Do you have a rogue sales staff? How to keep sales on message

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Does this sound familiar?

Your department spends thousands of dollars and months of work developing a sophisticated marketing plan that leverages your company’s strengths for the year ahead. But when you check in with your sales staff six months in, you find out your plan was quickly abandoned for their “tried and true” methods, usually including one-off marketing pieces that in no way reflect your brand standards. 

We don’t mean to disparage sales professionals. They are a valued and necessary resource for virtually all for-profit companies. They do, however, have a long history of going rogue and abandoning their companies' marketing strategies in favor of familiarity.

Of course, you already know that "do it like we did it last year" isn't always (or usually) the best strategy.  That’s why we've created this checklist to help you rein in your sales staff. 

  • Speak their love language – qualified leads:  Your sales folks aren't likely to get on board with your vision until they can see tangible evidence that you can actually help them meet their sales numbers. Inbound marketing campaigns are designed to draw in the right prospects with relevant content that a person is willing to answer a couple questions (name, job title, company, etc.) in exchange for. With the right mix of content and amplification, your sales team could see the most qualified leads they’ve ever had, which in turn will make them put down their smartphones and pay attention to your plans.
  • Bring them in on the planning:  Sales people are competitive and strong by nature. Including tons of opinionated voices can sound counter-intuitive, but like anything else in life, people are more engaged when they feel they're being heard. And this isn’t strictly designed to soothe their ego. Excellent content, especially gated content, addresses a specific pain point your clients are facing. Who better to ask what these pain points are than those individuals who are talking to clients on a daily basis? 
  • Check in regularly:  This may be a no-brainer and something you already do regularly, but make sure you’re checking in to see how your department can help move their leads down the sales pipeline. Are they finding out prospects are struggling with a particular issue? If so, see what type of content (i.e., a blog post, template or checklist) you could develop that they could pass along and strengthen their relationship with the prospect.

Sales and marketing are almost always grouped together in conversation, but too often they don’t understand each others' needs. Creating a plan that delivers qualified leads and incorporates their input is a step toward a more unified front.  

Greg Surber

Greg Surber, APR, is a public relations strategist through and through. He works on a variety of accounts, leading research projects and content strategies, but he also has extensive experience with more traditional PR efforts including national and trade media relations campaigns.

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