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July 03, 2020

5 Tips for Overwhelmed Sales & Marketing Leaders & What to Do About It

11 minute read

When I worked at my previous marketing job for a manufacturing organization as a solo marketer, I had A LOT on my plate.

Weekly I heard the same things from my sales staff… “I need some air cover to help penetrate key accounts or active targets.” Or I’d hear, “I need help focusing marketing messaging on my existing clients that needed to know all about our latest and greatest products! And, oh by the way, how could I see who you’ve emailed or had click on an ad and how did they react?”

And it’s not like I didn’t have anything else on my plate! I still needed to focus on my email campaigns….

…organic social plan

…paid efforts

…SEO strategy

…content marketing

…blog strategy

…performance reports to the boss

…CRM management

…trade show support

…experiential activities

…Billboards!? National TV Ads!? Promotional bobble heads of the office dog!?

AHHH!!!!!!!!!

It’s overwhelming to think about EVERYTHING there is to do in marketing and sales, no matter what size your department is. And besides that, the trends, technology, and tactics are ever-evolving.

How can marketing and sales leaders keep up?

Not to mention our sales professionals’ ever-growing list of client calls, quotes to create, meetings, in-person calls, expense reports, CRM logs, keeping customers happy…

There’s a lot for everyone.   

So— here are five of our favorite tried-and-true tips to bring a little serenity back to sales and marketing leaders in the B2B world that will impact your sales and marketing performance.

 
1) Make Sure Everyone Has the Same Finish Line

I’ll be honest: I’m not a runner, but I do like NASCAR and I know that there’s only one finish line at Bristol for all of the drivers on the track.

Does it feel like that in your organization? Do you know the goals your marketing department has for the month, quarter, or year? How about your sales organization’s monthly call goals? How about your yearly business goals? Have you talked about it since your kickoff way back at the beginning of your fiscal year?

To put it back in racing terms, is your sales team running on a dirt track while marketing is racing the half-mile? Are you all heading to the same finish line?

Setting and communicating effective goals at each level within your business is one of the most important means of aligning the contributions that every department makes to the mission and purpose of your company.

You would be amazed at what happens when you align these goals amongst individual employees, departments and management. And you don’t even have to be a manager to do it! Just start by talking to your co-workers!

It sounds simple, but by being transparent with your departmental goals, struggles, what that client who cussed you out on the phone was upset about—everyone can make sure they are running to the same finish line!

I can hear you all now: “Okay Kelly, great dream you painted there. But see that list of things at the beginning of the blog? We are BUSY! There’s too much going on and I need to focus on my work to get it done, not on my co-workers! All of those goals are reflective on ME, not them!”

What if I told you that all it takes is one hour a week that could save you hours of work that may not align to your overall business goals?

2) Please Set up Smarketing Meetings


Picture this: a prospect has been researching customized parts to use in her new product line when she comes across your website. After subscribing to your blog, watching your product demo videos, and downloading a couple of your sample books, the prospect knows your products are a good fit for her line and decides to reach out to a sales rep to move forward with an order.

Unfortunately, the sales rep isn’t aware of all of that the content this prospect has already interacted with and begins the conversation with a generic introductory pitch. The prospect quickly becomes frustrated by the experience and loses trust in your company because she doesn’t feel valued as someone who has already been interacting with your brand.

This happens ALL. THE. TIME!

A situation like this shows why it is so important to keep your marketing and sales teams running the same race —in fact, it’s misalignments like these that cost B2B companies 10% or more revenue each year(HubSpot, 2020).

Just imagine if the sales rep had known what content the prospect interacted with prior to their call, they would have been able to adapt their conversations to best meet the prospect’s needs. Ideally, all prospect interactions should be housed in your marketing platform and connected to your CRM for marketing and sales teams to see all activities in one place.

So, how do you ensure that your marketing and sales teams are on the same page? The answer lies in smarketing (sales + marketing) meetings.

Smarketing meetings give your marketing and sales teams the opportunity to work together as a single team to discuss problems and collaborate on solutions that benefit everyone. But, like any other meeting, it’s important to use your time well if you really want to see results.

We just started SMARKETING meetings here at Stratagon and it’s been bumpy for sure. But here’s how we make sure our smarketing meetings stay productive.

    1. Eyes on the prize. These meetings are a place so that your teams can brainstorm and talk about things that are and are not working specifically within sales and marketing—AND NOT THE OVERALL COMPANY! Keep your smarketing meetings highly focused and use them to work out service-level agreements (SLAs) so your teams know what they are responsible for and can work in tandem to meet their goals.
    2. Keep your meetings exclusive. When it comes to smarketing meetings, many hands DO NOT make light work. Limit your meetings to people who can actually make a difference and tackle the problems at hand. If you have larger sales and marketing teams, consider breaking them into smaller meetings to focus on specific regions or product lines, like CRM champions or key account managers.
    3. Make sure everyone is heard. Whoever runs your smarketing meetings should ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to address their concerns, weigh in, or ask questions. Don’t let a particular team dominate the meeting—smarketing is all about fostering collaboration. 

As your teams get more exposure to one another and learn to work together more effectively, you’ll start seeing improvements. In fact:

    • Companies that have strong smarketing practices in place generate 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts than companies without adequate sales and marketing alignment (HubSpot, 2020).
    • AND, when sales and marketing teams are working together, businesses see a 38% increase in sales win rates and a 36% increase in customer retention (HubSpot, 2020).

And for all of you B2B marketers, smarketing also leads well into a strong ABM strategy if you’re looking into an account-based approach to reach your ideal customer profiles and tier 1 accounts.

Speaking of new technology…

 

3) The Robots Really Are Here to Help


The pool of marketing technology resources keeps getting deeper, and deeper, and deeper, and deeper.

We know that sifting through all of the options and figuring out what tools to include in your martech stack can be a daunting task.

The key here is to take it one problem at a time and build off of a solid foundation, allowing your martech stack to grow with your business. After all, technology is meant to help you run your company efficiently and keep things organized—not stress you out more.

After a lot of client and prospect conversations, we’ve come up with four groupings to focus on related to your martech stack:

    1. Website. You need somewhere for your prospects to land. A website, while often an expensive investment, is entirely owned and controlled by you and gives you the opportunity to make a strong impression. If you don’t have the time to learn how to write code, don’t worry. There are plenty of content management systems (CMS) out there that will provide all of the infrastructure needed to build and maintain your website—no coding required for day-to-day updates unless you’re doing an overhaul.

      Also, and almost more importantly, if you’ve not updated your website in the last 2-5 years (Or gasp! Even longer?), it’s time for you to upgrade.

    2. Promotion Engines. Once you have a website, you’ll need a way (or a few ways) to draw your prospects in. An email marketing tool, advertising tool, text messaging tool, and social media accounts are all great ways to help get your targets where you want them to go. You can also apply a marketing automation software to these channels to streamline and automate your marketing tasks and workflows.

    3. Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). This may be the most important tool, regardless of the size of your business or other tools in the stack. A well-oiled, easy-to-use CRM will keep track of your prospects and customers’ activities, history, communications, products purchased, and so much more. Make this one of your first technology investments. Marketers, it will help you build your audiences and know who to target!

      Sellers, it really is worth the five minutes after a call to log that information! Also ask your CRM admin about additional training or tips on how to make the system easier to log. CRM’s are getting more and more customizable, so often if there’s a friction point for getting data into it you can always adjust it to make it easy to log your activity on the go!

    4. Analytics and Measurement Devices. To get the most out of your marketing efforts, you need a way to measure how your different campaigns and strategies are performing. This is where analytics come in! The right analytics tool will help you optimize the way you promote your goods or services, determine if your return on investment (ROI) is favorable, and set SMART goals for your business.

Visible analytics also help with sales forecasting, average length of time for sales cycles, and more to help sales leaders coach their teams effectively.

Start with these essentials and grow your martech stack as needed. But remember, no matter how big or small your marketing technology toolbox is, make sure that you are actively using each tool and that you know how they work.

You could have all the right technology, but if it’s not set up in the right way or being utilized, then it’s worthless (or even worse, money wasted).

 

4) Like Momma Always Said, Reuse Whatcha Got.


Marketers, I’ll let you in on a secret. No one remembers every word of that social post or email you sent 3 months ago. In fact, Campaign Monitor states that the average person got 121 emails a day in 2019 and that number is going to continue to rise in 2020 and beyond. And we all know how overwhelming social media feeds can be sometimes.

I know…the truth hurts…

However, what that means for my overwhelmed marketers is that all of that content you made can be adjusted and repurposed! You don’t have to re-invent the wheel every single time, you can reuse what you already have!

Now let’s talk about what I don’t mean:

- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Don’t post the SAME copy. Anyone looking in on your social feeds or previous emails will see the same message over and over and over again. Instead, just change some phrasing, or take the central idea and rewrite the post to get the same message across but worded just a little differently.

- Promote That Old Content: Did your blog post get GREAT traction when it was originally posted, but never got the SEO authority for constant organic traffic? Give it a little boost with social or a section on email newsletters for old but good content. And while all of that is happening, you can focus your energy on the next piece and not let your marketing go stagnant in between campaigns.

- Schedule it out: Marketing automation is easier to implement than ever before. When I first started automating my efforts, Pardot’s engagement studio had just come out and HubSpot workflows were just starting to get powerful. Now with the advancements in tools across multiple marketing software tools, workflows and scheduling is better than ever. I schedule everything out! Blog posts, social posts, emails, website pages, landing pages, ad campaigns and more can all be scheduled so that you can get ahead and know that your marketing can happen even when you’re on vacation.

That means when you originally create your post, you can reuse your (reworded) posts and schedule it out for 3 months out, 6 months out, and even a year out to re-promote your older posts!

When you get into the groove of reusing content, you will allow yourself more time to focus on other marketing activities. PLUS, sales teams will benefit from the ability to share social content to LinkedIn and other networks and pull helpful assets from your ongoing efforts to share with prospects and customers.

5) Don’t Do It Alone

Still feeling overwhelmed? I know, I just took that list from the intro and added more and more onto it.

But – shameless plug – you can hire an agency!

A good agency will work as an extension of your business, enveloping all parts of sales and marketing strategy and technology to help take the hassle out of promoting and selling your brand. 

Whether you need help with every aspect of your marketing strategy or you’re just looking to supplement and boost the efficiency of your in-house marketing team with a little outside help, an agency will leave you with more time to focus on what you do best: leading your teams to success.

By partnering with a strong integrated agency like Stratagon, you’ll have access to:

    • A well-oiled team of paid digital specialists, content writers, account managers, graphic designers, videographers, web developers, and other marketing experts
    • Insight on, and support with, specialized marketing strategies and everything in your martech stack
    • Insider knowledge on all of the latest marketing tools and trends
    • Marketing services that are scalable to best meet your needs (and your budget)
    • Measurable, long-term return on your marketing investments
    • CRM setup experts
    • SMARKETING facilitators
    • Platform experts

Still not convinced a marketing agency is right for your business? Here’s an in-depth (albeit biased) look at why you should hire an integrated digital marketing agency.

At Stratagon, we love what we do, and we pride ourselves in helping others achieve their marketing goals. At the end of the day, we believe that marketing should be effective, measurable, and fun—we’re ready to share this mindset with you and show you all that we can do. 

The Checkered Flag


Last bit of bad news…. My NASCAR analogy earlier? I only focused on one race, but in reality, you’re in the running for the cup. With every small victory, email sent, meeting booked, social post scheduled, SMARKETING meeting completed, and lead created, there is always more and more that needs to get done. And while you may win this year’s championship cup, there’s always next year to worry about with a whole new range of unexpected challenges.

While that all can be overwhelming, you just need to remember that you’re not the only one on the team. You have a team of pit crew members, managers, spotters, team leaders, and so many more people who are all ready and willing to help you win the cup!

So go out there talk to your team members and remember to always be helpful in coaching your winning team to success! 

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Kelly Buck
AUTHOR BIO
Kelly Buck

Kelly's passion for marketing shows in everything he does professionally and personally. His passion for creating beautiful and creative marketing extends beyond Stratagon with his personal musical work as a drummer all over the triad.

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