What sales really needs from marketing

Paul Nolan

Before she became a leading sales coach, author and consultant, Jill Konrath was a regional sales rep for a major computer maker whose office was in the same city as the company’s headquarters. Whenever a new product was introduced, marketing kicked off its road shows with Konrath and her colleagues.

Konrath says the marketing team made a huge data dump with every new product introduction, but provided little to speed up the sales velocity. “Even when marketing asked how they could help, the feedback from the sales organization was often next to worthless,” Konrath says. “Salespeople couldn’t articulate what was missing because they’d never seen anything different. So they always reverted to what they knew and asked for better brochures or more advertising.”

Konrath says she continues to see big gaps between marketing and sales with her client companies.

“More than ever before, salespeople want marketing to focus on lead generation. But their definition of a quality lead is often very different from what they’re typically handed  by marketing,” Konrath says. “Being handed a list of 217 people who expressed interest at a recent trade show is a nightmare in the making. On the other hand, marketing is pleased as punch to have collected all of those names.”

She implores salespeople to clearly articulate the business value of your product or service, and then make sure to integrate it into your collateral, website, presentation materials, prospecting tools and more. When marketing changes how they talk about their offering, sales follows suit, Konrath says.

Also, make sure your salespeople understand the likely situations and decision makers they’ll encounter. And marketing needs to make sure they’re aware of triggering events — those occurrences that create an immediate need for your company’s products or services. It greatly impacts the messages and sales support materials that marketing creates. Marketing can show sellers how others have capitalized on these triggering events to get their foot in the door of an account, talking to the right people at the right time.

Visit the additional Web resources box at SalesandMarketing.com for a link to the free PDF e-book “What Sales Really Needs From Marketing: 7 Strategies to Get More and Better Prospects Into Your Sales Pipeline.”