Misalignment between sales and marketing is a troubling challenge for B2B organizations. Fractured relationships, lost leads and sales, inefficient processes, and lowered revenues are far too familiar for these groups. According to a report from Demand Gen Reports, misaligned organizations suffer from poor communication, flawed processes, and weak and inconsistent follow up. Additionally, these groups are being measured by different metrics.
In the B2B space, buyers are now evaluating products and solutions on their own. They’re not involving a sales rep until they have 50 to 70 percent of the entire buying decision completed. Therefore, before the buyer is even ready to consider meeting a sales rep, he needs to be engaged by marketing.
A study conducted by Marketo shows that sales and marketing alignment can make an organization 67 percent better at closing deals, and reduce friction by 108 percent. Moreover, marketing can generate 209 percent more value. The study cites four critical areas of improvement that result in alignment: increased revenue, shortened sales cycles, improved conversion rates, and improved forecast accuracy. It is estimated that poor alignment can cost organizations 10 percent or more of annual revenue.
Alignment between sales and marketing can impact revenue with big pay offs to the bottom line. According to International Data Corporation, companies with strong alignments reported 20 percent growth rates in their revenues after critical areas are addressed and processes are implemented.
Recently, Forbes reported that a B2B customer uses six different interaction channels to consume information during the purchase process. Inconsistent experiences leave two-thirds of those extremely frustrated. For each market segment and persona target, marketing and sales must collaborate and develop a clear understanding of the customer’s decision journey.
This collaboration and alignment empowers sales teams to deliver added value to conversations, serve up content to their networks at the correct moment, and engage with their brands’ marketing-generated content. Sales force productivity increases, and ineffective prospecting tactics are reduced. Here are four steps to creating and ensuring this critical alliance.
Four Steps to Aligning Sales and Marketing
- Communicate, build camaraderie, and gain top-down support.
- Hold weekly reviews of marketing campaign performances.
- Discuss lead scoring and routing, and adjust plans as business needs evolve.
- Submit summary reports to the executive team weekly.
- Create weekly plans with action items, supportive ideas, templates, and battle cards for field and inside sales teams.
- Use content design and execution to allow the marketing team to launch campaigns and build the ecosystem for buyers to move through the funnel (Sales Benchmark Index).
- Develop an annual sales and marketing content calendar.
- Choose topics relevant to the sales cycles or seasons, events, or your intended personas.
- Determine the type of content and the medium, e.g., a blog, white paper, or video.
- Review technology usage and optimization strategies.
- Ensure processes are working properly and supporting effective communication between teams.
- Maintain data and lead integrity at all costs. Insufficient data in support of segmentation and initiatives can be a stumbling block.
- Align around the same metrics.
- Agreement around definitions and measurements is a key to success.
- Think quality of leads over quantity of leads.
- Learn from and become a data-driven organization.
- Map toward maturity and predictable modeling.
- Analyze your performance and assess wins/losses.
- Make refinements to plan a defined cadence (Sales Benchmark Index, Independent Study, MarketSource, 2016).
Get Help with Your Sales and Marketing
Not only do your sales and marketing teams need to be on the same page, they need to be working from the same playbook. You can learn more about aligning your sales and marketing from a MarketSource assessment for your company. MarketSource’s sales experts will work with you to define your challenges and design a turnkey solution that produces results in the area of gaining new customers, launching new products, growing market share, optimizing sales expense, or maximizing a mature product.
Our sales teams deliver more than $6 billion in revenue for many of the most well-respected brands in the world and a diverse mix of forward-thinking small- and medium-sized businesses. You can learn more about this topic and MarketSource’s proprietary process, empowered people, and proven performance by contacting us today.