By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
One of the most important, but perhaps underappreciated, relationships in any company is the one between the marketing and sales departments. The success of this relationship, and the flow of communications, can make or break any company. Without a healthy sales pipeline, a company cannot exist. And while it’s the sales department’s job to fill the pipeline, it’s marketing’s job to enable the sales team.
There is a sports analogy here, according to Sam Brennard, Marketing Manager at Venture Accelerator Partners, writing for Business2Community.
“The marketing team is charged with setting the game plan,” he wrote. “This involves carefully researching the prospect, defining buyer personas, creating, distributing, and refining great content for each stage of the buyer journey, and ultimately preparing the rest of the team to be successful. It’s the sales team’s job to execute that game plan by calling plays on the fly. This involves connecting with prospects, understanding their unique needs, and nurturing them through the buying process with educational content.”
What every successful sports team requires is a good playbook, and this part is marketing’s job. It’s the content that marketing hands to the sales team to enable their processes and attract and keep customers. A content playbook, writes Brennard, is the collective wisdom of your organization, including blog posts, webinars, helpful videos, e-books, whitepapers, and more that showcase your organization’s expertise and understanding in alignment with each stage of the sales process. It’s the ultimate sales enablement tool.
It’s not enough, however, to stick some materials and hope for the best. Marketing needs to create and collect the right materials that are neither too self-praising nor too technical, but that strike a chord with the prospect to help him or her understand how the solution will meet the organization’s needs. But the truth is that just as no game is ever played exactly the same each time, no two prospects are alike, so content must be organized in a way that it can be tailored to individual prospects depending on their needs.
“Great coaches recognize that no two defenses are the same from play to play (let alone from game to game), just as great marketers and salespeople recognize that no two sales prospects are the same,” writes Brennard. “Every lead has unique needs, challenges, and pain points that need to be addressed with content at each point in the sales process.”
Content should ideally be multimedia – different prospects will have different preferences when it comes to which channel they’re most receptive to, be it video, PowerPoint, print or digital – and organized in a way that makes it easy for the sales team to access and utilize. Messy, outdated content, incomplete materials or content too complex for the sales team to present will actually hinder the sales process. Before the sales team even walks out the door, its “playbook” should be thoughtfully designed, well organized and ready to customize.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson