Aileen Barron: How to get sales and marketing working better together

By Aileen Barron, Green Acre Marketing

While marketing and sales teams have two very specific roles in terms of their day-to-day activities, when they work together, they offer something that is more real and connected with the customer and ultimately leads to better results.

All too often, this link in the chain is missed. Marketing strategy, by its nature and complexity, needs to be well thought through and structured, so that it is fully committed to the key messages and obligations of the brand.

It is well noted that your best brand ambassadors are your frontline staff. This is often your sales team. Every call or customer contact experienced by your sales team reaps information that if communicated back to marketing, is the basis for real time helpful information.

However, the problem arises when ‘marketing’ is too busy to bring this new information into the pre-scheduled campaign, and that is where many are missing out and the conflict begins.

Recognise sales and marketing teams’ individual strengths

It probably helps to recognise that according to a Harvard Business Review article back in 2006, titled Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing, outlined that, by their very nature, sales and marketing roles attract very different types of people.

It stated “marketers…are highly analytical, data oriented, and project focused. They’re all about building competitive advantage for the future. Salespeople, in contrast, spend their time talking to existing and potential customers in the moment. They’re skilled relationship builders and they want to keep moving”.

The nature of the sales function means that salespeople are able to gain first-hand knowledge of customers and their pain points – which would be difficult to gain any other way, and so marketing teams should invest time in harvesting this knowledge and use this hard data to determine what sort of information, content, or language customers and potential customers will respond to.

In my view, salespeople are the starting point for marketing teams to create comprehensive buyer personas and build the links to better target their ideal customer; thus, supporting the sales process more effectively.

The benefit of sales and marketing alignment

How marketing teams can better utilise the knowledge of the sales team and how sales teams can gain value from the marketing team is quite straightforward, but for some reason, often not given the time it deserves.

A simplistic but effective approach; marketing teams need to give their salespeople more airtime via internal communications. Have regular open conversations, get feedback on potential campaigns, ask salespeople about their recent sales process to really understand it, get feedback on the more recent comparative marketing campaign, as some examples.

By using this information, marketing teams can then create more tailored campaigns, targeting customers’ needs and wants and offering solutions to their challenges, transporting the customer through the entire buying cycle, from awareness right down to finalising the sale.

When sales and marketing teams are aligned, agri-businesses will see a significant improvement in the wider communication of their brand, better campaign measurement, improved SEO due to the correct use of industry-specific language within their communications and more relevant and creative ideas for content, among a host of other benefits.

Ultimately, agri-businesses with highly aligned sales and marketing teams experience improved efficiency, enhanced productivity, and increased revenue.

For assistance with aligning your sales and marketing communications strategy for your agri-business, contact Green Acre Marketing on: [email protected].

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