05 Aug Sales vs Marketing: The Case of the Awkward Follow Up Call
I was sitting in the drive-through line at the bank when my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but I answered anyway. The conversation went like this:
Caller: Ms. Hamblin?
Caller: This is [his name that I do not remember] with [company I don’t know]. You were on our website recently and I’m calling to follow up.
Caller: Do you have any questions that I can answer.
Me: What was I doing on your website? I don’t remember the company name.
Caller: Oh, I don’t know I just received your name to follow up.
Me: I’m sure I downloaded an ebook or white paper, but I don’t remember exactly what it was.
Caller: [laughs] yeah, I’m sure that’s it. Did you have any questions?
Me: Since I don’t remember what I was looking for, I don’t have any questions about it.
I promise I’m not making that scenario up. It was my turn at the drive-through so I had to ask him to call me back later (which he did not). I just kept thinking their inbound marketing just didn’t go quite far enough. He had the contact information he needed to follow up, but the marketing team forgot to send over the WHY he needed to follow up.
It’s hard sometimes for marketing and sales to work out just the right communications strategy so everyone has the information they need to do their jobs well. Making the most of your B2B inbound marketing strategy and software depends on everyone being “in the know”.
Start by asking questions
Pull your marketing and sales teams together and start by asking what’s missing. What information does the sale team need that marketing isn’t handing over? In this case, it might have just been an oversight or lack of training of the sales team to know where to look for the information. The marketing team may not have realized their bonus offer wasn’t so memorable that the recipient would automatically know who they were. If your teams have had conflicts in the past, it might be best to ask for each team to write out a few things they wish they other team would tell them or do to make follow up easier. While the sales team may ask for more information on leads from marketing, marketing needs to ask sales about common questions, problems or discussions that go on with prospective or current clients. This information can help marketing develop online or hard copy materials that makes sale’s job easier.
Keep communication open
Encourage marketing to check in with the salesperson who followed up on a lead to find out how it went. It’s possible the lead wasn’t any good. From this, the marketing team can look at the keywords, referring website, form, and content that drew in the lead. Are a majority of leads from one of these sources not panning out? Use this information to create an A-B test, scrap content that’s not working or tweak some keywords. Instead of harboring frustration, give the sales team a place to talk about extra information they need or difficult questions they’ve encountered.
Investigate all the issues
It’s easy for sales and marketing to blame each other for failure to create quick growth for the company. While marketing should investigate the origin of consistently bad leads, the sales team should review phone calls regularly to make sure all team members are trained on the marketing and sales strategy, what data they need to access before making a phone call, how to set a follow up strategy and how to send a lead back to marketing if it just needs a little more nurturing (like maybe through e-mail.) Make sure everyone involved in the process has access to the same information and that they know how to find the data they need.
Supply the right information
It’s possible neither the marketing department or the sales department had the right information to make the above phone call a success. So where does the blame fall? Squarely on the shoulders of the software being used. As a company grows and technology changes, teams must look for better solutions to their lead generation and follow up problems. For many companies a third organization has been thrown into the sales vs marketing fray–the technology department. Ask for help in finding software to solve the problems at hand, do some research into the software available, ask your counterparts at other companies what they use. Involve people from sales, marketing and technology to make sure any new software meets the needs of all the departments.
Create buy-in from top-level executives
When sales and marketing (and, yes, even technology) work together to create a system that increases leads and customers, it’s hard for the top level executives to deny the need for all three departments. Before asking for more funds for a new software solution, create a B2B advertising strategy to make the most of what you already have. Show teamwork and a concentrated effort to create a B2B inbound marketing strategy that works better. Detail how additional employees, new software or a new system would increase productivity and the number of sales closed using firm numbers.
It’s easy to talk about creating an environment of working together, but much harder to implement it. Where is your hand-off from marketing to sales falling flat?