It’s always been puzzling to me that marketing and sales can be at odds in an organization. I’ve always viewed them as two departments working towards the same objectives. Think about it. At the end of the day, marketing departments strive to provide MQLs (marketing-qualified leads) to the sales department that they can build a relationship with and hopefully turn into new clients.
The Breakdown Between Sales + Marketing
The breakdown seems to occur either a: when the sales team doesn’t value the MQLs or b: when marketing thinks sales is mishandling the leads.
The solution is to focus on aligning B2B marketing and sales strategies. Why?
Aligning sales and marketing strategies can:
- Create a seamless customer experience
- Increase conversions
- Reduce waste and build efficiencies
- Improve client retention
- Maximize ROI
- Build a better internal environment
The first thing B2B marketing and sales departments need to do is check their egos at the door. Both departments have a vested interest in attracting prospects, nurturing them, and turning them into new clients. As such, both departments can more effectively do their jobs with the support and help of the other department. An open dialogue between the two departments is essential to fostering a positive environment where the teams or individuals can align their strategies.
Let me start by saying this is a two-way street. Sales should be providing input to marketing and marketing should be providing input to sales. This does not mean they are telling each other how to do their jobs, however, it does mean that they are providing valuable information that can help the other in being successful.
Marketing often has a pretty good idea of the company’s ideal client persona. However, the sales team works directly with these ideal clients and prospects every day. They understand their objections, challenges, and needs. We’ve found that the sales team is often a great resource for content topics and for input regarding marketing campaigns.
On the other side, marketing works hard on different initiatives to bring in qualified leads. Many of these leads are fairly warm and qualified, however, like any lead, they may need some nurturing. This a great spot for marketing to provide sales with a variety of materials, including blog posts and downloadable guides, to nurture prospects and make their job of closing the deal a little easier.
How can your fellow coworkers support your efforts if they aren’t clued into your objectives? I always encourage marketing managers to discuss their objectives with the sales team. By simply sharing what you are trying to accomplish between your departments, you can get better support. Remember, you can’t get support for your initiatives if no one outside your department knows what they are.
Have you ever been working on a project only to find another person in your organization is working on the exact same thing? Duplication of effort is a common issue affecting sales and marketing departments. Once you have shared your objectives, it’s a good idea to continually coordinate between marketing and sales. This enables you to discover any duplication, reduce wasted time, and streamline your processes and procedures.
For example, if the marketing team has a lead nurturing email campaign in place, it doesn’t make sense for the salesperson to also be calling the prospect to schedule a call. However, it might make sense to include the salesperson’s contact information within the campaign and make them aware of what the prospect is receiving and when, so they can properly handle a call or email from the prospect.
The next step to busting out of the internal silos is to compare overall strategies. This can be an eye-opening experience. If the sales strategy is to increase a certain book of business, then it’s important the marketing strategy also includes a focus on attracting that type of business. Similarly, if a particular product or service is popular, but the sales team isn’t incentivized to sell, that could impact the success of the marketing efforts for that service or product. Take a look at the B2B marketing and sales strategies for your organization. Ask if you are both working towards the same goals? Calling on the same mission statement? And using the same approach with prospects?
The last stage in aligning the sales and marketing strategies is to report back to each other. The marketing team must get clear feedback on the MQLs they are sending to sales. (This must be data-backed and not anecdotal.) Much of this data can be found in your company’s CRM, but it’s helpful to talk to sales to see what closed, the final dollar amount, and the term of the relationship. Similarly, marketing should communicate their successes to sales to let them know how effective their campaigns are and if they are changing their approach or strategy based on the results they are seeing.
Communication is often the main conduit for aligning B2B marketing and sales strategies, creating a streamlined process, and improving a company’s overall ROI. Work with your teams internally to create a culture of communication and honest feedback. Creating a focus on the customer experience with both sales and marketing will help both teams to be successful and to build long-term relationships with clients and prospects.
Get help with your B2B marketing strategy – contact the experts at Bop Design today for a personalized review of your current strategy.