One of the biggest mistakes I watch B2B companies make is having their Sales Director completely responsible for marketing efforts without additional support.
It’s a system that’s bound to fail for one simple reason - marketing tactics and sales tactics are different!
Marketing is all about creating brand awareness, drawing attention to the brand and capturing leads. Marketing resources need to communicate with customers way before they are ready to make a purchase and have scoring systems to qualify how close the leads seem to becoming a customers.
Sales teams then take the qualified leads from marketing and deploy sales tactics to try and close deals. Sales tools revolve around automating and improving the process for salesmen to work their lead lists and close more efficiently.
Companies know that they need to align sales and marketing, but figuring out the best blend can be challenging. It’s hard to decide the best way to ramp up marketing.... Do they hire a marketing professional? Can they hire a whole marketing team? Is working with an agency the best bet?
As an agency owner I’ve been asked to help companies navigate this scenario time and time again, here is my recommendation:
- You have (or are) a great Sales Director
- You are struggling to generate consistent leads
- You do not have the budget to hire a marketing director and 2-3 additional marketing experts
- You do not have a massive advertising budget
- Start by engaging an agency you can trust and collaborate on the best game plan together. Below are the five most important ways a marketing agency should collaborate with a sales team to be successful.
Every growth focused organization develops a centralized sales and marketing strategy to guide their efforts
The Sales Director of the company should lead the charge communicating the strategic vision to grow the company from a sales perspective. They know the audience best and understand the value that their product brings. They have years of industry knowledge to bring to the table, understand who their best-fit customer is and how to sell. The Sales Director’s role in crafting the strategy is to be the industry expert and help communicate the challenges faced on the path to achieving their goals.
The marketing agency’s role in creating the strategy is first to be a great listener. Before any strategy gets developed the agency should do a deep dive discovery to learn from the Sales Director and the ownership everything they can about the company. After this discovery, the agency should bring new creative ideas to the conversation and collaborate with the Sales Director to develop a strategy that leverages digital tools to position the company as a leader in their industry.
Goal Driven Approach
It’s important to set specific, measurable goals and check in on progress routinely
Sales goals should be set by the Sales Director. Great Sales Directors are able to identify trends and set short term and long term goals to benchmark success. Whether it’s a push to boost sales in a specific segment or an all out blitz for revenue wherever they can get it - Sales Directors are always setting sales goals to drive the growth of the business.
It’s the agencies job to understand the sales goals and define marketing metrics that can show progress towards the sales. Creating specific and measurable marketing goals is extremely important to understand if campaigns are making money or wasting it.
Agencies have spent years fine-tuning their skills and programs to achieve specific goals for their clients and bring proven programs to the table.
After learning about the sales goals and challenges it’s time for the agency to pitch how their programs will work. Most established agencies have a specific program that is already developed to solve different problems depending on client needs. These programs have been developed through years of trial and error and benefit from the knowledge gained through all of that experience.
There is no need to recreate the wheel. Most companies looking to hire an agency would benefit immensely from implementing solid programs that leverage modern marketing tools and strategies. There is a recipe to create leads and sales. Great agencies understand the recipe and have built a specialized team to run efficient and effective campaigns that produce results. They also have systems to report on progress on a regular basis.
It’s the Sales Director’s role to understand the programs being pitched and align with an agency that is the best fit. It wouldn’t make sense for a B2B company to hire a retail focused agency, the programs needed to win B2B contracts are way different that what’s needed for B2C businesses.
Help with Hiring
Depending on the goals of the business, sometimes hiring marketing staff in addition to working with an agency is the best path.
Marketing agencies are in the business of building marketing teams and hiring marketing professionals. Sometimes as agencies diagnose how to get the best results for a client they uncover that the best fit would actually be to hire an internal marketing person to support high-volume daily marketing needs that aren’t a good fit for the agency.
If that’s the case, agencies should be happy to help their client along this hiring process, offering job descriptions and pointers to hiring someone that would integrate well into the system. That’s what will help get their client the best results!
Marketing/Sales Information Systems and Technology
Creating a streamlined flow of information from marketing to sales is a critical factor in the growth of a business.
It’s no secret, sales directors are experts at sales - not technology! It’s really hard to figure out which software systems will help them achieve their goals, and once they’ve decided that something is exciting they have to bear the weight of managing an implementation with their team on top of the daily workload. It’s a daunting task for every growing team.
The struggle isn’t only around new programs. Often there are legacy systems in place that need to be evaluated and managed... Sometimes these programs are very expensive and bring no value to the business, or there are inefficient processes that can be easily fixed.
The best marketing agencies can help support technology decisions. Many have aligned with major companies, like Hubspot, that have robust tools and resources to help streamline sales and marketing all into one platform. By working with an agency you gain a team of experts to call who know your account and can help overcome the technological challenges that many companies face related to websites and marketing.
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