Cha-ching! It’s the moment for which both sales people and marketers are waiting: the completion of a sale. With this shared objective, the sales and marketing teams in every manufacturing company should be working together in alignment. More often than not, however, there is a marketing-sales gap in manufacturing companies. Why? Because marketers are focused on the long-term sales cycle, while sales people are focused on closing the sale by the end of the month. It’s possible to extend the olive branch, however, with a few simple tactics.
1) Promote Individual Sales People
In The Little Red Book of Selling, self proclaimed “King of Sales”, Jeffery Gitomer writes: “It’s not who you know. It’s who knows YOU.”
Help your sales team become known to potential clients by including their names in content. If you are publishing an article with an outside website, you can consider quoting salespeople or even giving them the byline. If your sales people have held positions in their previous jobs or are SMEs for your product, you can list this where appropriate in content for your company, providing validation. It’ll endear you to the sales people and open their minds to requests you might have in the future.
2) Make Their Jobs Easier
Take ownership of creating a Sales Battle Card, if one hasn’t already been created, to distribute to salespeople. A Battle Card is a compact 1 to 2 page document for salespeople to keep on hand that tells them the basics about the company, and the perfect opportunity to get your marketing message in. A Battle Card should be easy to read and include information like the following:
- Company overview.
- Ideal customer profile.
- Key differentiators.
- Qualifying questions.
You can also create branded email templates for sales people to use when following up on leads. This is a good way to control the tone of the email, especially if the lead isn’t ready for a hard sales pitch.
3) Create a Service-Level Agreement (SLA)
“Companies with an active SLA are 34 percent more likely to experience greater year-over-year ROI than those companies that aren’t,” according to a 2015 study by Hubspot.
If you collaborate on nothing else, a SLA between the marketing and sales teams is a must. An SLA is created by leaders from both sales and marketing, and a subsequent meeting is held every month to track progress. An agreement could include:
- List the buyer personas so the sales team knows who to sell to.
- Define what a lead is and each stage of the sales cycle.
- Define when a lead is ready for a hard sales pitch vs. ready for marketing.
- Outline how many leads marketing should be delivering to sales and what percentage of those should close.
- State at what point a lead is handed off from marketing to sales.
- Define the sales process. How many touch points should be included?
- Determine when to review the SLA. A frequent timeline is every 6 months.
Do you have a marketing-sales gap in your manufacturing company? Now is the time to bring peace to the relationship. If you remember to promote individual sales people, make their lives easier, and create a SLA, you’ll be on your way to a better process over all.