How Can Sales Influence Marketing to Provide Stronger Leads

July 8, 2015

It’s no secret that in large companies, the Marketing and Sales departments don’t always work well together. If they had enough people in each department, they’d form softball teams and find a way to turn it into a full-contact sport.

But, despite their differences, the two departments have the same goals: get more qualified leads into the hands of the Sales staff so they can close more sales.

Usually, the work between the two is very siloed — Sales thinks Marketing only makes pretty words and pictures, and Marketing thinks Sales are a bunch of shoot-from-the-hip cowboys. Managers of both departments won’t let their people cross party lines.

When they do get together, they’ll discuss the work they have in common. Sales will share their closure stats, and say they need better leads; Marketing will say they met their quota, and Sales just needs to do better.

BUT — and this is huge — if the two could ever work together toward a common goal, your company could fire on all cylinders in a way you probably never have before. This means they need to talk and listen to each other.

The biggest influence Sales can have on Marketing is actually being involved in the planning and creation process of the content marketing work. If the Marketing department knew what the Sales people needed, and could create exactly that, they could create the things customers wanted, and increase conversions.

The problem is there’s no actual conversation about building a better process to find better qualified leads. This is a conversation both departments need to have with each other. It’s not a “you need to do this/No, you need to do that” conversation. Rather, it’s a “can we get this/yes, we can make that” conversation.

When a content piece is produced and used in a demand generation campaign, it’s important that Sales was involved. If they weren’t around for the creation process, they won’t be as focused or care very much, because they don’t have a vested interest in the project. It’s just one more piece of content they can use (or ignore).

This means Marketing needs to be proactive in asking Sales for input into what needs to be creative; Sales needs to be proactive in telling Marketing what works, what doesn’t, and what resonates with the customers.

This means no more refusing to work together, and no more full-contact softball. If you have Sales and Marketing teams, encourage them to interact as much as possible. If you have a clear voice and an agreed-upon strategy from both departments, the number of qualified leads will not only grow, they’ll get better, which means the closing rate will close as well.

And maybe next year’s softball game won’t be as violent as last year’s.

Photo by: Jon Eckert