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Mackenzie Wortham
Posted by Mackenzie WorthamJanuary 31, 2018 9:00 AM

Imagine a world where your sales team depends on marketing to help them in the sales process.

Picture this: marketing regularly supplies sales with data they can use as an aid in nurturing and understanding your customers’ needs, and as a result the sales team starts seeking regular input from marketing.

That sounds like a world a lot of fresh produce marketers would love to live in. The truth is that it can be a reality. The smartest marketers know that they can create a sales dependency on marketing if they have the right strategy and the right tools in their toolbox. So, where do you start?

Get Analytical

The first step to supplying your sales team with valuable information is to start seeking data and analytics that can help them better understand your customers. Review your website analytics to start identifying potential customer traffic to your company website. Take note of what pages are visited most and what’s being clicked on. Investing in a software solution like Hubspot will allow you to see exactly who is coming to your website and what pages they are looking at. That’s right – you could tell your sales team that a buyer from Kroger just visited 3 of your product pages and downloaded sell sheets. What kind of value is that information worth? If you’d like to see this in action, schedule a call with us and we will show you how it works.

Beyond obtaining lead generating insights, you can also use analytics from your website and social media platforms to create shopper insight reports that your sales team can offer to your customers. For example, you can create polls on Twitter and Instagram to gather intelligence on consumer habits and preferences toward your brand that can be much more insightful (not to mention cheaper) than pricey purchased data.

Be a Problem Solver

At the end of the day, your customers and prospects have a problem for which your company could be the solution. And at the end of the day, your sales team members are also battling challenges with bringing individual sales conversations to a close. A smart marketer goes to work to solve problems for both.

To learn what your customers and prospects are truly struggling with, create lead generation opportunities on your website. The idea is to offer your customers something like a white paper, a free demo, etc. that they would be willing to fill out a form to receive. Within the form, you can ask them a few questions to better understand what their challenges are. For example, an avocado grower can create a guide to merchandising avocados that retailers would fill out a form to download. In return, the grower collects intel from this form on their buyer that they can then supply back to the sales team. Now marketing has both provided a solution to the buyer by giving them helpful information about their product, but they’re also helping solve problems at the sales level by offering insights that can guide sales discussions to a close. This strategy is called inbound marketing and it’s an essential practice for marketers who want sales teams to depend on them and their efforts.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Your marketing team can’t be successful or help your sales team if you are working in silos. For the true value of marketing to be realized, it’s essential to create a collaborative environment between sales and marketing. Consider having the marketing team attend weekly sales meetings to better understand the challenges that sales team is facing so that they can be problem solvers. The marketing team should also have the opportunity to keep sales informed about current campaigns and activities that buyers may be interested to learn about.

These tips offer a solid foundation for marketers who want their sales team to rely on them. If this has you excited, here are a few other ideas to consider:

  • If a sales person is having a call with a lead generated via marketing activity, consider having a marketing team member sit in on the call(s) through the close of sale. This will help make your sales and marketing folks really feel like they have a shared goal and purpose – closing the sale!
  • Showcase individual salesperson’s expertise by creating white papers or helpful emails and blogs “written” by them for your customers to download and read. This will establish credibility and familiarity with that salesperson among your customers.
  • Facilitate social media training and provide a guide on how sales can share content that marketing creates on social media (particularly LinkedIn) to increase the chances that your customers will see it.

Remember that creating a sales dependency on marketing is not a quick fix or short term process. If you’re a fresh produce marketer who would love to take steps in this direction in 2018, consider giving us a call. We can help counsel you on how to make this marketing dream scenario your reality!

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