Why Sales and Marketing Should Work Together

The one thing I’ve learned during my sales career is to appreciate marketers for what they do, and learn how to use it to help me work smarter. In my early years, it was all about grinding to make the most calls, and as a result, have the highest activity level. It was exhausting. What I noticed over time is that high activity level doesn't necessarily translate to more sales. There were many salespeople that worked hard, but didn't always win. At the same time, there were others that seemed to have a magic touch working no harder than anyone else - sometimes even less. Before you try to use this as an excuse to not pick up the phone, wait. That is not what I am saying. What I’m saying is that "time" is the most valuable asset for a salesperson, and you have to learn how to own it. How can you go about owning your time? It’s simple: by utilizing the work of marketing colleagues.

The spark that changed my perspective on marketing and marketers alike was a sales meeting with the Director of Marketing of the company I was working for. Before that interaction, marketing was in the ivory tower, and we (salespeople) had to do whatever was cast down - no questions asked. But after that conversation, my perspective changed forever. Here's why: the marketer took the time to tell us why they were rolling out a new strategic tool, and how it would help me sell more effectively! I very much thought to myself: wait, what you do can actually help me? It's not just a lot of fluff to prove you should have a high-paying job? Wow! This was the spark that helped me realize that marketing was not the enemy, and that if I had the right perspective and understood what they did, I could benefit tremendously from their work.

Never before had I (or anyone on my sales team) had anyone from marketing sit down and explain the "why should I care" behind what we were doing as an organization. It's funny that no one thought to sell sales. It's a simple but remarkably game-changing concept. For sales people to utilize marketing in the best way, they have to understand what marketers are good at. Marketing stereotypically is good, long-term vision with strategies in place to identifying trends that best align with the brand, product, or service. Additionally, they’re good at positioning messages to specific groups based on the opportunities that research presents. Marketing has the ability to really think through who are we as a company, and why potential customers should care. So how does that help me sell?

Marketing identifies these things called buyer personas, the people that are your target customers, and what their motivation is to buy. Salespeople should say, "These are the types of people that I should go after because they have the highest probability of closing (aka: low hanging fruit). Instead of spinning my wheels and talking to everyone about my product, marketing will help me decide who has the most promise in potentially closing." Marketing says this is the messaging that we should use for these types of prospects. Salespeople should say, "These are the features and benefits that I should focus on with the different types of prospects that I talk with."

Everyone doesn't care about every feature or benefit of your product. You just need to find the right set of them to talk about to close the business. Good salespeople know that using a stock pitch for every prospect you meet with is not the way to go: in fact, this is a perfect setup for having an entire sales call where nothing you say resonates. You have to know why the prospect needs/wants your product, and let that inform the pitch. If salespeople learn how to build good relationships with their marketing colleagues, they can get some great material that will not only help them be more strategic, but will allow them to be more effective at closing business.

Jeff Davis | Vice President of Business Development, SHIFT & Founder, SMA Summit

Jeff Davis