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How to connect sales and marketing

Posted by Adrienne Walder on Nov 26, 2014 12:13:00 PM

Within many organisations, including those operating in the life science and healthcare arenas, there can be a lack of communication, understanding and occasionally even respect between the sales and the marketing teams. While the sales team’s remit is nurturing contacts and making sales, the marketing team is tasked with developing initiatives and materials to make the sales process easier. It is therefore surprising that these two highly interlinked functions can sometimes appear to be working completely independently of each other.

We are often challenged with creating programs to help sales and marketing work seamlessly together to drive sales. Clearly solutions vary dramatically from company to company and are always tailored to the individual structure and needs of each organisation. Here are some of the initiatives we can create and implement to get your sales and marketing teams working more collaboratively to drive sales.

Planning Day

At the start of the marketing planning process, we recommend arranging a planning day for key personnel within the business, including members of your sales and after-sales teams. This is an opportunity to get feedback from the people at the front line of your business, as they are interacting with your customers on a daily basis and have valuable insights to share, including sales obstacles, customer feedback and competitor activity. We are experienced at moderating planning days and our clients often find it useful to have an impartial third party leading the sessions and providing an alternative perspective. We’ve also led many such sessions in the past, allowing us to bring a diversity of experience to the planning day that can often be missing inside organisations, especially those with small marketing and/or sales teams.

Online Surveys

As well as regular face to face sales and marketing team meetings, developing and distributing online surveys to the sales team three to four times a year can help to benchmark and monitor a number of parameters that are important to your sales process. These could range from whether the company brand is being correctly and consistently represented, understanding and usage of key messaging, and the marketing materials most valued and used by the sales team to help nurture prospects through the buying journey. It can also provide an opportunity for the sales team to provide confidential feedback on how the marketing support could be improved. For example, the feedback may demonstrate that the sales team is not being provided with access to sufficient clinical data to make the business case for a product, or there is limited knowledge of the range of purchasing solutions available to customers and more research is required to effectively position your offering in the minds of customers.

 
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Sales toolkits

In today’s connected world it is easier than ever to develop a comprehensive toolkit for the sales team that can be updated on an on-going basis by the marketing department. The items and content within the sales toolkit should be shaped by combing the insights generated by the outcome of the planning day, the sales and marketing meetings and the online surveys. As an illustration, some of the sales toolkit content we have developed in collaboration with our clients includes:

Internal materials

  • Key facts about the company and frequently asked questions
  • Product launch presentations including:
  • Definition of the target audience
  • Product features and benefits
  • Key messaging
  • How the product compares to the competition
  • Customer testimonials and other evidence to support claims
  • Financial options comparison e.g. capital purchase versus leasing versus managed equipment service solution versus managed service contracts

External materials

  • Credentials presentations
  • Product and service brochures and flyers
  • Financial options brochures
  • Service support brochures
  • Customer case studies
  • Video case studies/customer testimonials
  • Videos of Key Opinion Leader (KOL) interviews/KOL presentations
  • Product demonstration videos
  • The business case
  • Application examples
  • Compelling industry whitepapers
  • ‘How to’ guides, protocols and manuals
  • Technical specification documents
  • Product comparison materials
  • Guide to changing providers

Some of our clients prefer to host their sales toolkit on the company server, others on their intranet, and some within specially developed tablet apps. Of course, not every organisation has an in-house sales team, but instead may have a network of distributors. Fortunately, the sales toolkit can easily be adapted to support distributors. A comprehensive, easy to access toolkit will ensure that your distributors will have all of the necessary information they need to represent your company and products consistently across all markets, and will ultimately help grow sales.

Align your sales and marketing teams

From experience, the clients we work with who enjoy close-knit, collaborative sales and marketing departments, tend to benefit from the healthiest return on their marketing investment. If you are looking to align your sales and marketing teams more closely and think you could benefit from our support, please do get in touch with us as we’d be happy to help.