By Warren Lutz – Contributing Writer
Quite the head scratcher: What to make of the relationship between marketers and sales reps? They have the same ultimate goal, and both could learn a ton from each other. But marketing and sales teams rarely communicate as much as they should.
You can change this—and improve your overall marketing efforts—by asking your sales colleagues a few quick questions. For example:
How are people hearing about us?
We’ve all met sales geniuses who thought it was their hard work and that work alone that allowed them to reach their numbers. Most sales professionals, however, will acknowledge that marketing helps set up the conversations that lead to closed deals.
Ask your sales reps about their latest transactions. How did the customer first hear about your product or service? Was it PR? A clever ad? Word of mouth? If something you did is working – or isn’t working – you want to know.
What excites people?
For every closed sale, there was typically a specific selling point or benefit the sales rep presented that got things moving. What was it? Product or service speed? Cost savings in hard dollars? A special offer?
Find out if there were differences between what certain types of customers liked to hear. You’re looking for the benefits that matter most, which is information you can use when creating the next marketing campaign.
What are people saying about us?
Hopefully you’re already managing your online reputation. But there’s also the reputation that your sales team stumbles upon while in the field or on calls— what prospects, partners, and competitors are saying about your company.
If there’s something negative going around, ask your sales person how he or she combats this perception when on a sales call. Did it work?
How can marketing do a better job?
Ask your sales reps what they think about your company’s marketing efforts. Remember your goal is to make their job easier. Most reps will be happy to let you know how you can help them reach their numbers.
When it comes to asking these questions, take it as seriously as you would with any market research. Ask for some time alone with the rep—over coffee or lunch, perhaps—and take notes. On the other hand, if the rep is too busy or out of the area, a quick phone call is better than nothing. Remember to have your questions ready and take good notes!
In the big scheme of things, your sales reps are only one source of market intelligence. Yet, their knowledge and ideas can be extremely valuable. Research indicates that companies perform better when their sales and marketing teams are closely aligned.
At the very least, the information you gather from your sales team can be used in combination with polls and customer feedback surveys to refine your overall strategy or simply to improve your online messaging. So why not go and get it?