Sales and marketing jargon and buzzwords do have a purpose. In the same way members of a tribe can communicate complete concepts with a few well-chosen words and gestures, so too can players on sales and marketing teams communicate in ways that are economical with both time and words.
At times, however, this shorthand can also dilute the meaning of words, their purpose, and the actions they drive. In both sales and marketing, it’s important to make sure everyone understands what the word implies and people are not just parroting what they hear it to fit in.
Case in point: campaign. How many times a day do we hear the word? Does it always mean the same thing? Does it even mean what it used to?
Let’s start by defining the word. According to Merriam-Webster:
Definition of campaign
1: a connected series of military operations forming a distinct phase of a war: i.e. the bombing campaign
2: a connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result: i.e. an election campaign, an advertising campaign
Notice the use of the word military, not just army, or another branch, but the whole military. All the assets working together towards a common cause – not separately for their own purpose as is sometimes the case with sales and marketing groups.
So, if you’re in sales and you think campaigns only involve marketing, you’re limiting yourself. The same is true for marketers who ignore the opportunity to work with sales teams. I have always said that marketing provides the air cover for the ground troops which is sales. This requires two-way communication to achieve the common goal.
Sales needs to guide marketings’ efforts based on ground truth. This allows for flexibility and targeting, which leads to better use of resources to achieve greater results.
This micro/macro view of a campaign works well for revenue as well. Marketing is in a much better position to evaluate long and mid-term trends and create content reflecting those viewpoints. Delivering content and insight for someone trying to understand sometimes complicated trends and issues will require your teams to formulate an action plan.
How to get started
Start by mapping out what you know to be your buyers’ typical purchase process and journey. Decide what kind of content makes sense at critical points. Focus on the kind of content that’s required initially, not a specific piece of content. With the different points identified, you should be able to see areas where a different approach to communication loops internally, leading to better communication with buyers.
Nurturing with content at the right time
For example, if I am an owner of a medium-size business and I hear my competitors are thinking about moving to the cloud, I am not ready to learn about the advantages of one vendor over another. That will happen if and when I actually do decide to make the move. The first thing I need to understand is the terrain, the options, the pitfalls and potential rewards. The content I’m interested in at this stage needs to focus on these topics and be vendor agnostic.
That sounds simple enough, but too many marketers wrap only a smidge of insight and focus heavily on brand and product. This impacts the credibility of real insights and makes things harder for salespeople in the long run.
If marketing owns the thought-shaping part of the journey, sales own the portion when the prospect turns from consideration and decision to action: Which vendors can do what we need and how?
This phase calls for a different type of content. This is the time for targeted action-oriented content with product details and testimonials from other satisfied customers. The targeting cannot be achieved or accurate without guidance and feedback from the front line, sales.
And to be honest, sales often lets down the side. We are vocal when things are not working but rarely offer a word when things are chugging along. This leaves marketing to make assumptions and develop plans without the 360 degrees of information available. This certainly doesn’t add the efficiency of sales or selling.
While there are plenty of examples of marketing and sales executing campaigns together, the best results occur when there is clear communication between the two parties.