Jonathan is the CEO and Founder of Ironpaper, a B2B growth agency that uses data-driven and creative processes to drive business results.
The dynamics between marketing and sales teams vary widely from company to company. Some marketing and sales teams work cohesively, sharing data and insights and collaborating through the entire sales funnel. Other teams work in silos with scattered data and internal frustrations resulting in lost leads and wasted efforts.
We are beyond the point of marketing and sales teams needing to work in the same room or have team-building exercises. These two groups do not need to collaborate at all times with whiteboarding sessions, constant meetings and pizza boxes littering the table. Instead, the individuals on these teams need to have a desire to be helpful. Without this trait engrained in the company culture, growth efforts will be stymied.
What Does It Mean To Be Helpful?
Collaboration and helpfulness are different. Sometimes marketing and sales teams do not collaborate, which is expected. But each team should be ready to help the other so that marketers and salespeople can work efficiently and effectively. This help can take many forms:
• Sharing data and insights from marketing or sales efforts.
• Having a conversation about buyers and learnings from campaigns.
• Participating in learning workshops with marketing, sales and customer experience teams.
• Working outside of silos and sharing resources across teams.
• Building solid relationships instead of just focusing on transactions.
• Being a resource to others to help the whole of the organization.
In a 2022 survey, my agency asked B2B leaders how they digitally engage leads after converting, and 55% of respondents said they send them to a sales representative for an initial call. This statistic shows that marketing gives leads to sales very quickly. Putting aside whether or not prospects need more nurturing, the survey shows that the marketing-to-sales relationship begins early. The question then becomes whether or not that relationship is helpful.
Does the sales team have relevant information about the lead? If not, can they ask a marketing team member to discuss the campaign that initiated the conversion or will they be met with resistance? If the former, the marketing and sales teams are likely helpful, and that culture will lead to more company growth. If the latter, the company is working in a silo that will likely result in buyer frustration.
Why Helpfulness Fosters Growth
The marketing-to-sales handoff process is critical in the buyer’s journey. B2B buyers who begin their interaction with a company through a piece of content that discusses their needs or pain points likely do not want to be forced to read product-centric material (such as a solution sheet or product breakdown) abruptly. Instead, the transition from marketing to sales should be smooth with a shared understanding of the buyer’s needs at each point.
Creating that journey and handoff is challenging for most companies, but a helpful culture can support that process. Marketers and salespeople that examine that journey together and understand that it will shift and change based on data and insights are set up for success. Teams should then share learnings as they watch buyers move through the funnel and help each other iterate where there are bottlenecks.
But, it’s not just about results. There is more value in this work than results alone. A helpful culture can lead to happier employees and a learning culture built on trust and respect. A culture like this can allow a company to gain momentum and maturity, elevating team knowledge and skills. This environment keeps employees engaged and challenged rather than stalled and bored.
It also has benefits that extend to the customer. Ultimately, customers want to feel understood, heard and valued. Marketing and sales groups that help share knowledge and findings increase their understanding of the buyer, allowing them to serve them better. A helpful workplace means companies can find ways to engage and educate customers, resulting in more closed-won deals and a more inclusive, engaging culture.