The power of ride-alongs with salespeople has been long understood by sales managers. It helps build relationships with reps, and firsthand observation of a sales call provides immediate demonstration of what worked and what didn’t in the prospect meeting.
“Riding along” doesn’t just happen in cars, despite the name. Reps can also be accompanied on the selling floor, and calls can be listened in on so that feedback can occur practically in real time. This is all good–but one important entity is missing: the marketing department.
It is actually ironic, because it’s marketing that crafts marketing content for your website and sales collateral. These are the people that are charged with the creation of marketing materials that truly speak to potential customers.
If your marketing materials and sales collateral don’t speak to customers, it’s no wonder. Marketing departments don’t spend enough time in front of prospects and customers–or it’s been years since they last did so.
CEOs, it’s time to quit talking about sales and marketing collaborating and make it happen. Establish KPIs for your marketing team to ride along with your sales team. This best practice will produce three big sales outcomes.
1. Elimination of assumptions. Your marketing department will hear the needs and wants of your prospects firsthand. No more playing the telephone game (email me if you are too young to remember this game), where you end up with limited data about prospects’ needs through the filter of your sales team or surveys.
There’s hearing the main conversation. But also, it’s important to listen to the conversation between the conversation. You know, what’s not being said but needs to be heard. Both conversations will give you better clues about how to connect with prospects and clients.
2. Authentic marketing copy. In the sales training world, we often call website copy and sales collateral “marketing speak.” It is copy that is understood only if you work in marketing. Go to your website and ask yourself these questions:
- Do my prospects speak this way? (No, not unless they’re all college professors.)
- Does the copy talk about problems your organization solves or about what your organization does? (Self-focused marketing copy rather than client-focused marketing copy)
- Does my website show empathy and understanding for a day in the life of my prospects? (if your marketing director has never met your prospects, it’s pretty hard to describe a day in their life in your marketing materials.)
3. Better perspective. The best salespeople can get tunnel vision. When a marketing director shows up at a sales meeting, they bring a beginner’s mind. They aren’t bringing previous bias and assumptions to the call because they haven’t logged hundreds of hours in hearing similar challenges from prospects. This fresh perspective allows for more creative and new solutions for customers.
Marketing directors: It’s time to get in the car and pull up a chair. If you want to learn how to speak the language of your customers, you need to hear and observe sales conversations.
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