Sales managers have long understood the power of ride-alongs with salespeople. Riding together helps build relationships with the sales staff. And observing a sales call firsthand is the best opportunity to provide an immediate debrief of what worked or didn’t work in the prospect meeting.
Riding along isn’t just limited to cars. It’s also time invested on the selling floor, listening to calls and giving feedback in real time. This all sounds good, but one important party is missing from the equation: the marketing department.
This is ironic, because the marketing department writes marketing copy for the website and sales collateral. It is charged with creating marketing materials that speak to your potential customers.
Is it any wonder that your marketing and sales collateral doesn’t speak to customers? It’s because marketing departments aren’t spending enough time IN FRONT of customerS or it’s been years since their last visit.
CEO’s, 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.