It’s been my experience that most B2B marketing departments work at a different frequency than the sales organization. Marketing seems to be looking for Mr. Right, while a salesperson is looking for Mr. Right Now.
Of course there are various motivations for these behaviors, and the obvious factor is compensation. While most marketing resources are salaried with MAYBE an annual bonus structure for meeting certain performance goals, the sales force is generally working to make a monthly or quarterly sales quota. So the marketing person and the salesperson enter the conversation with completely different perspectives on the revenue growth process.
So why should your next marketing hire be a salesperson? There are 3 reasons:
- Clarity of message
- Better alignment with both teams
- Urgency to meet goals
Clarity of Message: A salesperson’s gift to the marketing process
What a salesperson might lack in knowledge of the latest trends in marketing best practices, they will more than make up for in one significant contribution; I call this ‘Clarity of Message’. We have all been the creator or user of a marketing message developed by the marketing team that seems to either try to say too much or says all the wrong things. We have been handed a value proposition statement that is riddled with jargon and industry buzzwords. The point is, these messages are not helpful because the salespeople figure out quickly that customers are not responding to the message.
A salesperson with experience communicating directly with customers can give a reality check to the B2B marketing message. They can bring a new perspective to the value proposition that can only be found by engaging prospects in the sales funnel. The feedback loop for a salesperson is immediate and is quickly adjusted for maximum effectiveness. This perspective can be very impactful on the development of marketing messages for a business.
Better Alignment: B2B Marketing to Sales, “I’m one of you guys”
In some marketing organizations (mostly dysfunctional ones), there can exist a credibility issue with the sales force. Some sales departments look at the marketing team as disconnected and focused too much on ‘creating’ marketing and not enough on helping them find, connect with, and win new business.
By adding a salesperson to the team, and empowering them to engage with both teams to build relationships and foster goodwill, marketing can start to break down those walls and respond more directly to the needs of the sales force as well. We all know that communication is essential to great teamwork, and teamwork is fundamental to growth.
Of course, having a token sales guy on the team isn’t helpful to anyone, especially as the newest member of your team. If you choose to add a salesperson to your B2B marketing team, make sure you value their perspective and use this diversity of ideas and background to lead change within your team.
Urgency to Meet Goals: Will this effort/investment help the sales team make their number this month or quarter?
I certainly understand that not every B2B marketing investment should be directly tied to demand generation, but in most growing marketing organizations this should be at least 80% of the focus. Someone at the marketing table should always be asking the question, “How will this help the sales team hit their goals?” By challenging the team to keep new business demand generation top-of-mind, the marketing will become more sales-friendly.
Sales-friendly marketing is practical, usable, and helps the sales team identify new prospects while also helping them qualify and move opportunities through the process more efficiently. Do you have the sales department sign off on marketing collateral before printing? Is marketing collateral with email templates loaded into your CRM system used to support the various sales stages? Do you have a way to measure if your investments are actually generating revenue? By this I mean directly increasing revenue… not, “The business grew 5% this year so it must be working”.
By inviting a salesperson to join your B2B marketing team, you can improve your message, increase your engagement with the sales force, and accelerate the urgency and focus of your organization.
For what other reasons should your next B2B marketing hire be a salesperson?