Posted by

7 minute read



This post originally appeared on The HubSpot Insiders blog, a section of Inbound Hub:


Outsourced Corporate Sales, Denver Marketing, Revenue RiverI have a confession to make: before I owned a marketing company I was a sales guy. I sold goods and services for 4 different companies in 13 years, from beer and soda to sunglasses and IT services.  

Success as a salesman led me into sales management. I not only sold, but managed people trying to sell too. In that role I really learned a lot. I learned that sales people will come up with almost every excuse in the book. They’ll oftentimes avoid accountability. It seemed like there was always something preventing them from meeting their goals.

Fast forward quite a few years to the present day. As I write this, I'm a salesman-inbound-marketer hybrid. Now, us Inbound marketers typically don’t sell the leads we turn over. Because of this, the need to work with a sales team is paramount.

Because (and I say this from career experience) a salesperson's work and behavior can be misconstrued by a non-salesperson, I think it’s important for marketers to understand the sales mindset. In particular, who you’re dealing with, what goes through his or her mind, and what you can do to ensure alignment between both the marketing and sales teams to drive success. Here are 7 myths salespeople want marketers to believe, and how to counteract them.


1) We know everything about sales, we’re experts and you’re not


Only one salesperson is the very best in their field, the rest of us have a lot to learn.  While we act like we’re the only ones that understand the sales cycle, we often neglect certain portions during pursuit. Our neglect can be your loss as leads that don’t close are often considered ‘unqualified’.


How to overcome the myth:


It’s a good idea to help educate the us through management by offering up continued learning. Dripping forward HubSpot training materials within the knowledge base can be especially effective in aligning us with your efforts. 

The baseline selling approach HubSpot uses is hugely effective but many of the salespeople you’re turning leads over to aren’t using it. Discuss upcoming webinars with management and try to get us signed up, everyone will benefit from the alignment.


2) We’re way too busy to work LinkedIn


Getting salespeople to participate socially can be difficult, most of us will push back on the time and effort it takes. It amazes me how many salespeople aren’t best friends with LinkedIn, they don’t understand that it’s quickly becoming one of the most valuable tools available.

Everyone has the ability to make 15 minutes in their day to connect with new people and share articles, marketers can’t afford salespeople to slack on something so valuable. The problem is often the inability to connect the dots, we simply don’t see the short term value of spending our time like this.


How to overcome the myth:


Work with management to get 15-30 minutes of our day allocated to social media marketing. This time should be spent connecting, distributing content, and participating in the appropriate groups. Teach us how you do what you do, we’ll come around when we connect the dots and start to see results.


3) We can’t write blog articles, we’re salespeople not writers


Getting us to write a useful blog article can be like pulling a rabbit from a hat. We’ll dig our feet in and flat out refuse to contribute. Truth is we’re probably just scared people aren’t going to like what we have to say and don’t know where to start.

If you can get the sales force to blog you’ll surely have a better chance of getting them to participate socially as they’ll be more committed to sharing what they wrote versus your own pieces.


How to overcome the myth:


To help salespeople get started, try scheduling a 15 minute interview posing key questions you think your target audience is interested in. Another option is to supply us an outline to contribute rough thoughts to, as little as ten minutes of their time can really bring value to your articles if nothing else.

You’ll rarely be able to get us to write a complete article from start to finish but you can get us to contribute to some degree.  If you can get us to add some insight or answer some questions you can ghost write the rest and publish in our name after review.


4) We’re way too good to hunt, prospecting is for amateurs


Hunting is sales-speak for prospecting and many salespeople simply don’t have the right mindset to really hunt. We make excuses for not attacking the prospecting tool every morning like it’s our job, that’s just not a profitable way to spend our time. We need to change that mindset, no salesperson is too good to hunt.

After all, as Napolean Hill says, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve. This can be easy or hard depending on how badly you want it. The prospecting mindset can be developed by anyone.”

Marketers need feedback on the prospects on their client’s website. Otherwise, how can they improve their lead generation efforts? There is gold in there but it’s sometimes difficult to find. The keen eye of a good salesperson can distinguish current clients from vendors and competitors from prospects.


How to overcome the myth:


Schedule a weekly call with us to review the prospecting process (whether it be a tool or set of tactics). Before the call, scrub the recent activity to remove the obviously irrelevant visitors from bogus companies and be ready to ask qualifying questions about the prospects you think have potential.

By reviewing this weekly you’ll begin to open our eyes on the potential and we’ll begin to believe in the tool. We might actually visit it a time or two between meetings if you’re not careful.


5) Your marketing leads aren’t qualified


If the leads you pass are all good then the problem with conversion rates most likely points to us. We can’t have that, so it’s your fault. Salespeople won’t accept responsibility, the tendency will always be to push back against the quality of the lead when challenged by management.


How to overcome the myth:


Make sure you build parameters with management to ensure qualifications are outlined at the beginning of the campaign. Spend time reviewing their interactions and conversions before turning over and provide as much context as possible.

At our agency we go as far as to look up the leads on Google and LinkedIn, including the links and some personal notes at handoff. This small amount of additional time per lead prevents poor leads from being turned over and gives the salesperson more to work with.


6) We think rejected leads "didn’t need our services"


Prospects don’t fill out a form on a website because they don’t need anything.  They fill out a form and give a meeting because they have a need they want filled or a problem they hope you have the solution for. If we’re replying to your leads and voicing this complaint there clearly is a problem.


How to overcome the myth:


You’ll want to dig a little deeper, call a meeting with management to discuss the leads in question to determine exactly why they were rejected. Here are some initial queries you can bring up:

  • Do the leads match your buyer personas?
  • Were the leads contacted in a timely manner?
  • Exactly what objections were given, and how were they countered?

If you dig a little deeper you’ll most likely expose the gap in the process and have a better chance of improving future results.


7) We don’t have a story to tell


As salespeople, we are the best source for valuable case study material. We’re the ones that have the relationship with our clients and access to the numbers in most cases. A good relationship between marketing and sales teams can lead to a better velocity and quality of case studies. You want to tell a story and we know the best stories to tell (whether we want to admit it or not). 


How to overcome the myth:


Working with us to harvest the details is the key to telling a more compelling story of success and generating additional leads. You’ll want to setup yet another short interview with us, I know we take a lot of hand-holding.

Start by interviewing us about our biggest and best sales success stories. We’ll most likely be elated to share our successes, bragging about the big fish we’ve caught and how we landed them. Follow up with some pointed questions asking about how the new clients impacted the organization and how the organization performed as a result. You’ll quickly gather the notes for a more powerful case study, helping you tell a story the audience wants to hear.


Relationships take time and effort


We’re used to doing things our way and need a little prompting to change our habits. This inbound marketing thing is a little foreign to us, so you’re going to have to help us get used to all these fantastic new tools and resources.

Have a little patience with us, don’t give up, and do everything in your control to sell us on what’s in it for us. Show us how this extra time and energy is going to impact our commission and we’ll likely perk right up.


corporate sales, outsourced sales, sales management

Eric Pratt

Eric Pratt

Eric founded Revenue River in 2009 and has driven it into one of the most successful digital marketing agencies in the country. He wears many hats at Revenue River, while running the company is his job, he’s happy to be on the ground floor in the marketing and sales departments whenever the opportunity arises. On the rare occasions that Eric isn’t working, he’s somewhere in the high country stalking game or with his wife and two kids cheering on the Seahawks.

Read More

Subscribe to The Cutting Edge