I’ve spoken about this in the past in my vlogs and blogs (Catch them here), but I can’t emphasise enough how the alignment of your sales and marketing teams is a must for any business. Now, I know your business will have set methods of working and any change is always met with resistance but this shouldn’t matter or influence the decision. If you have the option of understanding your customers better and increasing your efficiency and revenue, surely, it’s a no-brainer to align your sales and marketing teams, right?
Change your approach
If you’re still focused on quantity then the likely scenario will be that focused on filling your pipeline with X number of leads and your sales team will be focused on making X calls per day in a bid to convert those leads. This worked to a degree back in the day but times have evolved and so has the consumer. This tactic doesn’t focus on the quality of leads and marketing and sales are focused on their own individual goals, not to mention how this disruptive tactic can annoy prospects.
Stop the blame game
There has always been a battle between sales and marketing, which ultimately is around blaming each other for the failure of any ROI or conversions from all the marketing and sales activity. The blame game will notably come from having KPIs that are not aligned, short-term targets that don’t align with long-term objectives, no collaborative thinking, and approach to activity to name a few.
So, what’s the answer? Align your sales and marketing
Ditch the old school way of thinking and align your teams so they work together. Align their roles and goals so ROI becomes the key focus and responsibility for your whole business, not individual’s teams.
By aligning your sales and marketing you can shorten the sales cycle because they are both on the same page and working towards the same goal.
Sales can provide marketing with key insight into the market and customer, because who else is going to know them better than the people who engage with them daily. Marketing can then take this key insight and create and tailored content as part of a strategic approach that is focused on producing quality leads.
Where do you start?
Well before you do anything I’ve outlined a few steps for you to consider. I’ve said this a lot but before you go live with anything it’s fundamental you get the groundwork right and this is no different.
Create Tailored Content
Customers today do their research early in their buyer’s journey so it’s fundamental that the content that you push out is informative and educational, and that you nurture leads through all the stages of the sales funnel. Sales can give marketing the key insight and steer they need to create a range of content from case studies, testimonials, vlogs to webinars, all of which are focused around the prospects, their pain points and the solution to solving them.
You will need a range of content for every stage of the sales funnel, by this I mean the top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). See diagram below.
Marketing should be working closely with sales to map out the sales plays and type of content needed at each stage. The overall goal is to nurture leads through the sales funnel and this can be possible if the sales reps are armed with collateral that not only helps them leverage their brand but also tell stories that prospects buy into which in return motivates them to purchase from you rather than a competitor.
Get the Culture Right
Sales and Marketing alignment comes from people, not technology. It's the cultural shiftyou need to get right first and it has to come from the top down. To get full buy-in from the CEO must be the driving force behind this approach and it needs to be adopted company-wide. It’s time for the teams to lose the traditional perception of each other and start to approach lead generation with a fresh pair of eyes. The time needs to be taken to get this culture in place, so implement workshops and a new framework of working which fundamentally shows the teams how working together means they are stronger and can give more ROI.
Take a new approach to lead gen
How many of us have been part of or know of the mass email blast or spray and pray approach to lead gen? That approach is old hat and is likely to result in little ROI, poor quality leads, annoying potential leads and with GDPR coming into play soon I wouldn’t go down this road.
An ideal replacement for this would be an inbound marketing approach or better yet, yes you knew I would mention Marketing. Both approaches work and can be used together. The overall focus on your lead gen approach should be to attract the right leads, understand their needs and interests and how you can convert them to a customer, better yet advocate.
Move away from the volume approach. I’ve spoken about this earlier and in previous blogs and vlogs. As a marketer I can fill your pipeline with as many ‘leads’ but how many of those are quality? How many are actually leads?
Surely, any CEO will want to know where the deals you did close came from and then target more of those? That’s the approach you want, quality over quantity any day. This will also give a clear indication of the qualified opportunities that came from a specific campaign or marketing investment etc.
As a marketer, myself I know when it comes to reporting on ROI that we often focus on the number of leads we have generated when we should report on the revenue contribution we have generated from our activities. By adopting this approach, you are asking marketing to be accounted for on the same level as sales are, this will make the alignment more natural and encourage the collaborative approach towards the end goal.
Sales enablement is a software that helps your sales and marketing teams understand the power of your content, your customers, their journey and help you nurture them so you can close more deals. In essence, it closes the loop between marketing, sales, and the customer and it’s all based on one platform so you can have a clear overview. There are a number software platforms available, but my preferred choice is HubSpot. HubSpot turns your website into a magnet. It allows you to create content, optimize it for search engines and share it on social media. Then engage your prospects with landing pages, calls to action, personalised email and a personalised website.
The buyer has changed and the buyer is in control. They are now digitally driven, socially connected, mobile and empowered with the magic of the internet. If you did do a Google search for sales and marketing alignment you will get roughly 40.3 million search results, yes that’s the power of the internet.
It’s time to align the two departments or integrate them. They need to know more about each other so overall you can know more about your customers. You need to embed the mindset of helping and not selling with all the focus around the customer. A customer-centric approach is what you need.
I hope you found this insight of use. If you want to know more about B2B marketing, and marketing alignment, ABM or any marketing related matters contact me and I'm happy to help. Contact me here firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.
Plus, you can read a few of my previous posts below: