The tango (from Latin tango, meaning “touch”) is a partner dance that originated in the 1890s along the Río de la Plata, the natural border between Uruguay and Argentina, and soon spread to the rest of the world. The styles are mostly danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow dancers have space between their bodies, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect either chest-to-chest (Argentine tango) or in the upper thigh, hip area (American and International tango). ~ Wikipedia
Historically, the relationship between marketing and sales was like court balls in the 18th century. . . people kept their bodies well apart from each other, and women followed their male partners based on tradition and a dainty touching of the fingers.
With the advent of sophisticated marketing automation systems and inbound marketing, the sales and marketing departments need a close relationship, more like a tango. This relationship involves many points of contact, graceful action, and an unusual amount of give-and-take.
Understanding the nature of the dance
The tango natural twist turn is a good model for the marketing and sales relationship. It requires planning, know-how and practice to execute this dance step expertly.
DanceCentral.info gives a detailed description of this dance step, including timing, footwork, alignment, and movement; steps diagram; a list of figures that may precede or follow the pattern; and videos providing instruction and demonstration of the figure, techniques and practice routines that include it.
Similarly, it makes sense to map out and plan the relationship between Marketing and Sales, including the marketing and sales process, a description of timing, alignment, and expectations. Start a dialog to discuss the pipeline, develop common terminology for lead generation, and outline the responsibilities of each group. This should be done in formal meetings and in informal communication. Get the two teams in communication with weekly meetings, an internal newsletter and monthly surveys.
Marketing teams needs to ask questions and listen
The marketing team has to listen and be aware of what works and what doesn’t with regards to the collateral that they provide sales. They need to have a feedback mechanism in place so they get that feedback from their front line sales people, so they can make changes.
Marketing needs to guide sales through the marketing funnel and verify that it matches the buyer’s journey from the sales point-of-view. Then marketing and sales teams can work together to define a “sales qualified lead” (SQL) and a codify that in a lead scoring system.
Finally, Marketing can work with Sales to determine the number of SQLs required per month in order for the sales team to meet their quotas.
Sales teams need to learn that inbound leads are 60-70% of the way through the sales funnel already
Inbound marketing educates prospects about your company, your products, and your services before the prospects reach out to a sales person. They’ve likely read some of your blog articles, whitepapers, watched a couple videos, and maybe downloaded an ebook. According to the Corporate Executive Board, today’s buyers are 60-70% through their decision-making process before engaging a salesperson.
The sales team needs to be consuming the content that marketing creates, so that they understand what the buyer has already read. Additionally, Sales should have immediate access to this information, tagged by topic and sales stage, so that they can engage with the customer more effectively and provide the exact reference to information that will help the prospect move toward making a buying decision.
Then Sales can help Marketing understand exactly what information they want to receive with every sales qualified lead.
The feedback loop between marketing and sales
There needs to be a feedback mechanism in place so that Marketing gets feedback from Sales on every lead, and can make adjustments as needed. They need to understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to having those prospects ready to engage with a salesperson. Marketing will also want to hear the stories that emerge from sales (hits or misses) so that they can immediately turn this into new content for everyone’s advantage.
Also, Marketing should continue to update every member of the sales team with new collateral, new offers, and new blog posts. Have the entire sales team to subscribe individually to the company blog, and give them Signals to use, along with a little training on some best practices. Learn what social platforms they use and have them help socialize blog content, special offers, landing pages, etc.
There are many variants of the tango
Tango dance steps are hot, passionate, and precise. They are also one of the most popular social dances around. In spite of its reputation, the basic dance steps for a tango are quite easy to break down.
Effectively integrating Marketing and Sales means a precise, well-planned process, with a feedback loop for lots of communication. The steps in this process are easy to break down, and the end result of the process is a passionate dance of new customers.
To kick off your new collaboration in style, checkout a compilation of some of the best tango music on YouTube. Turn those speakers up and enjoy!