You have your marketing guru. You have your sales rep. They each do their little thing and take on where the other leaves off, and all is good with the world, right? Wrong. Today’s customer needs a business who knows how to deliver what they want and that requires a united front where marketing and sales combine their powers to really pack a punch.
Without a solid marketing effort, even the best product won’t sell. Without sales, a company wouldn’t be in business long enough to build a team.
To tie it up with a nice little bow, there are no sales without marketing and no marketing without sales, period.
I appreciated the simplicity of Hubspot’s distinction between marketing and sales.
The analogy of fishing comes to mind here. You bait the hook with the right little morsel and you stand a better chance of reeling in the big kahuna. If you don’t leverage both strengths of sales and marketing, you’ll be lucky to get a nibble.
Customers have pains. That’s what propels them to buy. When the pain becomes unbearable, they start looking for unique, new, or cheaper ways to remedy the problem.
They research, then research a little more. They click here and there, surf and search, make a shortlist of solutions and, “bam!” make a decision. Simple, right?
It should be simple, sure, but what muddies the water is every company has a slightly different way of “meeting their customer where their customer needs to be met”. A little hint here, “meeting the customer’s need” is the very sweet spot of sales and marketing alignment.
To add to the complexities, customers have the digital age, the Internet, social media, and mobile everything at their fingertips so they’re smarter, more capable and more demanding than ever before. Heck, your customers are so ahead of the decision and buying game, they already know what they want before you even know they are looking. In fact, Forrester Research says that now 90% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a prospect reaches out to a salesperson.
On the other side of this, the role of sales and marketing is significantly different from company to company. For example, a small business may not set up a formal marketing group, but all of their marketing ideas come from the sales team, or an agency. Small businesses typically equate marketing with selling. They don’t think of it as two separate functions.
Eventually, the small business becomes a bigger business who adds a marketing person or builds a marketing team to help sales do more. They handle all the market research, market opportunities, marketing channels, and all the marketing stuff then scoot it on over to the sales team whose job it is to attract customers and close sales. At the end of the day, the lines are drawn because both sales and marketing still see the marketing group as an adjunct to the sales team.
As companies become larger, companies and teams realise there is more need to differentiate. They determine that effective marketing needs people skilled in segmentation, targeting, and market positioning. At this stage, marketing typically becomes an independent function. It also starts to compete with Sales for budget. And this is typically where team alignment and conflict begin. Each group takes on tasks it believes the other should be doing but isn’t doing well. At this stage, the sales and marketing can’t align on what the other should be doing and therefore they can’t define what success looks like.
If you’ve been following our Play Big Series, you’ll know that the way you reach your customers depends largely on:
The larger your company becomes, the harder it is to deliver the best customer experience, consistently, across multiple marketing and sales channels and geographies.
Organisational silos are still common and pose a threat to success because companies get so centred around what they “know” and less focused on what they “don’t know.” This directly impacts the customer experience—every time— because you’ve made your business about you, not your customer.
To shift from “conventional alignment” to “sales and marketing collaboration” requires a focus on more than just getting the two functions to work together. B2B sales and marketing leaders need to develop buyer-focused engagement strategies that rely on joint planning and execution across the sales and marketing organisation.
This partnership reinforces the narrative that sales and marketing are extremely interdependent and that with a coordinated approach, they can knock revenue generation out of the park.
If sales and marketing are not aligned, you end up falling into a black hole of he-said-she-said, “marketing provided poor leads” and “sales were too lazy.” But if you build a “revenue machine” that’s powered by a unified sales and marketing approach geared toward the common goal of raising revenue, you can be unstoppable, like a machine.
When marketing and sales are aligned, the results are huge. Organisations with aligned teams experience:
They’re the chocolate and vanilla, the yin and the yang, the two great things that do greater together. When you connect sales and marketing and set them on a collaborative journey, you’ll find the path leads right to the hearts and minds of your customers.
This blog was written by Shannon Prager from LeadITMarketing, a fully outsourced marketing service business specialised in B2B technology and B2B professional services companies. Head to their website for even more great content and to see how they can help you get your marketing strategy on track.
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