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Dear Sales, Love Marketing

By April 27, 2023May 22nd, 2024No Comments

When it comes to sales and marketing relationships, one thing always seems to ring true: we could work on our communication skills. 

We all come from different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. And while this can be incredibly helpful during collaboration and brainstorming efforts, it can also contribute to preconceived notions or biases between the two functions, making it difficult to work together effectively.

With that said, sales and marketing are two-sides of the same coin. We both want to contribute to the growth and success of the business. By working together as partners, we will be even more effective in our respective roles.

So, on behalf of the B2B marketing community, here are five tips we have for our sales counterparts looking to build even stronger relationships with marketing.

1. Familiarize Yourself With Our Goals, KPIs and Obstacles

Take the time to sit down with your marketing partners and understand what their immediate and long-term priorities are. Dive into what they are measuring themselves against and what obstacles they foresee. Not only will this help sales and marketing find common ground, but it will also open a dialogue that enables us to align priorities and tactics.

With shared objectives, sales and marketing have a vested interest in working together and will be much more aware of the direct impact of each other’s efforts. Ultimately this will lead to a sense of camaraderie and a really great go-to-market culture.

2. Be Open to New Ideas (And Old Ones Too!) 

The marketing landscape is constantly evolving. There may be tactics or strategies that you haven’t considered that could be highly effective in driving new business. Please be open to these new ideas and approaches… and when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask us to explain our methodology (old and new). Marketers live by running tests and measuring impact, so we most likely have done some research ahead of time. And who knows, perhaps that new messaging could triple your outbound reply rate.

By the way, just because something hasn’t worked in the past doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future. Marketing tactics can be cyclical and results may change depending on the market environment.

3. Get Chatting! 

At one of my last organizations, the head of sales and I met weekly, we had VERY honest communications, it wasn’t always pretty but we always left aligned and on the same page (James, if you’re reading this, hi, it’s Anney!). 

It’s impossible to collaborate effectively without frequent communication and a constant feedback loop. By speaking with prospects, you have a perspective that is critical to the success of marketing. We need to know:

  • Why you’re winning and, more importantly, why you’re losing deals
  • What value propositions and features seem to resonate the most, and which ones fall flat
  • When does the “wow factor” hit when giving a pitch or a demo
  • How are prospects comparing us to our competitors
  • How are market and industry dynamics changing and what impact that seems to have on our buyers

Additionally, during these conversations we can talk strategy and brainstorm new ideas. With the rise of account-based marketing, it’s more important than ever for sales and marketing to be working together to target prospects with a surround sound approach. Plus, we want to hear from you! Which of our campaigns/tactics are having the greatest impact on your pipeline and what new ideas do you have? Our most effective campaigns have always included learnings gleaned from sales. 

4. See Beyond the “Opportunity Source”

We would give you $100 if you could share a single instance where a customer was never exposed to marketing efforts prior to purchasing your solution. If a customer exists in this digital world, they have been touched by marketing somehow: whether via a website visit, an advertisement view, google search, or email received. While marketing attribution is a complex beast, trust that marketing has tapped your prospect prior to purchase.

In fact, here are some stats we absolutely love:

  • 90% of B2B customers start their journey with a search
  • 41% consume 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep
  • 90% of B2B customers research 2-7 sites before they make a purchase. 

This is why we feel a great sense of pride when a deal closes, regardless of whether the “opportunity source” was sales or marketing. After all, rising tides lift all ships. Side note: Don’t underestimate the power of a “shout out to marketing” comment or note! Those never get old and they go a LONG way.

5. Finally, R-E-S-P-E-C-T

At the end of the day, in our experiences, the key to successful collaboration between sales and marketing is mutual respect. Sales teams should respect and trust the marketing process and the long term impact it has on revenue growth, while marketing should understand and incorporate the unique perspective and insights that sales can offer. By working together with mutual respect and a shared sense of purpose, we can achieve great things (cha-ching $$$).

We hope these tips are helpful to you as you work to build stronger relationships with your marketing teams. Good luck, and happy selling!

About the Authors

Anney Lester 
 Anney is a seasoned B2B growth marketing executive with nearly two decades of experience in marketing, specializing in growth strategies, brand management, and digital marketing. She has held leadership positions at various B2B SaaS organizations, including Octaura, Sentieo, and IHS Markit (now S&P Global), where she led the execution of comprehensive, multi-channel marketing strategies and campaigns.

Elizabeth Sullivan 
Liz is a demand generation and marketing professional with nearly 10 years of experience implementing integrated multi-channel campaigns for B2B businesses. Prior to joining Discern as Vice President of Marketing, Liz held senior marketing positions at financial technology and SaaS companies including Transcend, ComplySci, and IHS Markit (now S&P Global).