Marketing teams in the technology industry rely on technical staff to communicate highly complex messages. Rarely will you find a marketing team that is technical by nature (guilty), nor is it easy to find a technical team proficient at marketing. In most instances, these two departments are married by a sales department that has a broad understanding of both disciplines and can decipher the languages of both.
While aligning sales and marketing is vital to your success, marketing can’t rely on sales to decode the intricacies of a technical person’s job. Learning details about your clients from the front line can bring a tremendous amount of value to an organization. What’s key is understanding the benefits of teaming up and working together in a frictionless manner.
Benefits of marketing and technical teams working together
Technical buyers need technical messaging
When prospective clients are shopping for the services you provide, they go through the discovery process long before ever speaking to you. Before calling or filling out a web form, they have already read about, watched, or listened to your view of the problem they face and how you plan on solving it.
Researchers come from a variety of disciplines within an organization. Fine-tuning your marketing assets alongside your technical team can ensure the technical buyer persona is being properly marketed to. Using your technical team as a sounding board is a great way to learn if your message resonates with them.
The truth and nothing but the truth
Most technical staffs have dealt with an overenthusiastic salesperson who promises the stars and only delivers the moon. Even though your moons are the best in the business, you owe your client a few stars. These empty promises are usually made when the ink pen is out, and the deal is on the precipice.
A marketing team can do far greater damage to your company’s reputation through ambiguous, confusing or outright false messaging. Marketing can be likened to a 24×365 sales team whose messages are evergreen and can’t be brushed off as a misstatement. Technical team members are the best at calling a spade a spade, and ultimately knowing what your offering is or isn’t. Utilizing them to ensure your messaging is clear and honest can help you sell a lot more moons.
New marketing content is just a painful conversation away
Every marketer knows the value of fresh and new content. Rest assured that no technical people could care one iota about that shiny, new piece of marketing copy that you’ve been working on, but they are a wellspring of valuable insight. Technical teams have jobs to do that take a lot of focus and energy. Adding a task that is owned by another department is usually met with a great deal of resistance.
Tapping into your technical team’s knowledge for marketing purposes takes skill and deliberation, but, when done properly, can pay huge dividends.
How to leverage your technical team the right way
Spend time on the front line
Sitting in on demonstrations, client calls, installations and support calls is an educational experience that most marketers don’t take advantage of. By watching your team in action, you learn more about what you’re marketing, and pick up on trends that dictate what is coming down the pipe.
The inverse can be helpful as well. Inviting your technical staff to sit in on marketing discussions can bring your goals to light. After they fully understand what you are trying to accomplish and see the benefits to the company and themselves, they can become a valuable resource.
Make it easy
If you send an email to your technical staff and say, “I need new content. Have any ideas?” — expect an empty inbox. By the time you have carved out the time to meet with a team member, you should have a general outline constructed with a few holes to fill. Do your research ahead of time and have questions prepared.
Remember that you are asking for a favor, something that falls outside of their normal scope of work. Start with a nearly finished canvas and let them add the details.
When someone helps you with content, ideas or anything related to your job, always make sure that they are rewarded. One way to show appreciation and continue the inflow of assistance is to publicly recognize the person. You can send a companywide email or announce your sincere gratitude at the next company get together. Pro tip: Buying lunch is ALWAYS appreciated.
While marketing and technical teams are typically siloed from each other, bringing these unique groups together can make for fantastic marketing content. The content produced will resonate with buyers of every persona and help with your collective goal – growing your business.
is Director of Marketing at Revolution Data Systems, a national document imaging and management company based in Louisiana.