We have all heard the rhetoric. If these marketing guys had a target on their backs they would understand what pressure was really like!
The sales team are just lazy. They never follow up on our sales leads (goal dust). Or if they do it’s 2 weeks later when the leads have gone cold.
If only our marketing department understood the product we might see some decent brochures, some decent web site copy, some real leads.
And so it goes on. A disconnection occurs. It seems they are on different sides never capable of seeing each others point of view.
This lack of alignment is offensive and so unnecessary. The methodology to break the back of this involves being clear on your big compelling story of why you exist, the reason you are in business. Out of my 73 posts, 8 have covered Positioning. Use the categories section to review those posts and discover some of the ways of nailing that story.
Only once that positioning is clear can your marketing and sales scripts be crafted with alignment. First the marketing narrative.
- Identify the Persona that represent the likely user of your product and tell their story. Make it feel like you are directly talking to their world.
- Create Business Results Sheets that translate the story into specific results you can achieve for customers. Separate sheet for each product.
- These sheets should spell out great hooks for your sales teams including:
- Symptoms in your customer’s business that indicate your solution would be effective.
- To ensure the significance of these symptoms are appreciated by the customer we need to articulate the consequences of these symptoms. e.g. so what if our monitoring software doesn’t record every web site change – consequence – heavy fines, disciplinary hearings, lost personal data.
- Web sites should articulate through video, white papers, case studies one very important thing – how customers USE your product or service. e.g. as a dedicated direct sales person visiting consumers in their home you will appreciate the convenience and speed of converting you cell phone into a Point of Sale machine.
- All collateral should hammer home these messages again and again. Building them into boiler plates (About section) on every PR release, external communication.
- Marketing campaigns are now able to target these personas with stories that resonate and products they would use. Scary isn’t it.
- Also because of their deep knowledge of the market the marketing team will produce excellent competitor cheat sheets highlighting why you are unique.
Now you can build out really compelling sales scripts.
- Really fine tune those conversational opening discussions with your prospects using issues you know should keep them up at night.
Hopefully sales leads will be of a much higher quality using strong marketing campaigns to (partially at least) self select prospects with real pain.
- Strong Engagement Strategies (one page strategy summaries per key client) can be crafted because your marketing department have researched some insightful issues that effect that persona in that type of industry.
No guarantees clearly that every suspect gets it but at least your sales scripts are aligned with your Big Story and your marketing narrative. You sound authentic and natural.
- As you really dig further using diagnostic questions, you will find that your supporting Business Results Sheets and web sites and blogs have been written to support these conversations.
- You will no longer be ashamed to send strange, marketese waffle as collateral to try to support your case. You will be able to highlight live on the phone, diagrams, pdfs, videos that confirm and support your message.
- As you clarify just how the customer will use your solution to solve the issue and the results that can achieved, again you will lean heavily on marketing collateral to demonstrate just how IBM, Oracle, Defense Department etc achieved great value using your product.
- And if necessary when asked about those pesky competitors you will be able to explain that whilst those companies are excellent they are solving different problems to those present in the prospect. You will do this using those excellent cheat sheets produced by your buddies in marketing.
Hope that helps.
Great post Ian. I always tell clients: Marketing’s job is to create POTENTIAL customers and Sales’ job is to create PAYING customers. If Marketing is doing its job, then mostly qualified leads get sent to Sales. If Sales is doing its job, then they convert qualified leads into cash!
Have you ever seen a company where the compensation plan for sales and the compensation plan for marketing was the same plan? How about sales and manufacturing? Align their interests and they might work as a team.
A typical flaw is that marketing breaks down by product category while sales breaks down by channel. The marketing guy may be measured by market share (% rather than $), while the sales force could care less as long as they max their compensation.
You have me thinking.