Tactics for Closer CollaborationWe’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Sales and marketing have to learn how to work in lock-step. The days of the board and other executives tolerating a contentious relationship between the two organizations are over. The departments’ tactics are converging, and marketing is becoming more reliant on sales to drive people to email subscriptions through one-on-one outreach. As our organizations move closer, our communication strategies must get tighter. “There is a dance we need between sales and marketing,” said Curt Tueffert. “Often, small, medium, and even large businesses work in either two separate silos or two different vacuums. Sales is expecting marketing to be the miracle maker. Marketing is expecting sales to be the miracle maker. And the frustrating challenge is they’re both pointing fingers at each other. What makes a successful outcome is a shared communication strategy between the departments. “At DXP, we share leading and lagging indicators with a scorecard and a cadence. We share that with marketing so they can adjust their messaging and make those subtle course corrections. They’re not operating in a vacuum where sales says, ‘That’s not what I wanted,’ and marketing says, ‘Well, that’s not what you told me.’ We collaborate.” The root of the disconnect between sales and marketing (outside of not communicating openly) is a lack of understanding of what the other team members spend their time doing. “Sales has this perception that marketing operates as it does in Mad Men. You all go into a room and create absolute magic. We bring our scorecard and qualitative input into a meeting with marketing, so they know what we’re seeing and hearing. Sometimes marketing is one or two steps behind in the communication loop. We include marketers in sales calls to see, touch, feel, hear, and experience what is happening with their message. They can make course corrections when they have more immediate feedback about what’s working. Instead of just being mad at each other or creating silos, it’s more of a nuanced approach.” But what if we don’t have access to call recordings and are experiencing some resistance from a protective sales leader who’s afraid marketing will inadvertently blow up a sale? “My advice to all the listeners is:
- Don’t be afraid of inviting marketing into your calls.
- If you’re worried, record the call on Zoom or allow marketing a silent seat at the table.
- Let them know we’ll review the call together internally afterward and get a read on how the message landed.”
The Importance of DataWe’ve talked about the importance of collaboration and tactics to invite more cooperation between the teams. The other half of this equation is data. It’s hard to absorb negative feedback, but using numbers rather than voicing a subjective opinion helps soften the impact. Instead of hearing, “I don’t like what you wrote,” we’re more apt to hear, “our open rate is very low. We need to change the subject line.” “We look at lagging indicators and success goals. We define a leading indicator as something that we would look for in the future. A lagging indicator is something that we can historically look back on. The lagging indicators tell me the number of opens, bounces, clicks—things of that nature. We make success goals before kicking off a campaign, including agreeing to what we should include in the campaign. Maybe it’s a sequence, we have some A/B testing, or an email response triggers a different channel like direct mail.” Curt shared an example of A/B testing he ran internally for an initiate before committing to an external A/B test. “I want to do profile videos featuring our executives because we’re a North American-based company. Of our 2,450 plus employees, many will never interface or engage with our Houston-based executives. And so I thought comfy couch interviews in the spirit of James Corden (or maybe Jimmy Fallon) might go over well with our employee base. “I started shooting some demo videos with a low profile camera and others with a high profile. I didn’t know which one would work, so I created a demo video and sent it to 37 people. I asked, ‘What do you think about low versus high?’ and I gave them plenty of B roll so they could see it and experience it. “And it was a 50 50 split. I thought my A/B testing would give me a tie-breaker. After interviewing the respondents, we realized that A/B testing is the way to go with the broader audience. Having the system tally the response rates and then automatically send the most successful ensures that the executives are cast in the best light.” We know very well that marketing is a blend of art and science. It doesn’t hurt to share that knowledge with your sales team. “Everything is so subjective. I tell my salespeople when you’ve seen one person, you’ve seen one person. We can’t predict the behavior of another person because it’s so subjective.”
For more on finding ways to collaborate on a global message that is (actually) used across the company, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.