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Strong Foundation

You might have read that sales and marketing don’t often work well together.

In too many organizations sales and marketing don’t even talk to each other.  What a shame.  It’s good business when sales and marketing work together. Cooperation benefits both groups and also increases sales.  Here’s how it’s done right.

What does marketing do? Maybe the sales-marketing disconnect occurs because the departments don’t know what each one needs from the other.  If you’re in marketing, be very clear about what sales needs from your department.  Your job is to give sales the tools they need to sell. It could be the contacts to get started, a sales kit, a data sheet, or white papers to help customers understand their problems.  Sales wants the vision of where your  company is going.  They want accurate information that helps them sell.  They want sales leads to flow to them so they can sell to them.  Marketing brings a vision of the industry as a whole.

In return, sales must tell marketing what customers are concerned with.  Marketing needs an understanding of what customer critical needs are so it can craft the marketing message throughout the year at trade shows, on the web or in press releases.   Sales is absolutely critical to get the customers’ vision to market. Salespeople can help by attending customer symposiums.  They should listen for customer information on future business directions that could impact   products.  Report this to marketing.

Start talking.  Open and frequent communication of both departments should happen by man ignoring wordsdesign.  Do you need a liaison between sales and marketing? You could start a team of former salespeople who attend internal sales staff meetings even though they’re not on the sales team.  Talk about what is and isn’t working at these meetings. High level managers in sales, marketing and manufacturing should also meet quarterly to review program effectiveness account by account.  Webinars of products will also help both sales and marketing.

Make sure marketing and sales are talking to each other about customers.  When marketing staff meet with customers they should report the meeting to salespeople.   The report can be an email.  Include meeting attendees, what was discussed and their follow up.  Salespeople should do the same with marketing.

 Share.  Competitive intelligence is critical for marketing.  Marketing reads research reports to gather information.  Sales adds to the information by reporting what they see during sales calls.  Salespeople should report how they win new business to enable marketing to see what’s working.  Leads are critical for sales.  Marketing can enhance trade show participation. Rather than be limited to just gathering names, filter the leads so that the most likely prospects get sales attention.  Make sure the information is centrally available.

It’s a lucky salesperson who says, “My marketing department sells for me.”  It’s a successful marketer who says, “My sales department works with me.”  Who says business has to rely on luck? Start your sales and marketing dialogue today.





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About Maura Schreier-Fleming

Maura Schreier-Fleming is president of Best@Selling, a sales training and sales consulting company. She works with business and sales professionals to increase sales and earn larger profits. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results and Monday Morning Sales Tips. Maura focuses on sales strategies and tactics that lead to better sales results. Maura is a sales expert for WomenSalesPros. She is part of their group of top sales experts who inspire, educate, and develop salespeople and sales teams.She speaks internationally on influence, selling skills, and strategic selling at trade association and sales meetings, demonstrating how her principles can be applied to get results. She successfully worked for over 20 years in the male-dominated oil industry with two major corporations, beginning at Mobil Oil and ending at Chevron Corp. She was Mobil Oil’s first female lubrication engineer in the U.S. and was one of Chevron’s top five salespeople in the U.S. having sold over $9 million annually. Maura writes several columns to share her sales philosophies. She's been quoted in the New York Times, Selling Power, and Entrepreneur.

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