Foundations First Marketing for B2B

Want to know your customers? Ask your sales team.

As marketers, we never know how our messages land. Yes, we see the likes on social posts, hits on blogs, and clicks on emails. We monitor our analytics, track our leads, and measure ROI. Even so, we don’t quite tap into the emotional response that a marketing message elicits. How can we get this information? If you want to know your customers, ask your sales team.

Tap sales–they talk to customers daily

Who better to ask for input than the very people selling the products or services you’re marketing? Your sales team talks to customers day in and day out, answering their questions, solving their struggles, and fulfilling the promises made by marketing. Plus, we all know salespeople love to talk, right? I’m half-kidding, but in all seriousness, as a marketer, you should set up ongoing meetings with your salespeople. If you have a huge sales staff, consider selecting the members who are most inclined and/or available to participate.

What’s on the agenda?

As a marketing director at Time Warner Cable, I held weekly calls with all our sales managers to receive feedback on advertising campaigns, pricing, promotions, etc. I would ask them things like:

  • What types of calls did you get from our recent campaign(s)?
  • Do you feel like these leads were truly interested in our service/product? If so, was there anything specific they mentioned?
  • Did our marketing tactics help you close the sale?
  • Were the prospects educated about our offering, or did they need more information?
  • Did you receive many calls that were not relevant? If so, where do you think we can improve our messaging?
  • When reaching out to current customers, have they seen our campaign? If so, what did they mention about it?
  • What types of questions are customers and prospects asking about our business?

If you want to take it a step further, also consider listening to actual sales calls to get a better understanding of what customers are asking in response to a given ad. Also, it’s important to pay attention to how the reps respond, so you know where they could use some support from your brand messaging.

More Direct Than Data, More Affordable Than a Focus Group

It’s great to dissect data and dig deep into analytics. If you’re able to wrangle customers and organize a focus group, more power to you. For smaller B2B organizations, the price of a focus group (figure anywhere from 4K to 12K) can pinch an already tight marketing budget. Before you drop that kind of cash, remember that your sales team is sitting on a gold mine of marketing information. They can act as an accessible and insightful focus group, right there on the front line.

When marketing and sales align, magic happens

In my experience, sales teams offer not only the best feedback on current marketing campaigns, but also fantastic ideas for future campaigns. Any question or concern they receive from a customer is a potential opportunity for marketing. Better yet, you’ll already know the topic is of interest to your target market, because it comes from a real-life scenario.

Getting insights from sales is an important step to aligning your sales and marketing teams. When these teams communicate better, you’re on your way to solving common misalignment problems. Synced teams working toward the same goal increase revenues, shorten sales cycles, and boost conversion rates.

Remember, marketing supports sales and sales validates marketing. If you’re a business owner or executive, it’s extremely important that these two departments are partners and not silos. If you’re in marketing, make your life easier–chat with someone in sales.

Teams not aligned? Let’s talk.

If your sales and marketing teams are stuck in silos, you likely have other cracks in your marketing foundations. If you suspect that may be true, now’s a good time to find out what’s keeping you stuck. A quick consult can be clarifying. Schedule a consult today.