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Justin Graci
Principal Marketing Manager - Product GTM & Enablement at HubSpot November 22

Great question. I suggest all marketers to collaborate with their sales team. At my previous company, marketers were required to shadow a certain number of sales calls per month. This was a great way for us to understand their process, hear what prospects are saying, and align what we're doing.

In terms of engaging Sales for input, here is what I'd suggest:

  1. Find a core group of sales reps who will be your champions. For us, we identified a group of around 5 reps in the segment we were focused on, who leverage content and campaigns in their sales process. These reps were willing and excited to partner with marketing.
  2. Build a template to collect their ideas and feedback within. For us, we've created one that has 3 columns: what we'd build, why we'd build it, and when/where reps would use it in their sales process.
  3. Send your prompts to your sales feedback group for input
  4. Meet with them to discuss live in a focus group and/or async via commenting

Another approach we've taken is with creating a "Sales Panel" which is a monthly recurring meeting with a core group of reps who are willing to provide feedback and ideas to marketing. These meetings have a dynamic agenda, where any marketer can join with a question they're seeking feedback/responses to.

My last tip... hire a sales rep who has marketing skills to join your marketing team. They'll bring with them a ton of connections/trust within the sales org.

Harsha Kalapala
Vice President Product Marketing at AlertMedia | Formerly TrustRadius, Levelset, WalmartNovember 2

The sales team is often at the front lines. They are the eyes and ears of your go-to-market strategy.

Engaging with sales starts with the little things to build trust that you understand their world. Sit with the sales team at the office at a floater desk. Be a fly-on-the-wall in their meetings. Sit down next to a salesperson for lunch. Set up virtual coffee meetings. Look at their activity on LinkedIn. Dont just talk to the sales managers. Connect at every experience level and role in the sales process.

When creating content, review early concepts with sales verbally. “Hey, Lee - we are thinking about building out [this story]. What do you think?” A product marketer should be perceived as almost being on the sales team (and the product team - which is a post for another topic). A sales enablement person may have a sales background - which helps with trust, or they may have to earn it.

Many salespeople have strong opinions. I would be careful to not get carried away by one strong opinion. Use it to support your data, or find data to support a hypothesis. You don’t always have the data - then use your gut to make a call and keep a close pulse on the lead metrics to see if it is working as intended.

Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing at Quickbase December 1

First, you want to leverage the sales team to get content ideas as you plan.

The ideal partnership between marketing and sales is when you are having regular conversations so you always have a pulse on what is resonating in the market. You can also

  • Run a regular survey to gather specific input - whether its on what competitors they come across the most or ideas for topics, etc.
  • Tools like Gong are great because you can passively listen to sales conversations and get ideas 
  • Sometimes Slack channels can be a great resource for ideas
  • Have more formal cross-functional meetings between sales/GTM enablement and PMMs to discuss content as you do things like quarterly planning

Secondly, you want to involve sales in the content review process.

Your sales team is your internal customer so you want to make sure to get their input as you develop content and make sure it is useful to them

Charles Tsang
Head of Marketing at Pinwheel February 9

In one of the earlier questions I was asked about how often I meet with the sales team. In general I meet with them at a minimum once a week, but most of the time several times a week.  

What I like to do during these sessions is to:

  • Begin to understand their needs and where they need the most help. For example, as they work on engaging with prospects, are there common sticking points that come up in sales conversations (e.g., pricing, competitive differentiation)? What are those sticking points and why are they occuring?
  • Share a point of view or strawman. Blank sheet discussions to collect input are helpful, but should be rapidly translated into a strawman proposal or framework for input. Engaging with sales for input is sometimes easier if they have something to react to.  
  • Then, review draft content and solicit their input in stress testing it and poking holes at it. Since sales is on the front lines, they usually have great insight into potential areas where a product pitch or message may not resonate.  
  • Lastly, another interesting way to engage with Sales on this is to get feedback on how the sales content resonated during customer conversations (or better yet, shadow them during a call with a potential customer!)