Having the right tools for a project makes it a lot easier and infinitely more likely to succeed. This holds true for marketing campaigns. You can develop the most creative, innovative marketing programs, complete with perfect messaging targeted at the right audience, but if sales doesn’t have the tools to support those programs, your campaigns will be at risk.
When developing a marketing campaign, you need to think about the entire lead lifecycle: from the initial strategy and lead generation plan straight through to sales follow up and closing the deal. Building a strong relationship with sales and incorporating them into the plan from the start is one way to increase the success rate of any marketing program.
Inform the Team About the Plan
This sounds fairly obvious, but as marketers, how many times do we hear that sales had no idea about an upcoming campaign? Or maybe they had some vague knowledge about an email blast or webinar but they didn’t really understand all of the details. The first step is to keep sales in the loop on all upcoming campaigns. Develop a timeline to let them know when a campaign will kick off and when they should follow up. And join the weekly sales meetings, even just for the first 15 minutes, to provide updates on upcoming programs.
Provide the Team with Tools
Just because the sales team knows about a campaign, doesn’t mean they know how to support it or feel comfortable reinforcing the message. Create a comprehensive set of materials so the team is well versed and prepared to sell to the target verticals and titles. This includes both internal and external materials to ensure sales has all of the ammunition they need.
Internal materials are the cheat sheets that help make sure sales is on point. This includes a messaging document that explains the overall strategy and how to position the solution or product to the market. A competitive matrix that can quickly show your company’s differentiators and what makes you unique is key. And having a list of common objections and the best ways to overcome them, as well as scripts to guide them in their initial conversations with a prospect, will go a long way to making them feel ready to support the program.
External resources can include client-facing materials such as a sales deck that speaks directly to the titles or verticals the campaign is targeting. Data sheets and spec sheets that help tell the story, as well as customer case studies that provide third party reinforcement, are good weapons to have in the arsenal. And, of course, solid prospecting emails that can be personalized by a sales rep and sent out to prospects are imperative.
Define the Lead Workflow
Once leads are generated you need to ensure they will be managed and followed up appropriately using both sales and marketing tactics. Make sure you are aligned with sales on what the process will be and agree on key definitions such as what the characteristics are of a qualified lead. Create a workflow that details exactly what will happen to a lead once it is generated. Will sales call? Will marketing send another email touch? These are things that should be decided up front.
Continuously Report on Progress
Reporting and assessment is key to success. If you are not tracking what’s working and what’s not, there is no way to improve upon and revise your strategy. Provide sales with regular updates so they know how each campaign is progressing. This can even be done on those weekly sales meetings. Ask for honest feedback from the team on the quality of the leads. It may be that a campaign delivered a high response rate, but none of the leads were actually qualified. If that is the case, you know to discontinue or tweak that program. And always be sure to deliver frequent reports to sales so they can follow up on any new leads in a timely manner.
If you are going to put your time and energy into a marketing program, you want to make sure you set yourself up for success. Arming the sales team is one sure way to increase your odds of filling the sales pipeline with qualified leads that turn into sales and make you a marketing superstar.
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