March 13, 2020
How To Integrate Your Sales Team Into Your Messaging Strategy
Too many times the sales team is left clueless as to key messaging by a company’s marketing and social media organizations. It’s truly one of the biggest mistakes a company can make.
As a marketing partner of multiple companies, one of the first questions we ask when building a new relationship is, “How aligned are you with your sales team?” At almost every meeting with a marketing leader we ask, “How are sales going?”. If your agency partner doesn’t ask these kinds of questions, perhaps you should look for a new agency. Your agency partner should be the catalyst for properly aligning your messaging with your sales organization. Here’s why.
We never want a client’s sales representative entering a discussion with a prospect by saying, “Hey, just wondering if you are interested in buying X?”. It’s the worst intro possible. Smart alignment with the marketing team’s message should result in a conversation more like, “We’re focused on a new way to address ______, and there’s a good chance that what we offer can eliminate that problem for you.” We’ve got three key steps in sparking a different discussion that can dramatically increase your close rate on new sales prospects:
- Key Insights Are Vitally Important. Find Them. Share Them with Sales.
The number one thing a client expects of his or her supplier is expertise for fixing their problem or challenge. They don’t need a supplier who calls to say, “Do you want to buy some X today?”. Market insights affecting a client’s business are vital to a winning sales proposition. Marketing team members should hold frequent conversations with their sales team to ascertain key issues impacting their market, develop research-based insights and create content that is first shared with sales team members before pushing out as e-blasts to targets, driven by advertising and shared via social media. Too frequently the sales team is absolutely clueless as to what their company is openly saying in the marketplace. Share what you are going to say in marketing first with your sales team.
- Be Strategic with Your Messaging. Build A Sharable Calendar.
Most every company now has some form of share site. It’s a central repository of sales materials, images, infographics, product information and content. Share site activity should be monitored by marketing and sales team leaders to assess which sales team members are going to the site to use the information.
It’s up to marketing to assure that the site contains information worth accessing and at the top of the list should be a sharable calendar. The calendar should not contain simply a list of trade show dates and conferences. It should be more than the date of a new products release or when a new ad hits a trade publication or launches on TV. At the top of the calendar you should share the dates when marketing will be pushing out with a specific message so the sales team can align that messaging with their customers! That content should be easily assessible to remote sales team members and be usable for pushing out to their customers. Rather than a lone voice in the wilderness, everyone in sales and marketing organization should be focused on the same message! The power of integrating a message is a significant achievement in the sophistication of a company.
We recommend a quarterly messaging focus as sales organizations are typically large and their preparation for a client engagement may only be quarterly. However, for sales teams that engage more frequently, a monthly calendar may be justified.
- Monitor & Analyze Results.
The true test is to enforce the alignment of messaging with the sales team and measure increased sales and monitor marketing engagements through analytics. Share success stories from the alignment through internal communications and at sales meetings. Make sales representatives who successfully align their messaging for increased sales heroes. Celebrating proper alignment can build confidence in slow adopters and pressure slackers into conforming with the plan.
In an upcoming post, we’ll share an example of a properly aligned messaging strategy that is working for a client. While we are still in the midst of the roll out of our Q1 messaging strategy, our analytics indicate extraordinary success.
If your sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned, start fixing it now and if you need some assistance we’re ready to help.