In the competitive world of B2B marketing, we hinge on every quarter-point movement in open rates, clickthroughs and conversions. We labor over email copy, the right offer and which color buttons drive the greatest response. We run A/B and multivariate tests, spend hours analyzing results and meet to brainstorm what more we can do to drive greater performance from the programs and tactics we run. We do this because we know that every incremental improvement can pay dividends further down the demand waterfall.
But here’s the rub: We’re missing an important audience. SiriusDecisions’ CMO research indicates that marketing and sales leaders are growing less concerned with filling the top of the waterfall — many organizations already understand which levers to pull to increase or decrease inquiry volume as needed — and more concerned with middle-stage and late-stage programs to enable sales organizations to sell more productively and accelerate demand through the waterfall. If that’s true, marketing should be spending a lot more time focusing on internal communications to field, channel and teleprospecting functions that they support with enablement and acceleration programs.
But they don’t. In fact, most marketers lament their lack of mindshare with their quota-carrying counterparts. But is this any surprise? We run tested and optimized multi-touch, multi-channel programs to reach our target prospect audience; however, we never put the same level of effort into the communications we direct to our internal audience. Salespeople are every bit as busy as the prospects we try to reach. Why should we expect their behavior to be different?
So, some words of advice for marketers:
- Rather than lament the gulf between you and your sales colleagues, write copy that starts with answering the “What’s in it for me?” question you should expect from every sales rep.
- Stop sending one-offs, and start using your marketing automation tools to support your sales communications programs.
- Set measurable goals for your internal communications. Test the messages you send. Analyze the results, and optimize the programs.
You won’t reach everyone. But if you apply the same level of rigor and discipline that you bring to your other marketing efforts, you’ll see an improvement in your ability to drive sales response and behavior. After all, it’s been said that there’s no one easier to sell than a sales rep. Just don’t expect poor marketing to do it for you.