Every sale is a team effort and every business is a team. The modern sales and marketing process is all about collaboration. Marketing generates leads for sales, who work to convert them into clients, so it is essential to nurture collaborative company teams.
Building a culture of trust and encouragement is vital to any marketing driven company and as we all know, all good companies are this way inclined. Both Sales and Marketing rely upon one another to uphold their hard work to determine buyers’ motives and influences and devise suitable strategies. Marketing requires long term planning and broad appeal to the audience, whereas Sales is more concerned with the individual customer and their needs. A combination of these approaches will mean that a service is optimised for the right customers, and will increase customer conversion and longevity.
In SaaS it starts, as it always does, with the funnel.
As we all know, the funnel is an expensive process, so the key to a successful relationship throughout is avoiding a frustrating situation where sales teams feel their leads are weak, and marketing teams feel under-appreciated.
Marketers’ responsibility is much more than advertising and clicks these days, the scope has extended all the way down to interest. With leads it’s quality over quantity. Marketers therefore have the difficult task of setting customer expectations at the right level, before they proceed down the funnel.
Marketers need to know that their efforts are being passed on to competent and enthusiastic salespeople, who will put their work to good use and generate sales from the leads.
Salespeople in turn need to operate under the knowledge that they are getting warm leads and that the customer’s expectations have already been managed realistically. In large companies with big teams it is therefore advisable to create a definition for what constitutes a qualified lead, to deter teams from playing the blame game and encourage collaboration and quality processes. Sales departments need to see the correlation between big marketing budgets and sales, so if sales are low, they are inclined to blame it on the marketing process and vice versa.
Customers are empowered by living in a society crazed by the need for information and because of it little is done without first consulting the internet, whether it’s reading reviews for a restaurant before booking a meal or checking awards a hairdresser has won before making an appointment. They are forming conclusions and opinions about brands before they have come into contact with them – from reviews, forums and customer feedback. No matter what it is, people will always want to have prior knowledge of the service so that they don’t waste time and money.
Sometimes problems arise when marketing is too exhaustive or the customer is given all of the information up-front. This is not to say that customers should be left in the dark – but it is important to leave some happy surprises to wow (and convert) them during their trial. That’s why in sales the go-to method is to under promise and over deliver. There is a fine line between letting a customer know how good the service is and over-selling it before completion of a trial – the customer will just think it’s too good to be true.
What the customer needs to experience throughout the funnel is a consistent message of quality and support, backed up with tangible actions. If you’re shouting that your service is the best thing since the internet – you’d better be able to prove it!
The better approach is a more modest one. Outline the main benefits and features of the service through the marketing process and let the customer know how great it is, but leave some features until later. So a customer’s trial experience can be better managed by ensuring that it constantly improves and delights.
This serves both the customer and the business as a team, as it promotes collaboration, information sharing and cross-departmental encouragement. Having the two departments in sync is also a recipe for corporate growth and eliminating leaky funnels. Credit should always be given where credit is due. Just because the sales team got a customer over the line, doesn’t mean that they could have done it without the support of the technical team with system functions, or marketing for putting them in the funnel.
The best possible outcome would be a company team, which works together and celebrates the progression and success of the company as a whole, as well as giving individual and departmental pats on the back.