In construction, but certainly not limited to this industry alone, sales and marketing departments experience disconnects.
Indeed, each department has very different responsibilities, skills, and priorities, however ultimately, everyone is working toward the same goal.
Too often, a close working relationship between sales and marketing isn’t prioritised. We’re strong believers in doing the opposite.
Taking a collaborative and holistic approach to your sales & marketing planning, will strengthen the relationship between the departments, and more importantly, you will see a difference in your pipeline, and commercial results.
Here’s our top 12 tips to making your sales and marketing function work harder.
1. Begin with commercial conversations
Before any marketing activity begins, set out what the requirements and expectations of the company are in terms of sales and lead generation.
Ask the question, exactly how much revenue do we need to generate this year, where is the growth going to come from, and how does that translate into leads?
Crunch some numbers and define your ‘Sales PIN’. The PIN method is an effective way to help you understand exactly how many enquiries are needed.
Let’s look at a basic example:
Out of 100 qualified enquiries, around 20 will become leads, from which you will get 1 sale. Your PIN is defined at 100:20:1.
Therefore, to make 50 sales per year, marketing needs to generate 500 qualified enquiries a year, or just over 40 per month.
This is not an exact science, but its good to start with numbers that are realistic and ‘feel’ accurate based on existing data and the experience of your team. You can refine as you gain more data.
Once the marketing department knows how many enquiries they need to to hit this goal, they can make better decisions on what marketing activity should happen.
2. Define what a qualified lead looks like
Now marketing knows how many leads they must generate, the second part is ensuring the right kind of leads are generated.
There’s little point spending time & effort planning and executing lead generation campaigns, and sales concluding that the leads are not in the right focus area.
Without an idea of your ideal lead, it is difficult to make an effective plan. To combat this, have your sales team define their ‘perfect lead’. Ask the question, if you were to go and pitch to anyone today, who would they be?
Use the following criteria to help steer the conversation;
- Job title
- Company size
- Geographical location
- Where their key projects are geographically
- What stage do you want to engage with them? Are they in the concept, or planning stage?
- What products / services would they need
Simply asking for enquiries from ‘specifiers’ or ‘architects’ is too broad.
Only with the above information can a marketing team be precise, and target their marketing efforts enough to bring the sales team good quality, relevant leads.
Following this, when the enquiries start to come through, the sales team can weed out the irrelevant queries to find the genuine leads, and nurture those into sales.
3. Sales need to share details about their leads
When sales teams are open about the types of leads they see and the conversations they have, it adds value to the work marketing produces. Also, it provides immediate feedback on whether they are getting the right people down the funnel.
If sales are talking to exactly who they need, great!
However, if they are receiving left-field enquiries, or are having irrelevant conversations with people who have come across your services, it is clear a change in the targeting or strategy is needed.
Ask the sales team to provide you with a list of leads, an update on conversations and hot prospects on a monthly basis.
If they lost a job, ask why. If leads are not on point, as why. The more feedback and insight you can get from sales the better.
4. Track and measure every lead
Tracking and measurement is vital to be able to evaluate the success of your campaigns.
CRM systems allow you to evaluate the quality of your leads and where they have come from. Spend time training both your sales and marketing teams on how to use it, and get it set up properly. Ensure all leads are assigned a source. Good examples might be Event X, Website Lead, Publication X promotion, Whitepaper Campaign, etc etc.
Doing this religiously going forward will mean you will be able to optimise and refine your campaigns and communications, getting you the best results possible and maximising return on your time and money.
Sometimes smaller opportunities which later can become valuable customers are overlooked. CRM systems, lead nurturing, retargeting campaigns, and email follow-ups ensure every piece of interest is brought into the funnel, delivering you measurable inbound opportunities.
5. Utilise social media prospecting
Particularly in the construction industry, the pandemic has drastically changed how business is conducted.
Sales reps who now work remotely have lost the freedom to visit specifiers, architects, and sites in person, so traditional relationship building techniques alone cannot be relied on anymore.
Make the most of social platforms like LinkedIn to network and reach out to prospects.
Be consistently active; by sharing insightful content in your industry or from your company. It will elevate your personal profile, and give potential customers an opportunity to see who you are and where your expertise lies.
Social media today is a key channel where marketing can support the sales team in what kind of content to share, how to present themselves, and how to approach people.
LinkedIn is the best example of how sales teams are being asked to perform marketing tasks. Sales teams are often reluctant to use social media, so ensure the team get proper training and insight on why they are being asked to it, and showcase the benefits to get them onboard.
You make the process smoother, or if the sales team are less techy and hard to get onboard, use automation tools such as our very own social outreach tool to keep efforts to a minimum and let the marketing team manage the process of lead nurturing.
6. Implement an account based marketing strategy
Account based marketing is a marketing method where you identify specific companies you want to work with and tailoring marketing materials or messages on a company by company basis. This allows you to personalise and fine-tune your offering for each potential prospect.
Approach prospects with a service or product from a bespoke perspective to warm them up to your brand and company, before a sales representative reaches out. This increases the chances of the lead becoming a customer, and ensures the sales team spends their time on valuable conversations.
Account based marketing is an effective approach for deepening your relationships with existing clients. Targeting ‘similar’ and interested parties within your existing client accounts will allow you to make gains more quickly. Providing examples of shared successes you have achieved because of the relationship will help open other opportunities within that existing client. ABM also protects your account should a team member leave either business due to the broader and deeper relationships built up.
7. Sales and Marketing should regularly attend each other’s meetings
Have regular touchpoint meetings to hear and understand what each department is working on.
Although some may think certain conversations are not relevant, we must remember how little interaction most marketing teams get with customers and ‘the real world’.
Have proper conversations about what is happening in the industry to highlight important information. It may present a concern, or indeed an opportunity to the marketing department.
Furthermore, it is always valuable to share knowledge so everyone has a base level understanding of projects, customers or prospects.
8. Embrace digital
An advantage digital has over traditional marketing is the ability to track your marketing efforts and see the real data and results. You can effectively target your activity with SEO tactics and content, ensuring only relevant people see your marketing.
For example, digital advertising allows you to cut through the noise and reach exactly who you want to engage with. Especially with paid ads, Google ads, and email marketing.
Nailing your inbound marketing will contribute to website traffic, brand awareness, and an authoritative digital presence. All of which feeds your pipeline, and ultimately revenue.
Embrace digital to ensure communication between sales and marketing teams stays open. The ability to collaborate and bounce ideas off each other, regardless of where you are in the world, should not be undervalued.
Digital also allows you to take advantage of increasingly popular online events and webinars, where sales and marketing departments can collaborate on to produce.
Talking with people about the brilliant things your company offers without the need to be in the same room is very appealing to some. This way, geographical, or indeed pandemic restrictions do not prohibit meaningful conversations and business opportunities.
9. Incentivise the sales team to set up case studies
Case studies are an effective and influential way to showcase your company’s past successes. They act as an in-depth review of your products and services, showing potential customers what they could achieve with your help.
They are sometimes challenging to set up as usually a sales representative needs to initiate the conversation, who may have reservations in order to protect the relationship.
However, get the timing right and you gain a very valuable marketing tool.
Incentivise your sales team, or encourage them to include a case study within their contracts with customers, so the marketing team has an easier time creating high quality marketing content.
10. Ask the Sales team to create a sales pitch FAQ document
Tap into the sales pitch environment is a learning environment and produce a go-to document for the marketing team.
Relay what customers find important and get any frequently asked questions down on paper.
There will be conversations, questions, and viewpoints which will guide marketing productions. It will also make your messages and content stronger, and more tailored to the customer.
11. Train the Marketing team on specification sales
Training the marketing team in the process of specification selling will provide valuable insights into the wider industry.
The marketing team will learn the different ways sales talk to and pitch to prospects, provide them a better understanding of different contract types and how the audience interests change within these different scenarios.
The marketing team will understand to a deeper level, when and how they can influence these audiences. It will provide the marketing team an awareness of what is actually needed by the specifier, and how your services can help them at each stage of their project.
12. Bring the marketing team to sales pitches
Sales are on the cold face of any business. They have more interaction with the customer than most other departments. This makes them best placed to be your market researchers. It’s imperative that they share their market and product knowledge, as well as industry changes and feedback from industry.
They benefit from talking to their customers and prospects regularly, and so understand their real-life pain points and needs.
Give your marketing team some hands-on experience with the target group by allowing them to attend pitches, attend customer visits, hear complaint or issue handling. It will give your marketing team real exposure to the market, which in turn will spark ideas, refine messaging and plan new initiatives.
13. Collaboration between Sales & Marketing gets results
A closer relationship between Sales and Marketing is not just a nice to have, it’s essential.
A well thought out, sales focused digital marketing strategy that creates leads and builds a long term and sustainable pipeline.
Pauley Creative can help with everything from specification sales training, kpi and goal setting, to strategic planning, social prospecting, campaign roll out & reporting.
If you’d like to start your journey of transforming how your sales and marketing team can work together better, get in touch and let us help you on the journey.