As a former marketing manager for Great Plains and Microsoft, back in the day we probably didn’t ask the sales team what type of content they wanted from the marketing department. Maybe we did, but certainly not often enough. Right or wrong, we had our own ideas about what was most effective to (1) generate leads and (2) convert leads to opportunities.
These days, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of articles on marketing and sales alignment in the B2B space. Each one with tips and ideas to ensure marketing and sales teams are working together seamlessly and without friction. Why? Because in a content-driven world, this alignment is needed more than ever.
Fortunately, this research report from Televerde helps answer this question: What Does Sales Need and Want from Marketing?
According to 200 B2B sales leaders, some in companies with over $1B in revenues, here’s what they need from marketing:
Rounding out the top six are More Case Studies and Testimonials (#4), Vertical and Segment Targeting (#5), and Better Qualified Leads (#6).
In past years, I would have expected those answers to be in a survey of marketing leaders as opposed to sales leaders. But today many sales leaders recognize the value of content in the sales process. Prospects want it and salespeople want to be able to deliver it.
At first glance, it seems odd that events are #1, but think about that. Events have experienced a downturn in attendance for years; however, industry-specific events bring greater value to attendees and often a more qualified audience for salespeople to engage with one-on-one.
What surprised me more was the high ranking for the Value Proposition. In my time as a marketing manager, we celebrated the day the (external) agency delivered the value proposition! It was complete with a messaging framework, copy for marketing materials, targeted personas, and industry segmentation—all of which made our job of lead generation so much easier and consistent.
Today, when our team at The Partner Marketing Group creates and delivers a value prop to our clients, we know the leadership team and marketers love it. And according to the survey, so do the sales leaders!
So, back to the original question. Can marketing ever please sales? The answer is a definite YES. It’s not always going to be quick or easy, or even consistent from one year to the next, but listening to the sales team is a great first step. Perhaps ask them if they agree with the survey results shown above. If not, what would they change?
Second, like it or not, content rules marketing and sales. Whether it’s industry events, value propositions, case studies, websites, whitepapers, product/fact sheets, and so on—if it’s relevant, focused, smart AND original—content will help both teams be successful.
Contact us for help with your content!
Written by: Cheryl Strege, The Partner Marketing Group
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