If you ask most sales people involved in B2B sales if they would like marketing to communicate to their prospects once a sales process is underway with an opportunity, they will tell you NOT AT ALL. Many sales people have had negative experiences where the marketing team sends (accidentally or otherwise) an email to a contact in a current, active sales opportunity. This email might be informing a prospect of a special promotion, other discount or new feature that can disrupt, delay or confuse the current sales opportunity. Having lived through that myself on several occasions it can be extremely frustrating. The contact that received the email immediately shares the information with their internal team and now they ask for additional discounts, want to learn about some product announcement or other news that they deem relevant to their purchase decision. Most good marketing teams know how to leverage their marketing automation or email platforms to suppress any email addresses for contacts associated with active opportunities. So the marching order is typically, don’t send to any contacts that are part of an active opportunity.
So with all that as a backdrop, is it best for marketing to be totally absent to all contacts in active B2B sales opportunities or can they play a positive role to actually HELP sales accelerate or cement a deal? The answer is YES! The decision to buy is often about understanding and limiting risk. Some marketing communications can have the effect of reducing the perceived risk of your product or service as well as the risk of doing business with your company. There are many types of marketing communications that can add confidence in the product and the company. Examples include:
- Announcements of recent customer wins – this will have the effect of letting all the contacts within your sales opportunities know that many other companies are buying your solution and having a great experience.
- Endorsements from analyst firms – If Gartner publishes a magic quadrant that puts your company as a leader in your market, marketing should send an announcement to all sales opportunities to generate further confidence in the company and the product and make your prospect more comfortable signing a deal.
- Funding Announcements – If your company recently closed a round of funding, marketing should announce this too. Sales opportunities will see this as an indication that the investment community believes in your vision, products and ability to deliver. That type of announcement will definitely help the decision maker feel more comfortable choosing your company/solution.
- Awards – Imagine your company’s product was just voted “product of the year” or your support team just won an award for “outstanding customer service” or your company was just voted one of the “top 100 companies to work for” these are endorsements that acknowledge your excellence in some part of your business. Marketing should share these with sales opportunities.
So when it comes to marketing communications and your active sales opportunities, just be careful that your marketing team isn’t sending out messages that could disrupt or delay deals expected to close. That doesn’t mean marketing cannot send the right communication. Build a specific nurture stream for those contacts that are associated with active sales opportunities. Fill it with information about your company that will inspire confidence, accelerate the process and help get deals closed.