sales process. These awareness stage questions are unique. Make sure you get questions from prospects in the consideration and decision-making stage, too. You’ll notice a pattern; these questions differ depending on the stage. This gives you the clues necessary to create content for each stage of the buyer journey.
6) Upgrade The Lead Nurturing Campaigns To Drive More BOFU Conversions
If you’ve been following along, you know 90% of the leads are going to be marketing-qualified leads and not ready to buy or even to speak with a sales rep. Now lead nurturing becomes critical. What you say to these folks over the next few weeks, months and in some cases years impacts whether you’ll be considered or not.
Understand your sales cycle. If it’s long, you’ll need a lead nurturing campaign timeline that matches. Keep in mind that if you’re doing general educational emails once or twice a month (and you should be doing that), this needs to be considered part of lead nurturing. Just because your campaign ends doesn’t mean the conversation ends; it just shifts to something a little less personal but equally important.
Make sure all of your automated email campaigns are impactful and powerful; don’t mail these in simply because they’re not personal emails or because they happen every month. Some people are going to be reading these for months before they finally convert and ask to speak with you. Keep the quality high and the messaging on point.
7) Apply An Analytical Perspective On Revenue Optimization
A lot of sales organizations manage mostly on expectations and most salespeople are generally optimistic individuals. This works well, until it doesn’t. I’m going to suggest a more analytical perspective on revenue generation. How many of the highest-quality opportunities do we have and how much revenue is associated with only those opportunities? What’s our revenue projection for this month?
What is our current close rate on sales opportunities? What specifically are we doing to improve that? What is our goal for the new and improved close rate on opportunities? When do we expect to hit that level of performance? These are different questions for sales management to be asking and different contributions for marketing to be adding to the discussion, but these are the right conversations and the right metrics if you want to grow revenue at your company.
If you look through these seven ideas, none of them require major investments. Even the video elements in the first idea are usually available within a company. Most of our clients have video assets, but they’re not using them. Even if you don’t have them, video is very easy to do in-house with a smartphone. Just make sure you have perfect sound, use closed captions and keep the video short.
Now that money is out of the way, it’s just about internal fortitude, desire to lead and innovation. If marketing can make a dramatic and short-term impact on top-line revenue, why not more closely align sales and marketing to drive even more significant revenue growth?
The secret to top-line revenue growth won’t be social media, blogging or any fancy website widget — it’s going to be a strategic alignment and thoughtful click-to-close experience for your prospects.
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