For the past year, I’ve worked with Carola van der Linden (Carola van der Linden), Marketing Manager in EMEAR, on Social Selling. I wanted to get her unique perspective on how sales and marketing works together and what marketing can learn from sales. Carola brings not only a deep understanding of how social is used in her region but first hand experience implementing new capabilities to the sales organization.

Jennifer Roberts: You’ve been working on the social selling program for some time, what do you think marketing could learn from sales? 

Carola van der Linden: Ownership and accountability. Sales teams have very clear accountability for revenue, and marketing is moving in that direction. Revenue Marketing is a first step, which means it’s their job to get closer to the sales organization, to understand the sales dynamic and provide quality leads that convert. Moving forward, I think the link between the two organizations will be even tighter. Marketing is beginning to use the same tools as sales, and we are tracking to the same set of goals and using the same definitions to describe our progress.

JR: What is the role of marketing in social selling? How can marketing help sales?

CvdL: 70% of a customer’s buying decision is now made based on information he or she finds online. We want to make sales aware that the customer’s buying journey occurs online and that it’s important for them to have an online presence. One way they can begin to create their presence is to become socially active—use social as a communication vehicle to engage and help customers and partners.

Creating an online presence isn’t limited to sales. We are all social sellers. Marketing is trying to lead by example. Many of us have a Twitter account and are encouraged to share relevant information with our social networks. We also track our progress using an online dashboard– a leaderboard so we can compare and compete against our colleagues.

JR: You mention the need for sales to have an online presence. How can marketing support sales through this transition?

CvdL: Marketing can support to sales by developing an onboarding process for new tools, new ways of doing business and by providing relevant training. Content is also a huge priority; it’s important that it support the buyer’s journey. So, marketing needs to be able to provide the sales rep with relevant content for different stages of that journey. We also have to realize that the type of content shared through email is different than what is shared via social media.

There is also a behavioral shift and level of knowledge the sales reps need to gain so they understand what they can share with customers. Marketing can have an impact through training and content, both of which can help our sales reps make that cultural change.

Another area where marketing can help is demonstrating a clear ROI. They need to show how social activities can help grow opportunities, bookings and account knowledge.

JR: Thanks, Carola, for your time and good luck in FY16.


Jennifer Roberts

Social Media Marketing Manager