When you’re on the lookout for a new TV (or smartphone, or laptop), your first step is probably to use Google to see what other people have to say about different brands or models, right? You’re not alone. Fleishman-Hillard reported in 2012 that 89% of people do exactly that, and one in five will check out a brand on Facebook. All of that consumer chatter and social media messaging can make a salesperson’s job a little more complicated than it used to be. This infographic from Crimson Marketing shows how a business’s marketing department can ready its sales team with the information it needs to snag those internet-savvy buyers.

First off, marketing should be seen as a revenue center, not a cost center. In fact, marketing is actually an equal and complementary partner to sales. How is that possible? Look to the buyers – they are far more self-educated these days. Thanks to the internet, they can do their own research and make a purchase decision on their own before talking to a vendor. Marketers are more likely than sales reps to know what buyers are thinking or saying. The two teams should work together and share information. Sales reps have to learn to value the data that marketers can provide them about buyers. Marketers need to make sure that sales reps are on equal footing with their leads in brand and product knowledge. By pairing up with marketing, sales reps will get better at their jobs, which is a win for your company.

Here are three easy tips for marketers working with sales reps:

  1. Listen: Listen to the buyers, that is. Collect data from message boards, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon review sections, and other places where customers talk.
  2. Mine Your Data: Pluck out the relevant information and pass it along to sales in a report that is clear and easy to understand.
  3. Provide Some Guidance: Use your experience to help sales reps learn how to act on the information. For example: responding to customer questions or concerns online.

Are your sales and marketing teams sharing notes, or still working in isolation? Join the discussion below!