I recall a few years ago seeing a full page ad in the New York Times promoting a new internet bundle. I called the 1-800 number and the courteous woman on the other end of the line had no idea what I was talking about. Management had not informed the call center employees about the new promotion.
Sadly, too many organizations are launching marketing programs without understanding what the sales force’s priorities are during that time, and without effectively communicating or coordinating with them. It’s essential for the sales force to be anticipating the marketing support, for their goals and incentives to be aligned, and for them to be informed and if necessary trained on what they need to do with the leads and interest that is generated. A combined marketing and sales calendar that allows for campaigns to be integrated is the best way to ensure this happens.
In fact, studies show that an integrated marketing and sales campaign delivers 50-100% better results than either by itself.
A great place to start is to review a copy of your organization's sales campaign calendar. If the sales team is focusing on home equity with a sales campaign in the second quarter, they will welcome your marketing support, including sales leads for them to call. And any direct mail provider will tell you that a mail piece followed up by an effective sales call will outperform mail alone by as much as 3 or 4 to one. That’s a 300-400% sales lift. That’s why coordination with the sales team is so important.
As a marketer, you should be planning your promotional calendar to reinforce the sales calendar. Your team should be meeting with the sales team at least monthly to coordinate campaign timing and support. And you should be sharing results back and forth at least weekly during the campaign period. Ideally, you should agree on measurement and reporting and issue a single report that summarizes both marketing and sales key performance indicators.
This reinforces not just to the sales organization but to executive management that sales and marketing are collaborating effectively, and that marketing is an investment, not an expense.
When it comes to communication, you should also remember that your employee base is just as important as the prospects and customers you are trying to reach with your marketing and sales efforts.
Early in my career, I was lucky enough to visit Southwest Airlines’ headquarters and talk with its executives about what made it so successful. The common theme was commitment to employees. And when it came to marketing, the number one priority was to communicate a new product or campaign effectively to the employee base, well before external communication was launched to the public. After all, your employees should be your most loyal customers and your best brand ambassadors.
Create a campaign launch kit for them, hold rallies and webinars to launch the campaign to them, solicit their ideas and feedback, and get them excited. Have special promotions to encourage them to use the product so they are better able to explain it to prospects. And make sure they are thoroughly trained to assess client needs and sell the right product to the customer.
Good internal communication will help ensure you have happy employees who are exceeding their sales goals, and happy customers whose needs are being effectively met.
That sounds like a winning formula, and it will help you jump-start your sales results this year.
Learn more in our free webinar
For more information on the best ways to jump-start your sales initiatives for 2017, register for our webinar, "Jump-starting Your Sales Efforts in 2017," on Jan. 26 at 1:00 p.m. CDT. Register below.