As many marketing professionals know, there is often a delicate relationship with the sales team. On one hand, you need their input and buy-in to create marketing initiatives that are useful and effective. On the other hand, you want to closely control the brand and ensure all initiatives align with your overall B2B brand.
Experienced marketing professionals know that the sales team can provide a wealth of information, suggestions, and ideas. However, one of the main struggles that many marketing professionals experience is when to approach sales for feedback (or enable them to give feedback).
In an effort to make things easier for marketing teams, ensure initiatives are effective, and to make the entire process efficient, we’ve outlined the best times for sales to give feedback to marketing.
Input Stage – Before Rollout
Sales can be a wonderful source for suggestions and ideas, as mentioned earlier. However, individual salespeople are often focused on their own goals and revenue rather than the overall brand message of the company. For this reason, it’s important to get their input but to carefully translate it into B2B branding and marketing initiatives that will be effective for the entire company.
A great time for the sales team to provide input or feedback on past initiatives is before new initiatives are ever rolled out – ideally during the idea stage. They are often a great resource for sharing what is working, what prospects are responding to, and what prospects and clients haven’t cared for in the past.
Additionally, the sales team can provide detailed information about every stage of the sales process from the beginning, middle and end of lead nurturing to the closing of the deal. B2B marketers can get a better understanding of where prospects are at during different stages of the funnel and what types of questions they have or needs to be met.
Feedback Stage – Post Rollout
Patience is definitely a virtue but is not a prerequisite for a salesperson. Remember that many salespeople live in a monthly cycle in which they have a quota to meet for closed deals. (This might be longer for B2B companies where the sales cycle is often longer than a month, but you get the idea.) However, marketing initiatives rarely deliver immediately. In fact, many initiatives take time to ramp up and start showing results.
While it may be tempting to ask sales about new marketing initiatives a week after they have rolled out, it’s far too soon to gauge whether a campaign is actually working. Instead, it’s more effective to have a longer sample timeline, such as three months. This enables the marketing team to take a more holistic, quantitative look at the initiatives to dismiss any anomalies.
Once the marketing team has a good data set on the initiatives, it’s time to check back in with sales to get their qualitative feedback. Marketing can see the number of leads sent to the sales team, but the sales team can share information on the quality of the leads, the buying intent, the closing rate, etc. This is especially helpful in the case of larger deals that take longer to close. For example, if a marketing team sends 40 marketing qualified leads (MQLs) but only three have closed after three months, it may seem like the initiatives aren’t working. However, sales can let marketing know that 15 or so of the MQLs are still in the nurturing process and reviewing proposals.
Closed Loop Feedback
At the end of the day, marketing and sales are looking to close deals and continually attract new prospects into the sales funnel. This feedback enables the marketing team to blend anecdotal information with quantitative metrics to determine the true effectiveness of marketing initiatives.