sad man kneeling on one knee, looking at young attractive woman
What talking to sales often feels like. 

All you marketers have been down this road before, a sales team that says you aren’t helping yet is a black hole when you ask “how can we help?”

It’s . . . frustrating, right?

We’re going through that with a few of our clients now.

Marketing essentially has two jobs:

  1. Bring people to the table to make a purchase (either directly or via a salesperson, depending on the product)
  2. Lay the groundwork of awareness and trust that you’re a company worth spending money with

Of course, there’s a lot of devils in a lot of details as to HOW those jobs are accomplished, but those are the two basic things marketing does for a company.

To be effective, marketing needs the help of sales.

Sales, to be blunt, is often too-self important and self-absorbed to bother helping.

They’re too busy doing the “real” work of selling things and paying those lazy marketing SOBs’ salaries.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t try to take credit for a sale or you’re going to be accused of attempting to take bread from their mouths by cutting into commissions.

These all-too-common attitudes from sales people can crush an inbound marketing initiative.

The pity of it is all inbound marketers want to do is get in the heads of sales, find out what customers want/don’t want, and figure out how to bring more customers to the table so that sales can make MORE sales.

Help Me, Help You

During a conversation last week as we talked over these issues, I thought of Jerry Maguire begging Rod Tidwell to stop being an asshole so he could bring him a bigger contract and endorsement deals.

I’m semi-convinced that every person in marketing has been Jerry Maguire at some point in their career.

Help me, help you.

Help me, help you: content. When we create emails and content to help position a business as a trusted resource, share that information with your networks. Every blog post has a sharing icon, click one. It takes seconds. Or set yourself up on blog alerts. USE that content to help sell your value to customers and potential customers.

Help me, help you: customers. About that content, TELL US WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT! Google and keywords can be an inscrutable black box as you rely on signals in the form of stats to indicate what your customers are interested in. You actually talk to customers and potential customers – what do they want? Share that with us and we can give you ammunition to help move a sales process forward.

Help me, help you: leads. What’s a good lead for you? Inbound programs set up lead scoring thresholds before sending leads to sales. Are we sending leads over too late? Too soon? Don’t just bitch that the leads suck, tell someone WHY they suck. Then – holy shit! – we can make them better!

Help me, help you: cold calling. Cold kill me. I don’t know when the last time I answered a phone number I don’t recognize. How many calls do you make before you find someone that answers the phone AND is willing to talk to you AND is actually interested in what you have to say? I know, I know. It’s visible. It’s active. It’s also the modern day equivalent of busy work. Maybe try “warm calling”, informed by inbound. Requires a little more patience and legwork on your part rather than just hammering your way through a script, but salespeople I trust tell me it’s more effective.

Help me, help you: meetings. Don’t blow off marketing meetings. Sometimes, sure, things happen. Repeatedly ignoring your marketing team’s attempt to pick your brain to understand customers better? That’s just being a dick. Don’t be a dick.

Help me, help you: ROI. There’s no ROI for inbound, let’s do radio spots and cold call. This is possibly my favorite. Can we use radio spots to tie into a marketing campaign? Do you have any sales focal points next month (or quarter)? When you’ve done these things in the past, what was the ROI for those efforts? Crickets. But, hey, I can listen to a radio spot between cold calls as I drive from appointment to appointment so therefore it’s a tangible good thing. Kill me.

There’s more, but I’m winding down on my rant.

Sales, come down off of your “I keep the company afloat” attitude. Talk to the marketing team. Look, they’re not talking to your arrogant ass for the fun of it. They’re trying to do their job. And they’re job is to help you sell more.

Share what you know. Hell, you might be surprised at how well it works.

Help me, help you.

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