Friends make life so much fun. If you’re lucky enough to have a BFF or seven, you know first hand the impact friends can have on your life. Good friends are there for you through the fun times and the not so fun times. They provide support, help and advice along with lots of adventures and laughter. Everyone needs friends.
Marketing needs friends too. Within your organization, there are groups of people you work with directly. Sales, leadership, accounting, IT…everyone plays a role in your marketing life. But perhaps the most important “friend” marketing can have is sales development.
Being a friend can mean different things to different people. In the case of marketing and sales development, I think the best definition – really meant more for countries than teams – is “a state of mutual trust and support between allied nations.”
That’s really what we are…allies. We are working toward the common good of demand generation. We strive to provide excellent results and contribute to the growth and success of the overall organization.
If we recognize that working together – as BFFs – is mutually beneficial, we can accomplish great things. Our roles are not exclusive of one another. In fact, we rely on each other. It is a two-sided relationship.
Here are six reasons marketing and sales development need to be BFFs.
1. Confirm what we think we know about our buyer personas
When buyer personas are created, many assumptions are made. We draw conclusions based on data we have gathered. We then build our short-term marketing tactics around those assumptions.
Sometimes those assumptions turn out to slightly off…or maybe totally wrong. In any case, the sooner we are able to identify where the tweaks need to be made to our personas, the more effective we will be.
Sales development reps talk to people who represent our buyer personas every day. Part of their job is to identify whether or not they are a good fit by asking a lot questions and understanding their situation. Chances are they will identify areas where the personas are not matching up with reality.
Meet with the sales development reps on a regular basis to hear their feedback. Listening to some calls yourself can also help identify areas where the personas can be improved
More accurate personas will help the sales development reps ask better questions and make better connections with leads. Better personas will help marketing in many ways…including creating better content.
2. Identify where content is working…and where it is not
When a sales development rep calls an inbound lead, they have a golden opportunity to find out whether or not the content that lead downloaded was helpful.
Take advantage of that opportunity. Develop a system for sales development reps to provide feedback to you as it relates to content.
It is important to know as soon as possible if something is not on point or if a piece of content is missing that would be very valuable. This information will help shape premium content calendars as well as the blog editorial calendar.
Great content makes the first conversation easier for the sales development reps too. It is in their best interest to share the feedback they hear and be confident that the lead’s first interaction with the company was a positive one.
3. More effective lead nurturing campaigns
In our Executive’s Guide to Effective Lead Nurturing, we describe several different approaches to lead nurturing…and guess what? They all include phone calls.
There are many B2B marketers out there today who are implementing lead nurturing programs that do not include sales development. In this blog post, Doug describes how lead nurturing aligns inbound marketing and sales development.
If you want to create more SQLs, marketing and sales development need to work together to nurture leads.
4. Confirm website is attracting the right visitors
B2B marketers put a lot of time and energy into their websites…as they should. Websites are the hub of every inbound marketing strategy.
Sometimes websites do not attract the right visitors resulting in leads who just don’t fit the ideal client profile identified. Sales development reps are able to quickly identify this problem through the course of their conversations.
For example, if a site is generating 500 inbound leads per month but only 10 qualified leads, that’s a problem…for marketing and sales development.
Track conversion metrics and talk to your sales development reps on a regular basis about lead quality. Successful demand generation begins and ends with your website. Make sure it is attracting the right visitors.
5. Happier sales reps
Since the beginning of time, marketing and sales have been at odds about leads. Marketing believes sales does a poor job managing leads. Sales thinks marketing supplies poor quality leads.
In his blog post last week, David Fletcher explained how sales development can bring alignment to sales and marketing by further qualifying leads before they are passed on to sales.
For me…that is reason enough to be best friends with sales development…happier sales reps.
6. Better contact data
Managing contact data has been a struggle for marketers for years. The integrity of data erodes so quickly that it is nearly impossible to keep up.
When sales development reps are making calls to leads, they are able to confirm key points of information as part of their conversations. This improves the integrity of the data and gives everyone more confidence when reaching out to the lead as they progress through the buyer’s journey.
While BFFs may not be a phrase you use regularly when thinking about teams within your company, it really does represent what the relationship between sales development and marketing should be. A supportive, give and take relationship that is fun and rewarding…for both.