When Sales and Marketing work together, exciting things can happen.
In our work supporting clients with high-value pursuits, we often receive insightful feedback about value propositions from the Sales team. One especially memorable time we discovered that the account team was essentially un-branding the solution components. Why? The account team felt that the client’s sprawling solution portfolio, which contained several acquired products with different brand names, created confusion and doubt about how well the parts would work together. They believed that referring to the solutions categorically rather than by their brand names would eliminate prospect and customer confusion and better convey value.
Getting more feedback from Sales
This approach to the brand names eventually became a best practice for the company, but that feedback almost never made it to the company at all. We uncovered it by creating customized pursuit materials for high value deals which caused us to directly interact with various Sales teams. High-value pursuits offer the perfect opportunity to refine messaging and strengthen the collaboration between Marketing and Sales in a “live fire” situation. When the deals are big or strategic enough, they are worth investing in. And the wonderful byproduct is the insightful feedback that is gained. There is nothing like a real deal to sharpen everyone’s game.
Improving Marketing/Sales alignment
Marketing teams that create messaging and materials without Sales involvement often find Sales not using their work product. According to Content Marketing Institute, 60-70% of B2B content created is never used. In many cases, this is because the topic is irrelevant to the buyer audience. Pursuit support is ideal for aligning Marketing and Sales to alleviate this problem. With pursuit support, Marketing can ensure their messaging is relevant and that their content is useful to today’s buyers.
3 tips to build your own feedback loop:
- Set intake sessions for high-value deals. In these intake sessions with Sales and possibly Solutions experts, your Marketing team can get a better sense of the customer’s orientation and desired outcomes. Sales, acting as the canary in the coal mine, can help Marketers use the voice of the customer to detect important shifts in the market.
- Aggregate and synthesize sensitivities or perceived market changes. Not all feedback you’ll hear from Sales will affect your larger positioning. Some feedback will just be good to know for a specific account. By taking the time to collect feedback before changing your collateral, you can better determine whether a change is market-wide or client-specific.
- Determine how to best distribute knowledge to the company as a whole. Working with Sales on each pursuit enables you to add to the company knowledge of the market and of specific accounts. The next step is to use that knowledge and publish it in company newsletters or in sales enablement content channels like Seismic. Let the rest of the company learn from your experience.
Creating a feedback loop with Sales can greatly improve the relationship between Sales and Marketing. Importantly, a feedback loop also improves the relevance and usefulness of your organization’s content, ensuring that it reflects the concerns of today’s buyers. Plus, that knowledge can be distributed to your company as a whole, improving everyone’s understanding of the market and major accounts. How are you using Sales to capture emerging market insights and fine-tune your messaging?