There is a disconnect between what marketing is telling potential customers and what you and your sales team are actually trying to sell.
So why does marketing pitch the wrong product? And are you definitely pitching the right product?
The answers lie in the gaping chasm between the two departments.
Two sides to every story
Marketing isn’t intentionally pitching the wrong product. They simply have a different focus than sales.
Marketing is focused on the benefits of a product that attract buyers to your brand. Their campaigns are directed at buyer personas, which represent your company’s customers, not one specific customer account.
Meanwhile, your sales team speaks to customers one-on-one. You discuss specific features and performance based on what that customer needs in a product. But this can lead to short-sightedness about the possibilities of up and cross sell, that a wider marketing campaign encompasses.
A separation of duties
Marketing needs to do what they do and create campaigns while sales needs to make sure they are talking about the product that will turn leads into customers. There is nothing wrong with the focus of each department.
But a lack of communication between the two departments is what leads to frustration for your sales team.
How this plays out on the sales floor
If your sales team is looking to meet a goal on a product, for example, a certain tablet, you may know that this tablet has features which are perfect in a small business setting. However, you see a marketing campaign aimed at small business owners pitching a different tablet.
It’s not that the tablet in the campaign is a bad product, but it’s not what you would recommend to the small business owner over the phone. You end up spending time redirecting the potential buyer’s attention to the right tablet.
A leaky sales funnel
The negative impact of pitching different products to the same audience affects both marketing and sales.
First, if marketing is pitching the wrong product, they may be creating case studies or whitepapers, even whole campaigns about this product with the wrong audience in mind.
Second, customers can sense misalignment. If a customer hears different things from marketing and sales, they can disengage from your brand and look elsewhere for a similar product.
Fixing the funnel
Making the sale, converting the lead, whatever you want to call it, marketing and sales have the same goal: attracting leads and moving them through the sales funnel. You have to help each other out by opening the lines of communication.
What to tell marketing. Let marketing know what products you need to sell to make goals and which of their buyer personas each product caters to most. You can also tell them which questions or insights you get from which customers so they can develop the personas further.
What to ask for in return. Ask for specific materials (ie: case studies or whitepapers) to back up the products you’re offering to certain customers, ask to be copied in on all email blasts or relevant content that may prompt customer contact and make sure you get complete information on every lead.
Presenting a united front
If marketing and sales are aligned when it comes to the products pitched, the different focus of each department is a benefit. As potential customers move through the buyer process, they get a consistent experience with the company’s brand.
If they hear about the benefits of the right product from marketing, the customer can transition flawlessly to your sales team to discuss the details and features of the product that will suit their needs.
With transparency and communication, sales can help marketing pitch the right product to the benefit of both departments and the customer.
(Hat tip to TheBusyBrain for the photo)