I worry every time I meet with a potential client that B2B marketing won't move the needle because of a gulf between Sales and Marketing. Here's what I do about it.
Have you ever found that B2B marketing tools developed in coordination with Sales -- and tested with the target audience -- are never really embraced by Sales? I sure have. And what a collosal waste of time, money, and opportunity.
So I was psyched when a company came and asked us to address that. Looking to minimize the divide, a client asked us to look into its current sales process. The client’s overall goal was to empower its growing sales team to close more and larger deals while saving time on sales communications with individual prospects.
Our approach began by making the marketing message an integral part of the company’s B2B sales tools and practices. Having an approved sales message:
- Enabled new sales staff to ramp up and generate revenue more quickly.
- Ensured that the marketing messaging and the direct sales communications were in harmony.
- Guaranteed that content a prospect would find on the company website dovetailed with what the individual salesperson said.
- Ensured that each sales representative hit the same key points.
Next we talked one-on-one with the senior sales staff, asking about their current approach and needs. We collaborated with sales to build additional tools, including:
- Guidelines for the sales process
- Checklists for discussions with prospects
- Tips on assembling collateral for follow-up
- Email attachments designed to fit in with specific types of communication
- A new sales elevator statement
- Templates the sales team could customize, including content for slides, text for emails, text for sales letters, and a cold-call script
Sales tools generate results in the field
A month later, the sales staff was using all of the marketing tools and sales templates in the field. And, they were:
- Selling the entire solution
- Getting less resistance on price, and
- Hearing fewer references to the competition
In the meantime, on the marketing front, we overhauled the company website, developed customer success stories, generated media coverage, and more in order to help drive qualified leads and provide proof points that the sales team can use during the sales cycle.
A brighter outlook
There have been other benefits. Because of the complexity of the company’s offerings, it used to take an average of four weeks for new sales reps to start making coherent cold calls, and two months before they could deliver a compelling sales presentation. And even veteran reps took about one workweek to send follow up communications after a sales call or meeting.
Now, with the B2B sales tools in hand, a new sales rep can:
- Be phone-ready in three days
- Make cold calls after only a week
- Lead a sales presentation after only two weeks.
- Generate professional, customized communications in 10 minutes or less -- whether it’s a first contact or a follow-up