Sales and marketing. Marketing and sales. Two words that work together so effortlessly, yet they often mask an atmosphere of competition and division. But amazing things happen when they work together.
Never is it more important to ensure these two teams are collaborating than during the implementation of an export strategy. By bridging the troublesome gap and encouraging these two equally crucial teams to work towards shared goals, businesses can deliver a cohesive export sales strategy that’s time and cost efficient, and, financially successful.
We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to get your export sales and marketing teams to pool their skills and knowledge in order to drive exports and increase your company’s chances of success when expanding overseas.
According to a study conducted by LeanData, 51 per cent of marketers are not satisfied with the level of communication between sales and marketing teams. But while it’s perfectly reasonable to assume this gap may never be completely bridged, it’s important for companies to aim high and do whatever you can to create a frictionless environment in which business expansion can flourish.
The ironic thing is that export sales and marketing are both already aiming for the same goal. That is, they’re both working to expand the company abroad, increase the number of successful conversions and sales, and boost the brand’s reputation overseas. By acknowledging this and reminding teams that their goals are aligned, it’s easier for sales and marketing to move in the same direction and find the common ground they need to put their squabbles aside.
Share and share alike
Why waste time and financial resources on the collection of two sets of data when one will be just as efficient? One of the biggest benefits of forging a cohesive relationship between these two teams is to ensure frequent sharing of all information gathered. Neither department should miss out on information collected by the other due to nothing more than a poor relationship or bad communication.
Removing parameters on sharing will help encourage involvement and allow for greater insights into target markets, whether you’re already established or just launching into new territories.
Imagine that the export sales team are talking directly to their local agents and partners and discover a popular local exhibition in a target city that your target audience will attend. Envisage if they didn’t pass this information back to marketing, the potential for a campaign targeted around the event would have been lost.
Opportunities like this crop up continuously. Properly communicated to the right people, they can result in big changes for little to no research investment.
Unifying buyer personas
‘Buyer persona’ is a term that refers to a partially fictional representation of your company’s ideal customer. It’s based on demographics, behaviour and customer motivation data. Both teams should be targeting their efforts towards the same potential customers, and this can only be achieved through regular communication and adherence to agreed buyer personas.
For example, your export sales team should understand from marketing how they approach each type of customer that is currently buying from your company domestically (or your competition if you’re not yet established.)
Marketing and sales should then collaborate to understand the buyer personas abroad. The behaviour and motivations of these customers may be very different to domestic customers. They may be more price-sensitive or their buying decision may involve a greater amount of influence from third parties. These nuances matter.
By collaborating on this exercise, both teams have a better handle on the type of customer the business is aiming to target overseas and how to approach the trans-creation task on campaigns for maximum profitability.
In addition, both departments can gain access to a comprehensive list of buyer personas that everyone is bought into. This increases team morale, target audience engagement and boosts exports.
Content is still a crucial factor in the success of businesses, both at home and abroad, and that point holds true across both departments. While sales uses content to streamline their proposal and conversion process, marketing makes use of content to draw in customers and encourage enquiries.
These may seem like disparate tasks, but the truth is that both sales and marketing should work together to better understand their specific audience, country by country. This is particularly the case for the export sales team, who have a responsibility to make their content needs clear and ensure all content created by marketing is as engaging and inspiring as possible for the specific geography they’re attempting to succeed within.
To help in this matter, sales (or country partners) should provide marketing with feedback on market structure, language and culture in the country or region so the marketing department is able to gain accurate translations before publishing content and embarking on campaigns.
Maintaining company culture
Ultimately, it is difficult for your teams to remain cohesive if the right culture isn’t in place, and as an export manager, marketing manager or business owner it’s your responsibility to establish and maintain this culture.
Part of this effort includes the creation of a single brand image, which needs to be applied to and understood by both departments to ensure employees are working from the same page.
From then on it’s about holding meetings and encouraging collaboration, which will hopefully establish bonds and guarantee on-going synchronisation between the departments as your business grows internationally.
This is a challenge that all companies face. But when you start exporting and dealing with overseas markets, new languages and cultures, the complexities grow. In these scenarios, the focus on great communication needs to be stronger than ever.
Expert translation services are crucial for both sales and marketing teams working with exports. Contact Bubbles today to find out how we can help deliver quick, accurate content translations that meet your requirements and assist in your expansion plans.