As someone who grew up in sales, but now lives in marketing, it always amazes me how marketing and sales approaches prospecting so differently and how often they are disconnected. Maybe this used to make sense when we could rely on a traditional sales funnel to market to “suspects” that would become sales prospects down the road. But the process is not that linear anymore.
Consider this: what if Marketing and Sales worked more closely together to make a more impactful impression on potential prospects?
Lead with giving value
As a buyer of many different B2B products and services for our organization, I am most likely to engage with a company that offers something valuable in the form of trends, success tips or trial offers before we buy.
Sending me emails that simply say, “Do you know about my product? And do you want to buy it?” does not provide value or incentive to interact. [Quick hint: hitting “forward” on an email to ask if I have received the previous email asking “Do you know about my product? And do you want to buy it?” does not make the information more valuable.]
Some advice we give to channel partners trying to market their services is to start by using the assets that marketing has already produced to make their prospecting emails and phone calls more relevant and intriguing.
Work with marketing to pick some infographics, articles, or media as the value you share to earn the right for your prospect’s time. Showcasing a business outcome is more likely to open the door. For example “I want to make sure you saw this study on … Can I take you through the highlights that other customers found most impactful?”
Sharing value is a great way to strengthen your social selling efforts as a modern cold calling method. On LinkedIn, for example, it is easy to network with prospects in ways that simply refer to material already shared on the site. A good example of a LinkedIn communication I recently received went something like this: “I noticed you recently downloaded and shared a whitepaper from our website. Are you working on a project that I could help provide you with more information? If not, enjoy our free resources.”
Why was this good? It provided me with what I need to do my job: knowledge from the whitepaper plus proactive support from a knowledgeable sales rep, so I can contact someone directly when looking for more.
Have a plan to stack more value
To build upon adding value, sales can develop a mini version of an email campaign that can be sent directly by the rep. This concept joins marketing nurturing emails with sales cold-calling emails to drive prospect interaction with higher value.
Again, this is all about offering strong value. Multiple emails can become as overbearing as repetitive voicemails. Instead, differentiate yourself by providing information in a thoughtful sequence. Target three to four emails that share information you want them to know about your products and industry. Then, allow space for their response with three to four working days in between each email.
In this format, it is possible to plan what information you share in advance. These assets can build upon each other, strengthening your position and giving reason for the prospect to pay attention. By giving information, you earn the right to call as a follow-up, which provides the opportunity to move the conversation forward toward discovering an opportunity. Then, rinse and repeat.
First things first
It is easy to get started with these two practices because it is leveraging what has already been created. First, connect with your marketing organization or the vendors you work with. Ask them what is the most popular piece of content, what piece of collateral has the most downloads, or the video with the most hits. Using their data on what is working will help guarantee the usefulness of the information you are sharing.
After you get the hang of these two practices, consider looking at your other current marketing resources and strategize on how they can be leveraged within your traditional sales practices.
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