When Jordan Belfort appears on stage as a motivational speaker, he pulls something out of his pocket, picks out one person from the audience, and gives a simple command: “Sell me this pen.”
Before his time as a speaker, Belfort was a stockbroker in the ’80s and ’90s. He was really good at selling. Too good, actually. You may know him from the book (and movie adaptation) The Wolf of Wall Street, which covers his rise and fall as a smarmy broker who convinced people to buy stocks under misleading or false information. After he went to prison and agreed to pay back some of the money he took from investors, Belfort started touring the world to give talks about his life as a salesman. He wanted to reveal what happened and show people how he closed deals so successfully.
His pen ploy is sales 101. It’s a training exercise that gauges how sellers react without context. Some immediately start pushing made-up accolades. This is the best pen in the world. That’s the wrong approach. Others ask qualifying questions. What kind of pens do you like to write with? This path can at least lead to a meaningful conversation.
Today, however, Belfort’s test is wrong no matter how you answer. His question is based on the idea that a seller is like a magician, just extracting info out of customers until they can be tricked into buying.
That idea is outdated—at least in successful organizations. The transactional nature of selling has changed over the years as buyers have become more discerning and better educated. Nobody wants to be bombarded by cold calls or endless outreach emails. Today’s effective sellers are more like consultants. They collaborate with marketing teams to understand what’s best for the audience. Then, armed with useful content, salespeople empower buyers to make the smartest decision for their needs.
Marketing and sales may want to do their own thing, but their tactics and goals are ultimately linked together. In an ideal world, marketing and sales teams lift each other up. Marketing brings in quality leads, hands them off to sales, and sales develops the relationships until the lead becomes a customer.
That’s easier said than done. Putting that in practice requires a lot of effort and collaboration. But when done right, it will ultimately impact your company’s bottom line, which is what both sales and marketing members should care about above all else.
In other words, with the right system in place, salespeople won’t need to sell anyone a pen. They can just offer their own when it’s time to sign the contract.
Marketing, sales, and content
The relationship between marketing and sales struggles to develop because of a few common roadblocks. Marketers create content but don’t always educate sellers on how to use it. Sales teams, meanwhile, may not seek out content at their disposal. Even if they do know it exists and where to find it, they may not use it anyway.
The data here is damning, and everyone is at fault. According to SiriusDecisions, 65 percent of content go to waste. And when salespeople are willing to use content, they have to look in an average of six different places to find what they need. Additionally, per Topo, prospects only open 24 percent of sales emails, and sellers end up making an average of 18 calls just to connect with the right buyer.
Given that the marketing-to-sales handoff is so crucial for revenue, how can you build a system that helps both sides accomplish their goals?
In this e-book, we’ll start answering that question by outlining the most impactful moves a company can make to improve sales enablement. Then, we’ll explain how to create the most beneficial types of sales enablement content. Lastly, we’ll end with a breakdown of key enablement metrics that capture how well marketing and sales teams are doing their jobs.
Establish regular communication
Marketing and sales share a strange dynamic, particularly in B2B companies. They’re separate teams that rely on each other. They typically have their own operations and workflow. So when something goes wrong, it’s hard to know what needs to be fixed.
The first step toward progress may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many organizations could benefit from this solution: consistent communication. Marketing and sales teams can get by on their own, but if they really want to close more deals and bring in more revenue, they have to talk to each other… a lot.
“We have collaborative editorial sessions,” said Erin Peralta, senior manager of global brand and content strategy for Amazon Pay. “We get a cross-section of people from product to sales to other field teams. Once we brought all the stakeholders together, each team began to contribute more and understand how valuable content could be.”
At Contently, we also hold a standing meeting with marketing and sales. Every other week, marketers update the sellers on new content and offer talking points on major assets like e-books and webinars. The sellers get to ask questions and describe what they hear from leads.
These meetings are mutually beneficial because salespeople feel like they have a voice, and marketers get to gather intel on the market while making sure their work won’t be misinterpreted.
This is an excerpt from The Content Marketer’s Playbook: The Art of Sales Enablement.