The age-old tension between sales and marketing teams is a challenge faced by companies across industries. At General Tools, we were no exception to this dynamic. Our sales team craved valuable insights from marketing, seeking the key nuggets of information that could help them secure meetings and close deals. Like many companies, we wrestled with the question of how to bring these two vital departments closer together. More meetings seemed like a solution, but it didn’t address the real-time communication needs or the pressing questions arising from our sales team.
In this blog post, we’ll take you through our journey at General Tools and share how we found a way to bridge the gap between sales and marketing using a shared resource that proved to be a game-changer.
The Monthly Sales Conference Call: A Good Start
To improve communication between our sales and marketing teams, we initially introduced marketing into the monthly sales conference call. While it was a step in the right direction, this once-a-month interaction had its limitations. The pace of business today demands quicker insights and responses. The sales team needed information and support in real-time to address their challenges and opportunities effectively.
The Quest for Insights on New Products
One of the primary areas where our sales team sought marketing’s assistance was in understanding and promoting our new products. General Tools had a well-established practice of publishing a product roadmap for each brand, offering clear visibility into what was in the pipeline. However, these roadmaps were updated quarterly, which meant that there could be a lag of up to three months before we had any insights into whether a product was on track or facing delays.
This lag created a significant challenge for our sales team. They needed up-to-the-minute information to confidently discuss and promote new products with customers. Waiting for quarterly updates was no longer acceptable in our fast-paced industry.
The Solution: A Shared Resource
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, we embarked on a journey to find a solution that would meet the real-time information needs of our sales team while fostering collaboration between sales and marketing. The answer was a shared resource that would sit within the marketing department but be tailored to the sales team’s requirements.
The Birth of the “New Product Portal”
We introduced what we affectionately called the “New Product Portal.” This online platform was designed as a centralized hub for all things related to new product launches. Here’s how it worked:
- Real-Time Updates: The New Product Portal provided real-time updates on the progress of new products. Any delays, changes, or important milestones were immediately accessible to both sales and marketing teams.
- Comprehensive Product Information: The portal featured detailed information about each new product, including specifications, features, target audiences, and competitive advantages. Sales teams could access this information at any time to better understand and promote the products.
- Marketing Collateral: Sales teams often require marketing collateral to support their efforts. The portal housed a library of marketing materials, including brochures, videos, and social media assets, making it easy for the sales team to access and share with clients.
- Feedback Loops: We established a feedback mechanism within the portal, allowing the sales team to provide valuable input on product positioning, messaging, and customer responses. This created a sense of ownership and collaboration between the two teams.
The Impact: Harmony Between Sales and Marketing
The introduction of the New Product Portal had a profound impact on our organization. Here’s how it transformed the relationship between sales and marketing:
- Real-Time Collaboration: With access to real-time updates and information, the sales team felt more empowered and confident in their interactions with customers. They no longer had to wait for quarterly updates and could address customer inquiries promptly.
- Streamlined Communication: The portal served as a single source of truth for new product information. This streamlined communication and reduced the risk of misalignment between the two teams.
- Improved Product Knowledge: Sales representatives became more knowledgeable about our products, enabling them to better educate customers and address their needs effectively.
- Enhanced Collaboration: The feedback loops within the portal fostered a sense of collaboration and partnership between sales and marketing. Both teams were actively engaged in shaping product strategies and marketing campaigns.
- Boosted Sales: The increased efficiency and effectiveness of our sales team resulted in improved sales figures for new products.
The takeaway from this experience is simple: When sales and marketing work together as a cohesive unit, the possibilities are endless, and the results are remarkable. It demonstrates the power of collaboration and innovation in overcoming organizational challenges.