Marketing is about generating leads for sales to close. “Get us in front of the customer and we know we can take it from there!”
This is a fairly commonly held view in the sales-driven B2B world.
But In this ever changing world in which we’re living (thanks Sir Paul!) the lines are blurring. The definitions of where marketing ends and sales begins, or vice versa, are no longer so clear.
And that’s why it’s more important than ever to ensure that both departments and teams are working together and aligned in the way they interact with the prospective buyer.
Here are 7 reasons to align your sales and marketing activities, and some ideas to help you keep in step:
- The buyer doesn’t know where sales and marketing begin and end. To them you are one and the same thing. So any poorly targeted marketing communications, or inappropriate sales call won’t go down well.
Keep the communication lines open – ensure sales people know what offers and campaigns are being launched, and give them an option to “opt out” their prospects if it’s not relevant.
- Sending out the wrong marketing message at the wrong stage can confuse the buyer and slow down the sales cycle.
Segment your prospect data, and put processes in place to keep it updated.
- Your best content will come from real customer engagement – and this knowledge often resides in your best customer facing resources – your sales team!
Engage your sales team in the marketing programme. Get them to help identify potential case studies - even before the deal closes, so you can set expectations with the customer. Get them blogging if you can. Make sure that they understand the value that this delivers to the overall sales and marketing engagement.
- Providing TIMELY and RELEVANT content throughout the buying process, not just at the start, can help to accelerate the buying process.
Plan your content to add value at each stage of the sales cycle. Make sure it’s tagged and sorted so that the sales team understand the value and relevance of each piece.
- More is not always better, when it comes to leads. Poorly qualified leads can waste sales time and reduce the credibility of the marketing team.
Ensure that your teams have a clear understanding of what represents a Marketing Qualified Lead and a Sales Qualified Lead. Lead scoring can help to develop a common understanding of the buying process and how best to support it.
- Not all leads will be sales ready
Many visitors to your web site will be casual enquiries, students, consultants, competitors and other non-prospects. Decide how you will handle these. Even prospects may be too early in the cycle for sales to get involved. Lead nurture programmes are an ideal way to keep prospects warm and engaged until they are ready to engage with sales.
- Marketing is not the only lead source
Sales should not rely on marketing for 100% of new business. Part of the sales function should be to generate new business opportunity through existing customers, referrals and well researched and targeted new business introductions.
Working together and being bought in to each others success, and only help to lead to the endgame - a happy, successful and REFERENCEABLE customer.
Want to find out more? We think you may find our buyer's journey ebook useful as its packed full of useful hints and tips.