Many companies divide “marketing” and “sales” teams up, even though both teams are focused on increasing sales. This is a mistake, however, because when it comes to marketing, knowing your target audience is vital and no one knows your customers better than your sales team. Given this, your sales staff might just be the best marketers you have on hand.
Anyone who has worked in marketing has likely heard that you must “know your target market.” That’s marketing 101, however, the seemingly simple statement can be quite complex. It’s not enough to think that you know your target market. It’s not enough to ponder what your audience might need or want. You have to know them inside and out.
Consider customer personas/avatars. These are useful management tools. With reflection, you can hone in on demographic information, such as sex and income. You can also surmise why a customer buys, or what their pain points are and how you might possibly address them.
However, these personas are often built on guesses, even if educated ones. Some companies might call up their previous customers, asking them for details regarding their persona. This is fantastic, but regardless, unless you conduct a lengthy, scientifically sound survey, you’re using anecdotal information.
By the way, should you want to dig up statistically valid information, you’re going to need to at least a thousand conversions per month to examine. A thousand conversions are quite substantial, and many startups and SME’s simply don’t reach that threshold. As a result, A/B tests, another popular way to get to know your audience, often fail and are inaccurate.
No One on Staff Knows Your Customers Better Than Your Sales Rep
So, if you really want to know your audience and delve past the buzzwords, and really lock down their needs and wants, you can start by talking to your sales staff. Behind every good sales pitch is deep customer insight. Your experienced, high-performing sales reps almost certainly already know your audience inside and out.
Your average sales rep is going to spend about 40% of their time face-to-face, on the phone, or otherwise in direct contact with potential customers. Another roughly 25% is spent on account research and lead generation. In other words, your sales staff members are spending nearly 70% of their day working with and thinking about your customers.
Marketers often “hide” behind digital ads and other marketing materials, trying to figure out what makes customers tick. They might pull up some data, or if they want to get their hands dirty, run a survey. You know what a sales rep often does? S/he simply picks up the phone, calls the potential buyers, and starts asking questions. (Phone calls may seem a hassle and outdated, but over half of respondents to a survey reported that enjoy being contacted by phone.)
So yeah, your sales reps know your audience.
Think about it, your sales reps are spending hours every day talking with your customers. Not only that, but your best sales reps know how to listen, and how to customize each pitch to each customer. They know how to not only absorb information on the fly but also how to incorporate insights into individual efforts.
Good sales reps are efficient sales reps. They already know that they will never convert 100% of their pitches. Most sales reps won’t even try. Instead, they focus on qualifying those prospects that are most likely to convert. Indeed, your highest performing rep might not even be the savviest presenter or smoothest talker. Instead, s/he might be the best lead qualifier on staff.
Customers Often “Buy” Before They Buy
Qualifying is all about figuring out who’s most likely to pull the trigger. Fact is, 90% of a sale now happens before the potential customer even gets in touch. When it comes to major purchases, customers will conduct a lot of research before they even step onto the sales floor.
That newlywed couple looking for a washer and dry probably already dug up numerous professional and consumer reviews. They clicked through a hundred photos and already envisioned their top choice washing machine in their laundry room. They may have even fantasized about pushing the buttons and twisting the knobs. And they can feel that freshly washed, oh-so-clean shirt hanging off their shoulders, the smell of spring clean in the air.
Dramatic right? But that’s how sales works. By the time a customer approaches, they are likely close to pulling the trigger. Sales is about sealing the deal and if you’re going to seal that deal, you need to know your audience. Therefore your sales reps might be the best marketers on staff even if their job description doesn’t strictly include the word “marketing.”
Wrapping Up: You Must Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams
There’s a good argument that your sales reps are your best marketers on staff. It’s not because they know marketing like your marketing gurus, but instead because they are “customer” guru, a slight but significant difference.
Now here’s the catch, you can build a stronger overall team by aligning both your marketers and sales reps. Make sure both teams are talking to each other. Marketing teams love research. Given how much time your sales reps spend with clients, they’ve already completed a heck of a lot of research, even if incidentally.
If your marketers can learn from the sales staff’s experience, they will learn a lot more about their customers. In turn, this will help them improve their performance. Marketers know their craft, so when provided with the same customer knowledge as your sales reps, they will likely be the best at their job.
Problem is, many marketing, and sales teams are not tightly aligned. Many teams pursue the same general goals and try to communicate on a semi-regular basis. However, to maximize both your sales team and marketing team, you need them to be “tightly” aligned, informing each other of what they have learned and what they are doing.
By getting your sales and marketing teams on the same page, you can improve the performance of both. This, in turn, will lead to higher revenues and a more profitable company.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps your sales and marketing teams collaborate better. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…