Real alignment between the marketing and sales departments at a logistics company is rare. The typical relationship between the two is usually based on frustration, with marketing frustrated by poor sales follow up and sales unhappy with what they feel are poor quality leads.
Like any story told from two sides, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. But most times this disconnect has little to do with marketing or sales, it is created by a lack of any real business development strategy from the company. It’s really a failure of leadership.
Most companies think they have a marketing plan, but it’s usually just a list of tasks based on spending their marketing budget on things that have no measurable ROI and vague statements about providing the best service. Logistics, in customer’s eyes, is very often a commoditized service. This is why companies needs to be clear about what they want to sell, what they sell best, and who their best customers are.
These “Big 3” concepts are vital and should be the basis of every marketing effort – lead generation or otherwise.
Sales people always have, and always will, put their best effort into the leads and activities that they feel will translate into sales the quickest. This is why sales’ perspective needs to be part of the discussion about those Big 3 concepts – and their buy-in is important. They can have great perspective that is hard for marketers to see on their own sometimes. That said, sales people will also gravitate to selling the easiest solutions which may not align with where the company wants to go. This requires sales leadership from a management level to keep them on task.
It’s also important to note that selling is different than it was even just 10 years ago. Buyers will always do their own research before they’ll engage with your sales person. First, they’ll visit your site and decide if they want to work with you. If they don’t like what they read and don’t see themselves in your solution, they’ll never talk to your sales person.
Sometimes this is actually okay. Attracting prospects who are not aligned with what you want to sell are bad leads and waste your sales person’s time. Marketing and selling only to your BEST audience takes discipline but will drastically improve the quality of your leads. This should be absurdly obvious – but most companies don’t do it.
Content marketing, like the copy on your site, your blog posts, and other sales collateral (such as whitepapers) help solidify that your company is the right choice in a prospect’s mind. Using sales people to come up with ideas and talking points in your content and sales messaging is another way to get their buy-in.
When sales is talking to leads that align with what your company does best, their meetings will go better and they’ll close more sales. And, good sales numbers always make things better for everyone.