Marketing and sales. Sales and marketing. In some companies, they’re like peanut butter and jelly. In other businesses, they’re more like oil and water. One reason why sales and marketing aren’t always in the best alignment is because sales is usually measured by the here-and-now (quota attainment) whereas marketing is traditionally measured by the long-range picture (greater brand awareness, increased market share).
In reality, of course, marketing and sales need to work together to achieve all of these goals. To make that happen, here are four marketing strategies you can apply today that will directly help drive sales tomorrow:
1. Sales Support
One way to help drive sales through the power of marketing is to dedicate some of your marketing resources directly to sales support. This means that qualified members of your marketing team — those with excellent skills in copywriting, design and formatting among other skills – spend part or all of their time providing support to the sales process.
Examples of sales support include proposal writing and formatting, preparing qualifications summaries, enhancing the presentation and depth of estimates and price quotes, and assisting sales team members in selecting and using the right marketing resources in each sales cycle.
2. Lead Nurturing
Once your marketing team has dedicated time and resources to sales support, the next step you can take is to engage in lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is a process that involves both automated and manual steps to strengthen the engagement and education of your sales leads.
This can be as simple as preparing a special offer to go out to all current leads, or as sophisticated as creating email workflows that guide new leads through a particular set of steps (such as downloading a relevant white paper or reviewing an online buying guide).
3. Content Marketing
Whereas sales support and lead nurturing are focused on managing existing leads and opportunities to success, the next two strategies are primarily oriented toward generating and qualifying new leads. First, content marketing:
Content marketing is a strategy that emphasizes the creation of high-quality content for your target audience – such as blog articles, white papers, eBooks, videos, podcasts and more. In addition to these digital formats, you can also use content marketing to develop and deploy seminar programs, live workshops, published books or monographs, and other ‘real-world’ components as well.
The vision of content marketing is to provide everyone who comes across your business (whether in person or online) extensive opportunities to explore, educate and engage with your company through valuable information that strengthens both the prospect’s understanding, and your brand perception and standing.
4. Inbound Marketing
The fourth strategy is inbound marketing. Like content marketing, it focuses primarily on generating new leads. Inbound marketing includes many of the concepts used in content marketing, but the difference is in its intensive focus on targeted online lead generation.
Beginning with a thoroughly-researched set of online keyword phrases (which, themselves are founded on clearly defined buyer personas), you target all of your online content toward these keywords, while further supplementing the content with both search engine optimization (SEO) and social media communication.
By using one or more of these proven marketing strategies, you can work to ensure that your marketing and sales teams are working toward the same goals — and that you’re providing adequate marketing expertise and support to your hard-working field sales force. The result will be stronger sales cycles, better win rates and a stronger market position for your business.