In the traditional days of commerce, sales and marketing were two separate departments with separate objectives. The marketing department was responsible for gathering intelligence, creating products, and generating brand awareness through advertising & public relations. On the other hand, the sales department was solely responsible for lead generation, converting prospects to customers, and managing existing accounts.
What’s different today?
In the age of the modern buyer, sales and marketing need to work together to create leads and convert them into opportunities. Marketing initiatives today must be ROI-driven with the goal of creating qualified leads. According to Aberdeen, the companies that are knocking down the silos between sales & marketing and encouraging cross-collaboration are far more likely to be hitting quota.
“99% of their sales teams reach quota vs 46% for laggard companies. 75% of reps reach quota vs. 27% for laggard companies. 13.1% average increase in year-over-year growth vs. a 0.5% decline for laggard companies” – (Aberdeen, 2015)
The statistics don’t lie, without alignment between sales and marketing companies actually have a lower probability of hitting their sales targets. We also know that 77% of B2B buyers said they did not talk with a salesperson until they had performed independent research, and 74% of buyers said at least half of that research was happening online. (Forrester, 2015) The buyer has stepped into the digital age, leaving the traditional sellers behind. (Be sure to check out the 26.5 Stats About The State of Sales And Marketing In 2016 eBook for more stats like this.)
The real question is: How do sales & marketing align to be able to effectively sell to the modern buyer?
Marketing: Your marketing department needs to be creating content that drives sales conversations. It has to be insightful, data-driven, and detailed enough to assist a buyer in making purchase decisions. Frequency is also key to grow your brand’s social following, marketing should be creating content multiple times a week to really attract qualified buyers and generate Marketing Qualified Leads. It is also crucially important for your Marketing Team to create a Content Library so your salespeople can easily access what you create.
Sales: The Sales Development team should be converting the Marketing Qualified Leads into Sales Qualified Leads. Marketing has identified some potential buyers, and now sales need to reach out to them to determine if there’s a mutual fit. In order for sales to effectively communicate with modern buyers, they need to be sharing quality content to provoke more high-quality conversations in the market.
How do you get your sales team to share content?
The short answer: Make it easy for them to find & share it!
The best way to accomplish this is with a content library organized by buyer persona/buying stage, and a social media management tool that allows them to auto schedule content ahead of time. There are new tools called Employee Advocacy Platforms, which will enable your salespeople to find & share content all from one dashboard.
What other considerations are important for sales & marketing alignment?
Seamless Lead Handoff – You want to ensure that your process for passing the leads on from marketing to sales is perfect to maximize funnel growth. If your Automated Marketing Platform doesn’t perfectly integrate with your CRM, how will your salespeople be able to follow up with the leads to convert them into opportunities?
Encourage Communication & Cross Collaboration – Teams that operate as silos, don’t facilitate interdepartmental communication. It’s crucially important that both your sales & marketing teams are on the same page, and working towards mutually beneficial & aligned goals. They have to work in tandem, so nobody is left in the dark!
What’s the bottom line?
Sales & Marketing teams that work together to ensure each other are equipped for sales success, have a far better probability of hitting quota. Marketing creates content & campaigns that create quality leads, and sales pick up the torch to drives conversations in the market with the goal of converting those leads into new sales opportunities.
For more on Sales & Marketing Alignment, check out this eBook co-authored by Jill Rowley.