Achieving sales and marketing alignment means putting the prospect first, and that requires open and honest dialogue.
We often hear the question, what is sales and marketing alignment? Haven’t sales and marketing always worked together?
We sat down with Megan Tonzi, Director of Marketing at Monetate, to find out how high-performing sales and marketing teams collaborate, what each team brings to the table, and why the best sales content puts the prospect first.
At Monetate, Megan oversees the development and execution of integrated marketing programs. Previously, Megan led marketing at QuotaFactory and AG Salesworks. You can find Megan leading the conversation about the future of sales and marketing alignment as a guest writer for companies like Hubspot and Salesforce.
In today’s chat, Megan sits down with DocSend CEO Russ Heddleston to discuss three key takeaways marketers need to remember when collaborating with sales:
- Sales and marketing need to work in tandem. Just as marketing provides sales with high-value collateral, sales provides marketing with critical feedback from prospects.
- Closing a deal requires clear and consistent messaging. Consider using a content management system to keep your sales team up-to-date with the latest content.
- Tailor your sales collateral based on how you want prospects to use it. Content that you want prospects to forward to their team should be different from the content you share during a live presentation.
Below is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.
Russ: Megan, thanks for joining us today. Before we get started, could give us a little background on you and your role at Monetate?
Megan: I’m the marketing director at Monetate. We power multi-channel personalization for brands. Our platform is built for speed. It’s easy to use and allows marketers to create, test, and deploy a number of different personalized digital experiences. It’s a really interesting technology.
I’m responsible for our integrated marketing programs. Every marketing team has a lot of different programs and campaigns running all at once. I make sure that we have a pulse on every single program and that we’re maximizing our time and effort to ensure every program is efficient and provides the most value possible.
Why sales and marketing alignment pays dividends
Russ: We’re going to discuss the topic of content that you create for the sales team to use on their own. How do you work with the sales team at Monetate today?
Megan: When it comes to working with sales, it is imperative to sit down and have conversations with them that maintain an open and honest dialogue. When you are honest with each other, marketing can help sales by providing them with great content and different selling techniques. And sales can provide marketing with feedback from prospects and clients.
Sales gets to experience all these interactions that marketers don’t have day-to-day. And learning about those interactions can be so valuable for marketing.
There’s always been some hesitancy around sales and marketing being friends. If you’re being realistic, marketing needs to be friends with sales, because sales talks to the prospects. And you need to understand those conversations to make content that helps the sales process.
The problem with custom sales content
Russ: We often see that reps want to create and alter their own content. But, this can get tricky. Have you ever seen collateral produced by a rep create problems in a company?
Megan: I have seen this throughout multiple companies, and it can become a real problem. Unless there is a very clear and organized process, adapting content can cause major problems for both marketing, sales, and the client success teams.
You always want everyone on your sales and marketing teams to be using the most up-to-date content. That’s why there needs to be a single repository where all content for sales and marketing is saved and stored.
Some companies have different places where you can grab content. This tends to cause issues when some updates aren’t pushed to one or more of the content repositories. It gets confusing, especially when your team isn’t sure if they are using the most up-to-date content. It leads to a lot of unknowns, which is never good.
If there are updates that need to be made, they should always be reflected in a single, central repository. And for every presentation or piece of content that gets sent out, reps should be pulling the info from that single place rather than saving it on their desktop and sending from there. That’s pretty much where the trouble starts.
Let’s use an example. If a rep alters something in a deck for one meeting and then they try and use that same deck for another meeting, it can be unclear what the standard is for that deck and what can be tailored by the rep. So, if they end up altering that saved content on their desktop for the fourth or fifth time, then they’re just asking for trouble because that whole process snowballs.
Most importantly, as marketing or product pushes an update, if a rep is using outdated content, they may not be offering the prospect the most up-to-date information.
The importance of a consistent sell
Russ: Do you use skeleton decks at Monetate? If so, could you walk me through what that means to you, and how they’re used?
Megan: Generally, I try not to offer that to the team. I want to make sure we’re all using comprehensive and cohesive messaging across the board.
I do know some teams use skeleton decks where they’ll have blanks for their sales teams to fill in the information for every prospect. And I don’t particularly like that. It’s not very tailored, not very personalized.
Sometimes, there’s a skeleton deck where marketing will just have an outline of the presentation that sales is going to give, and they expect sales to fill in the details. Well, sales usually doesn’t have that much time to make sure that everything is cohesive, up-to-date, and relevant. They’re busy selling.
So, no matter what rep on the team is presenting, with us, you’re going to get a pretty standardized presentation that’s tailored for each individual prospect. Because skeleton decks can be a little tricky, to add some constraints, I use a content library. If reps need to build out a lengthy presentation or maybe just a couple different slides, they can pull from a variety of decks from this library that I built. And then they can tailor each individual slide to that prospect.
However, the messaging stays consistent.
Keeping the sales conversation going
Russ: Sometimes, points of contact for a target account may be responsible for presenting your collateral to other people in their company. How do you coach reps so that prospects effectively use your collateral when presenting to their co-workers?
Megan: After a rep leaves a meeting and they send a presentation to prospects, usually prospects are going to take that presentation and forward it to additional stakeholders. It’s very common.
You want to be sure you have outlined your solution in an organized manner that gives readers enough detail and context of what you’re presenting. But, it also needs to be unique enough that it sets you apart from the competition.
Granted, you don’t want to put every single detail in the presentation either. You still want the presentation to lead to reps taking questions from prospects.
Knowing when to tailor content
Russ: How do you differentiate between content that’s meant to only be presented, content that’s meant to be sent afterward, and content that’s meant to be passed around?
Megan: There is a very large difference between the content that you present and the content that you send. Content that is meant to be presented is more sensitive. For example, something that deals with pricing or speaks to a specific client’s needs. That type of content is meant to create a dialogue, and it’s very difficult to have one in an email chain. That’s the type of content that should be presented to the prospect on the phone or in person.
Content that I would send via email tends to be more tech heavy and educational. The content that you present is meant to spark conversations, to create dialogue and fuel a back and forth. And it’s marketing’s role to make sure sales knows what content is okay to send and which pieces they should reserve a spot on a prospect’s calendar for.
Advice for fellow marketers
Russ: Finally, any advice for product marketers or marketers in general who are just starting out on how to deal with sales content?
Megan: Just be organized. I find that a lot of marketers are flying by the seat of their pants and making it up day-to-day. However, if they build processes and become organized, things become more efficient. People depend on process. They understand them. They can be repeatable
When you’re organized, people know where to go for specific one pagers or webinar recordings because it’s either all labeled or you have a process for it. When there’s no dedicated process and no organization, that’s when marketers scramble.
It pays to be organized, or you’ll just end up making more work for yourself.