There’s a big issue that exists in most B2B companies. One that is pretty much ingrained in the way we do things. It’s the fundamental divide that we’re all too familiar with ...
Sales vs. marketing.
Plenty of businesses still see these as two entirely separate entities, with an external inbound marketing agency bringing the leads in, and then sales dealing with these in their own bubble. However, this isn’t the best way to keep your business running smoothly. Without introducing your inbound marketing agency to your sales team, you risk adding friction to the process, miscommunication, lost opportunities and a lack of alignment, all of which will impact your business goals.
Despite improvements over the last few years, the same arguments are still present - marketing complains that sales aren’t following up on leads, and sales complains that marketing is sending poor quality leads though. There is a way to stop these arguments from happening, and that is to make sure that your sales team is working with your agency, and the two are aligned towards common goals.
Wondering how to do this? Don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to get your sales team and inbound marketing agency working together like a well oiled machine.
Involve your sales team from the beginning
This is so important. Most inbound agencies use an initial setup period to get the ball rolling, and it’s tempting to just involve a few stakeholders and your in-house marketing team at this stage. However, this isn’t the right approach. Your sales team is going to be dealing with the leads that come in, and they’re likely to know the methods that have previously been most effective.
Involve your sales manager in early discussions with your marketing agency, and involve them throughout the planning stages. With a knowledge of what you’re looking to achieve, and the methods used to achieve this, they’re more likely to buy into inbound marketing as a result.
Your business has more resources than you think
Think that your content is just what the marketing team has posted on your website or blog? Think again. One of the cornerstones of inbound marketing is great content, and this content can come in any form, as long as it’s helpful, informative, and useful to your personas. Your sales team might already have content that fits the bill!
Check for instructional videos that have been sent to prospects, FAQ sheets for questions they’ve heard before, or even detailed email templates. This type of content is useful to your marketing agency, and is even better for reporting - after all, these pieces of content are in direct contact with your current leads.
Speak to the people closest to your personas
We mentioned personas before, and if you’re familiar with inbound marketing then you already know that they’re the backbone of your strategy. It’s a mistake to leave persona development up to just your agency and your marketing team - get sales involved! They are the ones who deal with your prospects every day, and are likely to know the vital questions that they ask.
Too often, key decision makers will fall back on assumptions to create personas - or worse, they’ll put forward their ideal client, without considering the actual traits of their current customers. Your sales team can cut through this. If they’re involved in persona planning with your marketing agency, they’re likely to offer useful feedback, and base their ideas on real customers, instead of educated guesses.
Request regular feedback
Once the planning stages are over, it’s important not to let your sales team and inbound agency drift apart. Keep requesting feedback from both sides to make sure you’re on track - it might even be worth setting up a regular call between the main parties to provide ideas and solve issues together. There’s a reason that inbound agencies talk about alignment of sales and marketing - the more that these areas of your business work together, the better results you’re going to get. Any agency that dismisses the sales team, or doesn’t try to involve them in the beginning, is going to cause issues further down the line.
Stuck on how to find an inbound marketing agency that works for your entire business? You’re in luck - we’ve written a complete guide on choosing the right agency for you, including essential questions to ask, key things to look for, and how to weigh up their strengths and weaknesses against your business needs. Download it free below!