There has been a long standing industry rivalry between sales and marketing departments. The challenge with this competition is when it comes at the loss of business or customer relationships. Without strong inter-department communication, sales and marketing become two lone ships battling in a fierce sea of industry competitors. This might seem like a lofty comparison, but it accurately represents the need for sales and marketing departments to not only effectively communicate, but to also share their networks and more specifically their email lists.
Why Is Communication Between Sales and Marketing Important?
The sales department relies on marketing for lead nurturing and brand awareness. Conversely, the marketing department relies on sales to follow-up on their carefully curated leads so that product or service sales can increase and campaigns can subsequently be tailored for enhanced Return On Investment(s) (ROIs). When marketing and sales fail to communicate effectively the following negative results are more likely to occur:
- Marketing doesn’t receive the up-to-date audience insights that they need to tailor their content creation efforts.
- Sales doesn’t state why leads are failing to convert, which results in marketing’s failure to adjust content messages.
- Sales doesn’t know what pieces of content correlate to specific stages of the sales funnel, which results in misused content.
- Marketing doesn’t know what content is needed to reduce bottlenecks within the sales funnel and subsequently increase sales.
To avoid the above occurrences, marketing and sales need to improve their communication so that they can work together to better understand the customer. This improvement starts with sharing email lists.
Why Should Sales And Marketing Share Email Lists?
Email lists are a prime publication channel that marketers and sales associates use to communicate with their intended audience. From “Judy Homebody” to “Pete The Executive” email lists are often created from designated audience personas. As we know, personas are an effective tool for understanding how past, current, and prospective customers interact with a business. The personas are designed to create positive interactions that are based on the right type of communication. For example, the language used to speak to “Judy Homebody” might not be the same as the style used to communicate with “Pete The Executive.” Without personas, both marketers and sales associates are stuck playing a guessing game as they seek to identify the who, what, where, when, and why a person is interacting with their company. In short, audience personas help sales and marketers get their foot in the door as they start to build a strong relationship.
The use of audience personas breaks down when sales and marketers aren’t given insights into the other’s activities. For example, the marketing department might have identified a certain type of lead as a “Judy Homebody,” while the sales department has ascertained that the lead is in fact a “Pete The Executive.” As you might have guessed from the assigned names, the characteristics for each type of lead are entirely different. In other words, when marketing and sales don’t communicate regarding their assigned audience personas and subsequent division of cleaned email lists, they are less likely to build relationships and close sales. This unfortunate dilemma can be resolved in a few key steps.
Step #1: The marketing department needs to know how sales communicates with past, current, and prospective customers. — Everyone has a different communication style; however, this difference must be made as seamless as possible when it concerns customer communications. In other words, a customer can’t be primed for one type of interaction (based on the blog posts, articles, white papers, and even emails sent by marketing teams) only to be faced with an entirely different experience from the sales department. If marketers don’t understand how the sales associates interact with customers, then they won’t be able to create a unified brand voice.
Step #2: The sales department needs to know and understand what content is available to readily send to leads. — Marketing teams spend hours developing content that solves a specific need. For example, a lead might make a post on LinkedIn regarding their need for a software solution to resolve Human Resources (HR) bottlenecks. In this situation, a marketing team might have already crafted a high value white paper that showcases the benefits of your company’s software solution, as well as its applications within HR departments. In order to effectively reach out to the lead in a timely fashion, the sales department must know that a) the aforementioned white paper exists, and b) that it is the piece of content best suited for converting the warm lead. The latter knowledge can only be achieved when when sales and marketing communicate regarding available content.
Step #3: Both the sales and marketing department need to remain in-sync for the buyer’s entire journey. — As alluded to with our earlier audience persona discussion, sales associates and marketers must communicate effectively or risk falling out of sync during the buyer’s journey. To remain in-sync, the two departments will need to not only share their email lists, but they will need to also answer the following questions:
- Why was the email list created?
- Does the email list correlate to a specific stage of the sales funnel?
- What content should be sent to each email list?
- What audience persona is associated with the email list?
- How are these personas being created?
- Do both departments agree with the characteristics that are being assigned to each type of persona?
- What other communication or publication channels are being used to interact with members of the email list?
The Bottom Line: Effective Communications Require Shared Email Lists
In order for sales associates to understand marketers (and vice versa) effective communications must be established and email lists must be shared. However, as seen with the above three steps, sharing an email list is only as good as your ability to explain why a lead is placed onto one list and not another. Through the latter insights, marketing and sales can become a unified team that effectively uses the same brand voice, shares the right content with the correct leads, creates strong relationships, and generates more sales.