Great marketing and sales teams want to two things,
Build better customer relationships
Drive revenue and sales
But, in many businesses, marketing (and especially social media marketing teams) focus on 1, while sales focuses on 2.
This not doesn't just cause a mismatch or division between teams (that are really looking at achieving the same thing). It makes it really difficult for marketing to prove their worth, and for business managers and executive teams to understand the ROI of marketing work.
Earlier in the year, we made sure that you understood your sales funnel.
In that article we covered how to attribute goals and metrics - not just at the pointy end of the sale - but the whole way through the funnel from your initial marketing approach through to conversion.
If you're looking at this from a management perspective, and marketing isn't your field, you might want to dive back in to exactly what we mean by 'the funnel' before we get started, as this post takes it's structure from a traditional funnel approach.
Today, we're going to go through 6 actions you can take to make sure your marketing approach is:
It's been written to help bring your marketing and sales teams closer together and is useful whether you're in management (and looking for a way to improve your revenue and sales or struggling to understand your marketing ROI) or your sitting in a marketing or sales role and feel like the connection between the two is, well, maybe a little broken.
1. Build your audience and brand awareness
At the top of the funnel, you're aiming to get your name out there, with the right people.
Start by understanding your customer and defining who the right person is.
List out the demographics, their likes and dislikes, who they hang out with and even find a picture to represent your different customer groups.
Then keep these people in mind with every step you take to build awareness.
Set a planning meeting where marketing and sales staff both review your ideal customer personas. There is no point selling to different people.
Audit your website and social channels to make sure they suit your customer personas.
Create a content calendar (including paid content) that will build your following with your personas, in line with sales targets and goals - make sure management and sales are bought in on the calendar as this provides great fodder and support for their personal social media (e.g. LinkedIn) presence.
2. Educate your audience and attract leads
Education is a great way to pull your wider audience, for example, your social media followers, into more structured communication with you.
By that I mean - you’ve seen each other around for a while, you’re both interested in each other, it’s time to exchange contact details - most likely an email address.
Offer prospective customers value in exchange for an email address. If you sell a service, you might choose to prepare a toolkit for download. If you sell a product - let’s say you’re a hardware store - you might offer a DIY project each month in your newsletter to encourage people to sign up.
Make sure there is a feedback channel between sales and marketing so that any 'value-add content' answers common customer questions or solves their problems. These resources aren't just great for driving lead generation, but also supporting sales conversations.
Add more educational content - to capture contact details - to your content calendar.
This is a two-way process as you both get to know more about each other.
You’re courting, but you’re not ready to commit.
What do you want to do with all these contacts now that they’ve show real interest in what you have to say (and sell)?
Prepare a series of welcome emails, and consider whether clicking on a certain link or viewing a certain piece of content might trigger another email, or if you might retarget these more engaged customers after they visit a certain landing page (start with Retargeting For Beginners
If you’re selling a service, how else can you get a better gauge of their interest (think about hosting a webinar, or offering a free consultation or workshop to get in front of the decision makers)?
Meet and determine your criteria, ensuring that all teams are clear on what constitutes a 'qualified' lead. Including fields like 'number of staff' or 'number of locations' in your lead generation forms, for example, might help you know if the lead is your ideal customer faster.
Create a welcome series of emails. Use certain behaviours as triggers to segment your leads. Plan this out with sales so that they can trigger or remove actions depending on how their conversations are tracking.
4. Deliver the pitch
A direct sell isn’t a bad thing, especially if you know exactly what your customers are looking for.
Whether you’re connecting face-to-face, or via a website, social media or an email, selling a product or service, the sales principles are the same.
What to know more?
Get transperacy across your sales pipeline in your business. How can marketing help sales deliver high quality pitch collateral or proposals? When are they needed? Why don't people sign off (and how can that influence steps 1 through 4?)
Or, read 6 Ways to Pitch Anything.
5. Keep them happy
The sales funnel is incredibly cyclical; you want customers to continue to be engaged with, and loyal to, your brand.
Focus on staying front of mind (retention marketing campaigns) with regular communication, or create enhanced loyalty through personalising the customer experience more and more, as you learn more about how they interact with you (loyalty campaigns are typically focussed on increasing the overall lifetime value of your customers).
So KEEP TALKING.
- Handover! The work doesn't stop here. Keep up the communication.
We have found that sharing our sales pipeline - being transparent in exactly what is and isn't working, and all pulling together across teams when needed - has made for a better sales approach.
And, we talk about how our leads fit our customer persona. We're always asking, are these guys our ideal customer, or where do they fit in our customer personas.
This is how we know the system is working - because we're staying true to our goals, our whole team are getting to work on more of the stuff they enjoy and are generally a happier and more engaged team. We deliver better work. Retain more customers, and work with more likeminded businesses.
If you only do one thing from this list, make it getting to know your ideal customer.