Public relations and marketing often operate separately from sales in large organizations. That can lead to a lack of coordination and missed sales opportunities.
Collaboration between marketing and sales may be more important than ever due to economic difficulties caused by Covid-19.
Almost two-thirds (60%) of salespeople expect a decrease in making quota for closing deals, and 18% anticipate a significant decrease, according to LinkedIn’s new global State of Sales report. Additionally, 44% of salespeople expect a decrease in responsiveness to outreach efforts; 8% anticipate a significant decrease. It’s has clearly gotten harder to sell.
That means the sales department may be more open to new ideas from marketing teams, says Sean Callahan, senior manager of content marketing at LinkedIn. The LinkedIn research reveals current trends in B2B sales and how PR and marketing people can respond to help boost sales.
How the Changing Sales Environment Impacts Marketing
B2B salespeople who once relied on conferences and trade shows for leads have seen those opportunities vanish. Most (77%) are holding virtual meetings and many (51%) are sending more emails to source leads. PR and marketing professionals can help their sales counterparts by producing scripts to support virtual meetings and content for emails.
Sales teams rely more on data, specifically for measuring performance (49%), prospecting (49%) and targeting the appropriate the industries (47%). Sales teams with a clear data strategy tend to close more deals. Access to timely and relevant data is now a major key to success.
With more data-oriented personnel in sales, marketing teams must improve their data analytics skills and prepare data-supported evidence that shows how marketing helps drive success for the sales team.
To close deals, salespeople must begin earning the trust of buyers even before they first contact them. Almost all buyers (92%) say they’re more likely to consider a brand when a sales rep “shares content applicable to my role in the buying process.” To help sales, marketers must create content that’s relevant to every member of the buying team.
Top-performing salespeople are more than twice as likely to call leads from marketing excellent. “Marketers may benefit from understanding what process top performers at their company use to handle leads compared with regular performers,” Callahan says. “The exercise could yield insight that would benefit marketing, sales, and the entire organization.”
More Advice on How Marketing and Sales Can Work Better Together
Enterprise media monitoring and measurement. PR or marketing personnel typically oversee media monitoring and measurement, including social media monitoring. Social media listening can directly benefit sales by spotting customers who have mentioned company products and services. It can also identify disaffected customers of competitors.
Closing sales deals with the help of social media listening requires a well-trained and well-organized sales team. The company must fit the lead into its traditional sales funnel, and its sales staff must respond appropriately – with proper etiquette and without aggressive sales tactics. The strategy requires a robust enterprise media monitoring tool, carefully selected keyword phrases, and the right follow-up from the sales team.
Cooperation between PR and marketing. PR and marketing professionals can improve performance of both their departments and the overall organization and help increase sales by working together more closely. The most successful organizations tend to have cohesive marketing and PR programs working side-by-side to promote the business. Coordination between PR and marketing brings credibility, consistency and greater visibility to corporate communications messages. With close cooperation, marketing and PR can better demonstrate to management how both functions have helped the organization meet financial goals and improve corporate reputation.
Bottom Line: Now is an opportune time to increase cooperation between marketing and sales teams. As salespeople struggle to close sales, marketers can play a greater role by crafting content and campaigns that build trust with prospects.
Michael Kling is manager of public relations, marketing and social media at Glean.info, a media monitoring and measurement service that provides customized media monitoring and PR analytics solutions.