A marketing executive's guide to manipulating the sales team
Manipulation, sounds mean, but let’s face it, everybody knows that Sales and Marketing just don’t get on. Recently, there’s been a lot of sanctimonious content saying that everyone needs to work together.
Even though in an ideal world you’d have Sales onside telling you:
What customers think
What materials they really need; and
Whether your leads are any use...
We also know that you don’t really want to be best buddies with them - you just want to get the results that make you look good. That’s OK.
So to help you along the road to achieving that goal, we’ve come up with some ways for you to get the sales team dancing to your tune and using your valuable marketing data.
Sales Team Manipulation Tip 1 - Get them involved in a lead scoring and definition process
One of the most common complaints that sales and marketing make about each other is:
- Marketing: You didn’t follow up on any of the leads I generated for you
- Sales: None of them were any good, so they weren’t worth following up on
You can remove this conversation in your organisation by making a joint sales and marketing plan that gets the sales team involved in a lead scoring and definition process. This will mean Sales will only get passed leads that have reached the stage where they are likely to want a sales person to engage. Follow the tips in this guide ‘Are they hot or not?’ to make sure you get it right.
Then let the sales team know that a 10% increase in lead quality translates to a 40% increase in sales productivity so it’s definitely worth them spending the time on helping you to get it right.
Sales Team Manipulation Tip 2 - Show them how your collateral can get more calls answered
Everyone knows that Sales hardly ever use the collateral that Marketing create and instead cobble together their own materials for each prospect. You need to make them understand how much easier it would be for them to get their contacts calling back if they lured them in using your great content.
For example, when you send your campaigns to your marketing lists they can follow up with those that clicked on links in the email, or went online using the PURL (personalised URL) in your DM campaign, by using related content as the reason for the call, for example:
I saw you read our feature so I thought you’d be interested in our great new case study showing how an organisation with the same problem as yours saved £3m with this product/service
As you downloaded our data sheet I’d like to send you our new eGuide to show how compliance changes will affect your job and how you can manage them effectively.
The best way to get Sales team buy-in for this is to tell them that 66% of B2B buyers credit "consistent and relevant communication provided by both the sales and marketing organizations as a key influence in choosing the company they ultimately made a purchase from".
If that doesn’t quite get the reaction you'd expect, spell it out for them - these people are interested in our content so if you call them with more you have a higher chance of making a sale, comprende? So keeping people on your marketing lists so they keep receiving content is imperative for ongoing success.
Sales Team Manipulation Tip 3 - Wow them with statistics to show them how important it is to hand leads back if they don’t convert
Even if you’ve got your fantastic lead scoring and nurturing programme in place so that leads only get passed to Sales at the pre-defined point you've all agreed on, sometimes they still won’t convert. So it’s imperative that you have a process in place whereby these people go back into the lead nurturing process and that sales de-brief you on why the conversion didn’t happen then.
Why is it so important?
Because keeping them on your active marketing lists means they’ll keep getting communications from you and they’ll stay engaged with your company. As 70% of leads will eventually make a purchase, having an up-to-date marketing list can help you make sure they buy from you and not your competitors.
Sales Team Manipulation Tip 4 - Getting them thinking about business pains rather than industry sectors
Traditionally the focus for sales has been to talk about how they’ve delivered products and services into companies in the same sector - believing that industry experience is what will get them the win. Today, though, the focus is on business pains - as whatever sector you work in you will be driven by the need to improve efficiency and cut costs while driving innovation.
So show them how the collateral you’ve created can help them talk to people in sectors you've never worked in before, as it's about solving problems we all face. Take them through the 3 levels of pain you need to speak to and then sit back with a smug smile on your face as you are proven right when your content that does just that resonates with prospects in all sectors!
Now these four steps should do the trick and make your sales team like putty in your hands. But if, after all this effort, they are still not doing what you want them to do try threats, or bribes, or alcohol, or all three. We won’t tell anyone.