How marketers can speak fluent sales (ft. success stories)

Estimated reading time
3 minutes
25th August 2020
Author: Kit McKay
Posted in: Impact & ROI, Sales

The communication divide between marketing and sales is no secret. We all know it’s there. We all know it impacts revenue. We’re all sick of hearing about it. So why do so few businesses actually do anything to address it? Let’s pull our heads out of the sand and look at a few ways marketers can start talking like salespeople (including success stories).

What’s the problem?

Essentially, marketing thinks one way about themselves and sales has a whole other idea. We commissioned some research with Forrester last year that quantified this. 51% of sales leaders say marketing does not reliably provide outcomes, data, and insights that help sales teams close a deal. Ouch. 

And it doesn’t stop there. Sales leaders are also about 18% less likely than marketing leaders to see marketing as a key driver of business growth and buyer acquisition. 

In a perfect world, marketing and sales should be aligned as this dream revenue-generating machine, but the two functions are so out of sync that they’re aiming for completely different goals and viewing their businesses under widely different lenses.

What can we do about it?

To change this image of marketing, more marketers need to learn how to talk like salespeople (ie the revenue generators). This will make their activities better support and align with the challenges sales are faced with in direct communications with leads and prospects. There are three effective ways of doing this (each method more intensive than the last):

1. Attend internal sales meetings

One of the best ways to understand sales is to sit in on their internal meetings. This is where you’ll hear the team’s priorities, objectives, and the scope of their activities.

If someone from marketing attends the weekly sales meeting, they’ll begin to understand how salespeople talk and what they talk about. This will allow them to understand the intimate mechanics of what the internal sales process looks like.

Gerry Hill from ConnectAndSell tells us that at one of his former companies, one marketer would always be brought into the daily sales standup where they’d go over a particular piece of content or insight that the sales team could bring up in their conversations that day.

“It was almost like an analyst brief that an investment bank would do,” he says. “Marketing would shave down a larger report into a sharp, concise message that we could add to our scripts, then sales would give feedback to marketing throughout the day on how that message was received and what additional conversations and questions arose from it.”

2. Sit in on external conversations

One of the biggest grievances marketing has with sales is that they don’t use the content that’s created for them. Sometimes this is a sales issue, but a lot of the time marketing is creating content in an echo chamber that doesn’t actually resonate with prospects.

Sales might tell you the top-level issues and topics appearing in their conversations, but really it’s the finer details that help build a full picture of who you’re creating content for. SalesHub reports that 95% of buyers make a purchase from a company that gave them content at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Being present for external sales conversations allows you to hear micro-details that inform content ideas to patch up any holes in your funnel.

Hearing firsthand how sales positions your product in the market and how prospects describe their pains and your solution in their own words is essential to sync up external communications across the business.

3. Try sales for a day

The most extreme (and mildly terrifying) solution to aligning marketing and sales communications is to have marketers actually get on the phone like a salesperson would and talk directly with prospects.

Urged on by Jonathon Ilett from Cognism, who has successfully adopted this practice at Cognism, Karla Rivershaw – Head of Marketing at Turtl – gave sales calling a go for a day.

The goal of this exercise was to help a marketer better empathize with what the sales team actually gets up to on a day-to-day basis and to facilitate direct communication between marketing and the people they’re trying to reach.

Not only did Karla have these important conversations, but she even booked a meeting on her first call without explicitly trying. Is there a better example of marketing speaking sales than that?

Watch her experience here:

Turtl