Technology has transformed the way companies do business, but it's important for executives to recognize the role it plays in generating new leads through marketing and driving sales. Except in commoditized markets, technology doesn't make the sale by itself. Marketing teams have to deliver leads, and good sales reps are still a crucial factor in closing deals.
However, the definition of what constitutes a qualified marketing lead and what makes a "good sales rep" is evolving along with technology. One factor driving this evolution is that customers now have unprecedented access to product and service information online and can peruse company reviews on social media.
This leads to situations where prospects might know more about the product than the rep tasked with selling it. Tech-savvy companies can counter that potential pitfall and implement strategies to future-proof their marketing and sales organizations. Here's five ways how:
1. Field a team of experts. With customers now doing their homework on products, services and companies via the internet — largely using material generated by the marketing team — sales reps have to become subject matter experts, and marketing has to play a key role in educating them. However, that can be a challenge when working with a complex product mix and multiple sets of bundles. Marketing technology, such as a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, can help salespeople access relevant information more quickly. But remember: it's critical to fully understand your products and content before setting up such a system.
2. Maximize selling time with greater marketing-sales team collaboration. The more time salespeople spend engaged in selling, the more revenue they'll produce, but they can't do it alone. To maximize selling time, the marketing team must step up and deliver qualified leads — and supply leads when prospects are most likely to buy. Sales and marketing must work together to define processes, identify ideal leads and delineate common goals. When marketing and sales collaborate effectively, salespeople spends less time prospecting and more time closing deals.