I had the pleasure of giving a main session presentation to the Ebix Health User Group (EHUG) conference in Louisville, KY last week. The talk was on social media, and discussed challenges every organization faces when wading into new marketing territory.

But it was the executive breakout session on Six Steps to Better Marketing that was most enlightening. I’ve been talking to many organizations about the failure of marketing departments to properly support sales in their efforts. Here, in a room of 20 or so executives, was validation of that idea. When I asked if any of their organizations’ marketing teams supported the sales presentations given by sales, the answer was a universal ‘no.’

I’ll say it again…sales presentation design is the great weakness of sales teams, and makes up a large portion of the unproductive 20% of their typical day. If you are part of a marketing team, the number one thing you can do is rethink how you are supporting your sales organization. Start by stepping back and asking yourself a few questions:

1. Do you know the sales team? I mean by name, the actual names of the people on that team (at least some of them). I’m shocked at how many large companies have marketing teams who can’t name a single sales person. How do you know what they need if you don’t talk to them?
2. Can the sales team name the work that you do? Do they know what your biggest priorities are? I am willing to wager the answer is no. Why? Because the work you are focused on is often not what they feel they need to succeed.
3. Can you outline their sales process? The specific steps the sales organization takes to get a prospect to become a customer. Most times, marketing’s efforts are focused on generating a lead, but beyond a capability brochure and a case study or two, there is no other support for sales once they are in touch with prospects. Do you know how the materials you produce map to their process? If not you are not setting them up to succeed.

As for that capability brochure, the group identified it as the most expensive and least helpful marketing tool created inside their company.

These were just three of the biggest gaps we discussed. And they are huge. Does this sound like you?