Unleashing the Power of Marketing + Sales with Social Media

Recently, I was working on an innovative social media idea that our sales team thought could really drive new sales. I was directed to get in touch with our Marketing contacts to collaborate and coordinate a speedy implementation. I have to admit, marketing is light-years ahead of Sales when it comes to using social, so I was excited to talk to the marketing team to get their input. But I got confused as I began to navigate the various ways we were marketing to customers: print, digital and paid SEO.  More worrying was the fact that some of the marketing initiatives I was totally unaware of as a sales person. Furthermore, some of the campaign pieces missed what I thought the main drivers were with my customers for the services we sold.

For me this underlined a gap and the need for sales and marketing to get in better synch with one another.

To date I have posted about what the sales teams need to do to come up to speed on social and the potential advantages with clients. Instead, in this post, I would like to explore how marketing teams might bridge the gap with their sales partners.

1. Seek sales input

While marketing directives should rightly come from the strategy teams, it is important to ask the sales channels how to best reach their business clients. Sales can provide insights on which channels their customers are using to find information and thought-leadership. Also, by asking for input from sales a willing partner is made. Sales will be much more like to assist in the success of the campaign if they are included in the project development phase.

2. Make sales ambassadors of the message

Exceptional social marketing campaigns cannot escape the eyes of anyone. Unfortunately, they come along infrequently. More often, thousands of dollars are spent developing a content that sales does not use or leverage with customers. Sales teams are not avoiding using tha content, they are often just unaware. I recommend considering the sales force a key target market for any marketing message. Consider how to use social media and traditional methods to put the campaign message in front of the sales teams. By helping them internalize the message, they will help to spread it. Email blasts to the sales force are rarely successful and nothing takes the place of engaging content. Sales people are extremely prone to learning and retelling stories. If marketing helps the sales team to learn the story they want told, word of mouth will move that message to clients and prospects.

3. Work with social savvy sales partners

Every organization is going to have a few social savvy sales people. Seek them out and build a team to help push messages through their social networks. We have developed this at my company. Each week the marketing team sends out a note with examples of messages and content that is pre-packaged and easily sharable. While it may be hard to quantify the impact of doing this, the cost and time required is minimal and it drives sales teams to engage with marketing messages. Furthermore, it keeps dialog and communications open between the teams which can drive future collaboration and understanding.

Have you seen this dynamic between sales and marketing at your company? What is your marketing team doing to stay aligned with sales channels in the B2B space?

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