Sales proposals are the backbone of a business. They help open doors and make introductions, but marketing, sales enablement, and sales teams can often operate in silos.
With such a divide, how can you be sure that your proposal content is properly being leveraged?
Sales Versus Marketing
The bridge between marketing and sales is a narrow one, but distinct. On one side, marketers craft messages to appeal to would-be customers and retain existing ones. They work at choosing the right words, developing the right message and even choosing the right colors to appeal to your target demographic. At the other end are sales people. They take marketing material and use it to craft the pitches that land the deals. They deal with people one on one and they tailor their message accordingly.
But, does sales and marketing need to be separate? Should they?
Well, yes and no.
Sales in the Modern World
Many companies have expectations in place surrounding the integration between the two fields. For instance, most marketers believe the sales team uses their ideas to land big sales, but in reality, somewhere around 65 percent of marketing content is never used by sales – despite the fact that roughly 24 percent of companies have formalized handoff procedures to facilitate marketing to sales. (It’s true. Ask Highspot)
And there is another problem – the sales funnel is not linear anymore. When a person has a question or wants to report an issue, they don’t contact the company directly. Approximately 50 percent rely on social media to make contact. Delighting and engaging the customer is no longer about selling the concept that the marketing department has developed.
It is more about listening to the customer via one-to-one interactions, social media, and email than putting the information culled from those encounters into how you manage your product.
Reversing the Sales Funnel
In other words, the sales funnel should be reversed. Sales should communicate to marketing what features were most important to prospective buyers, where they were at on price and which social media platforms are getting the most traffic. It is important that marketers understand sales reps’ needs to better create content that serves those needs and, by extension, the company.
Your marketing department needs to gear its activities towards attracting the people to which your sales people are actually selling and generating qualified leads through those actions. When done well, your marketing team will help improve close rates and increase the efficiency of the sales process across the board.
Ensuring Your Proposal Content Gets Used
To ease the transition, there a few things that your salespeople can do to make sure sales proposal content gets used. First, make sure that your salespeople outline the demographics they target and have them specify what makes a lead qualified for your company. This will help establish the types of messaging your marketing team will need to craft to appeal to these individuals.
Next, ask your sales team to relay information they cull during the sales process in the sales proposal. What questions do buyers have? Which hesitations? When your marketing team has this information, they can create content that helps the buyer move through the buying process. Finally, look at those factors that cause your company to lose customers to the competition. By addressing these hurdles in the sales proposal itself, your sales team will be able to create a document that not only answers your customers’ concerns but that will help your marketing department become a true sales facilitator.
This ebook is developed to spotlight some of the ongoing challenges proposal teams face, and to provide the fundamentals in creating winning content. Download this free ebook now to develop written and technical skills with decision-making expertise.