Why Marketing Should Leave Their Desks & Talk to their Sales Team
Like any creative, I can come up with a theme, topic, or slogan off the top of my head. Going with my gut, following my intuition, and trying something new because – well, why the heck not? – are not things I ordinarily shy away from.
But there’s a catch.
For while I enjoy the creative process and brainstorming new ideas and concepts, I have a logical side. I know that marketing is driven by data as much as the next discipline. For any campaign I work on, whether a blog campaign or a cold email campaign, I want to track the data and use this data to inform my decisions before I make them.
While this is all well and good, I’ve discovered that sometimes my reliance on data and numbers can hold me back – or that, all too often, it holds me back far more than it should.
In fact, a few months ago, I noticed a pattern had developed where I would be hesitant to move forward with a project or idea unless I had done extensive research beforehand.
Then I found the way to break this pattern.
The Cold Email Template Challenge (And What I Did)
Exhibit A: A cold email template I was assigned to write one hot, muggy July morning.
There were really two ways to go about this:
1) I could do it off the cuff – just write something quick, based on what I thought would work, and see how it played out.
2) Or, I could go back to my data. Look at all of the information. Open rates, click-through rates, click-to-open ratios, bounce rates, response rates, opportunity rates, subject lines, benefits highlighted, the different calls to action we’d used…. I could, essentially, drown in the veritable supply of information out there.
Instead, I decided to find the happy medium between the two.
I decided to talk to our sales team.
The Sales/Marketing Divide (And Why We Should Breach It)
In many larger companies, you often hear complaints about the divide between marketing and sales. Both departments often operate in separate silos, not understanding the other, not sharing information, and both feeling undervalued and unappreciated by the other department.
Both will track their own data and their own trends and their own KPIs and think that they understand their customers and prospects better than the other department does.
For example, let’s say a marketing team is trying to decide on a topic for an upcoming webinar.
Your typical marketing department might analyze their own stats to find trends, perhaps tracking common search queries, what their competitors were talking about, or where most people spent time on their website.
They’ll use this information to come up with a topic without ever talking to their sales team.
This is a huge disservice. I say this because I started off in sales here at COACT and have first-hand experience of how sales can often have more of a pulse of what’s going on in the marketplace than some fancy-schmancy marketing statistics can reveal.
Sales is on the front lines, talking to customers and prospective customers every day. They hear things that marketing doesn’t hear. Discuss topics and ask questions that don’t show up in search queries or social media posts with the most engagement.
Sales, in short, can sometimes know more about your customers and your prospects than marketing can.
Marketing + Sales = Kick-Ass Email Results
That’s why, when I was trying to figure out what message would resonate the most with the audience I was tailoring the cold email template to, I walked across our office and asked two top-performing members of our sales team (thank you, Sarah and Carissa!) what they were hearing in their sales calls and what was making their opportunities convert.
This took me about five minutes. Then I walked back over to my desk, took a slurp of my coffee, and reviewed some of the stats I’d mentioned. I looked back at past trends to figure out what kind of subject line, the ideal email length, and the type of call to action had worked well for this client in the past.
This took about, oh, 10 minutes at most.
Then I combined what I’d learned from our sales team with industry best practices gleaned from these stats and prior research with my own creativity to write a sales email template which turned into one of our most successful email templates to date for this client.
And I couldn’t have done it without our sales team. In fact, I attribute the majority of the success of this email to them. Without their insights, without their investigative skills and plain hard work, I never would have come up with the value proposition I highlighted.
This is how I found the perfect medium between being creative without a foundation and being too dependent on our marketing horde of data – by simply talking to the sales team. By bridging the gap between our departments.
My Challenge to You
So, marketing folks out there, I encourage you to learn from this experience and don’t get too stuck in your ways. Get out of the weeds and find your own happy medium.
Go leave your desk and talk to your sales team.
You won’t regret it.
(A quick note: I am not suggesting that the fault lies solely with marketing not engaging with sales. It can be the other way around, or both parties can be equally at fault. My advice is to engage with other departments and don’t get too siloed. As E.M. Forster once wrote: “Only connect.”)