As a marketer who previously worked as an inside sales rep, I have some personal insight into why friction can develop between these two departments. I only needed to type “why Sales h-” into Google and the first autofill suggestion was “why sales hates marketing.” The web is brimming with literature on the subject. But I’ve seen firsthand that when Sales and Marketing work in tandem, they can unclog a pipeline faster than a bottle of Liquid Plumber. So let’s look at five things that marketers need to understand about inside sales, and how this knowledge can help accelerate revenue.
Marketing spends hours creating pretty, well-researched collateral that they assume will enable sales reps to close myriad deals. Often, such marketing materials get sent to a drop folder and agents aren’t even alerted to their existence. An American Marketing Association study reports that 90% of marketing deliverables are not used by Sales. A CMO Council report goes even further, stating that sales reps find 90% of marketing collateral “useless.” If collateral isn’t being utilized, it’s just an exercise in futility and a waste of budget. Marketing needs to do a better job of understanding real-world sticking points for sales reps. By listening to sales calls or by frequently communicating with sales managers, and adopting a formalized process for collateral hand-off, marketers can create collateral that will actually be utilized.
Never assume that an agent has any insight into what triggered a phone lead. Even when marketing is privy to source data, it is rarely shared with sales, and is in fact something that few heads of sales would even think to ask for. To deliver sales intelligence data like campaign source in real-time and offer reps the opportunity to anticipate needs before answering a call, you need to use a product like RingDNA.
If you don’t have this luxury, then you should, at the very least, conduct regular meetings with sales to ensure that sales teams are aware of the various efforts and promotions Marketing is using to drive calls. You should also ask Sales which efforts seem to be generating the highest volume of successful calls.
Marketers want to get credit for which efforts drive revenue, but this often requires Sales to spend their valuable time manually associating a campaign with a contact record in a CRM. Even if sales agents understand the value in associating calls with marketing efforts, it’s very difficult to get it done consistently across an entire sales team.
Marketers tend to view efforts in terms of broad campaigns. We see each ad campaign as a battle in a larger war. But quite often, sales reps do not think in these terms, because they have no reason to. When I was in sales, I saw every call as more like a street fight. I was either going to win a deal and move closer to quota, or I was going to lose a deal and not. I didn’t really care where a lead came from. The only thing that was important was whether or not the deal closed. Most sales reps don’t understand the benefit of associating phone leads with CRM campaigns, and view any time spent logging activities as a waste of time that could be spent closing more deals.
Here at RingDNA, we agree that manually logging activities is a waste of time. When creating RingDNA, we wanted to make it easy for sales to associate calls with campaigns automatically. RingDNA seamlessly associates calls with campaign data in Salesforce.com without any action by the rep, enabling marketing to benefit by seeing campaign ROI in real time.
Even though marketing qualified leads can help sales reps hit quota, far too often these leads end up falling through the cracks. In fact, a Marketing Sherpa’s 2011 B2B Benchmark report found that 80% of marketing qualified leads are not being contacted by sales reps. This doesn’t mean that sales reps don’t trust marketing’s qualification criteria so much as it proves that there needs to be firmly established processes for handing leads off to Sales. Since studies have shown that it is not only crucial to follow up with leads, but to do so quickly, lead hand-off is an area that demands Sales and Marketing alignment. CRM solutions, especially when combined with Marketing Automation platforms, can help automate lead hand-off, enabling reps to convert more leads into customers.
The same Marketing Sherpa B2B Benchmark Report states that 73% of marketing teams have no re-engagement process following a sales call. Especially in the world of B2B, it’s vital to understand that a “no” doesn’t mean “never,” it only means “not now.” Marketing can do their darndest to determine when leads are ready for Sales, but some leads will always require additional nurturing. It’s not just sales’ job to do this. Marketing needs to take responsibility, preferably through some marketing automation logic that attempts to keep leads warm by hitting them with targeted content that can reengage them over time.