When it comes to driving new business in the management consulting marketplace, marketing and sales departments can often seem to be on different pages. Despite having similar goals of increasing leads and business opportunities, marketing and sales sometimes seem to be speaking different languages.
This is likely due to the gap between the goals and metrics of sales and marketing. Sales dwells on quotas and revenue, whereas marketing is concerned with branding, analytics, and engagement. While both departments can be effective individually, the real success happens when they embrace elements of the other.
How Marketing Can Embrace Sales
It’s easy to get caught up in the education aspect of your content marketing strategy and forget how directly your content creation can impact sales. Marketing should serve a purpose beyond simply educating your prospects — if your efforts aren’t increasing new leads for your business, then your marketing department isn’t doing its job.
Here are a few ways management consulting marketers can integrate sales principles into everyday strategies:
- Create a strategy that builds around lead nurturing campaigns, where education is only a portion of the process and converting leads is the focus. By building your strategy around the goal of lead nurturing from the start, you can ensure that your content is created with a specific audience, purpose, and goal in mind.
- Each piece of content you create should be paired with a corresponding Call-to-Action that asks for a conversion. Again, this aligns your processes so that marketing and sales strategies can work together.
- Ask yourself—how does your branding strategy support the sales team’s efforts? If you can’t answer that question, then you probably aren’t taking the necessary steps to allow the strategies to support one another. Remember, the ultimate goal is lead conversion and business growth, even when it comes to your branding choices.
- Sales is traditionally responsible for managing early stage leads, but marketing should also be concerned with this relationship. Creating content that reflects and recognizes the needs of early stage leads is one way to help sales show early stage leads their importance.
How Sales Can Embrace Marketing
Research shows that buyers in the management consulting space spend a lot of time online searching for service providers, checking out information sources you're your firm’s website and social media presence (see the figure below).
Which means that thanks to marketing, your sales department is used to dealing with warm leads, making your job much easier. By embracing their strategies, you’re more likely to connect with your prospects on a level with which they are comfortable, rather than turning them off with a hard sell.
Here’s how sales can integrate marketing principles to convert more leads:
- Know your firm’s content and services well. Your prospects have likely engaged with some of the content your marketing department is producing, so you should too. When you aren’t familiar with your firm’s content, it makes your departments and processes look disjointed.
Even though it is traditionally delegated to marketing, your business development should be geared toward educating the market. A more educated market is a more sales-ready market.
Take a look at research conducted by Hinge and the RAIN Group, which shows that the number one characteristic of firms who won the sale over the runner-up firms was the ability to educate their audience, gaining trust from the prospect (see the figure below).
Top 10 Characteristics of Winning Firms
- Steer clear of the hard sell. Instead, you want to establish your expertise in the clients’ mind—a process that is effectively achieved by content creation.
- Because of this, refrain from rolling your eyes when marketing talks about blogging and social media. The content your marketing department is generating and the engagement they are facilitating on social media are helping establish the credibility that makes converting sales easier.
Rather than working separately—or worse, inadvertently working against one another—it’s time to bridge the gap between your sales and marketing strategies. By embracing certain elements of the other, these two departments can see more individual and collective success.
Check out our free Lead Nurturing Guide to learn more.