Do you still view Sales and Marketing as distinct silos with different goals and a linear relationship? Marketing finds leads, Sales qualifies these leads and turns them into customers?
Sure, that used to be the best approach. It served companies well for the last century. But as you’ve probably noticed, today’s customer is different. They’re researching their purchases long before they make them, and the amount of information available makes the traditional sales rep less important. It also makes traditional advertising less important.
Anything the sales rep can tell them, they’ve already read in a customer review, how-to guide, or eBook. Anything a billboard might tell them can be easily forgotten when the customer enters a general search term into Google to answer their question.
But that gives you an opportunity.
Sales and Marketing Align to Understand and Serve the Customer
The customer data now available to companies gives Marketing the chance to understand customers deeper than ever before. They can use what they’re searching for and create content to become a part of the customer’s research. They can use the data gathered about leads to prime Sales for effective conversations. Sales then has those conversations, but is Sales reporting back? Is Marketing listening in?
It’s not enough for Marketing’s goals to stop at lead generation and Sales’ goals ending with closed deals.
Aligning your Sales and Marketing means breaking the one-way flow of information and turn the customers path back on itself. The Sales process should inform Marketing just as the successful Marketing should inform sales.
"Whether on a blog, a phone call or in-person, a customer can tell when your only goal is making a sale at any cost."
Marketing must follow the lead through the Sales process. As good as digital information is, things are going to come up during these sales conversations that are incredibly valuable. You’ll get a fuller appreciation of what the customers’ problems are, how the company’s product or service solves them, and how they’re really feeling — and that should inform your ongoing content strategy. Sales should help Marketing understand what worked at their end, allowing Marketing to adjust for new lead generation, as well as continuing the conversation with these new customers to identify opportunities to strengthen the relationship.
Remember, It’s About Working For The Customer
Your customer wants a consistent experience with your company whether they’re reading your marketing content or talking to a sales rep. And they want a particular kind of experience. It should be personalized, relevant, and helpful. Whether on a blog, a phone call or in-person, a customer can tell when your only goal is making a sale at any cost.
A Marketing process that educates and informs followed up by pushy sales calls is going to be a jarring change that leaves a bad taste in your customer’s mouths — and a pushy marketing process is going to lose a lot of potential customers who take the second to click elsewhere. An informative Marketing process that ends in a Sales conversation where Sales isn’t aware of that lead’s personal journey will feel bad next to your lead’s other experiences where Sales has been equipped with the knowledge to provide personalized help and assistance. And once the Sale has been made, if the customer continues getting Marketing that’s no longer relevant, again, that’s going to annoy rather than delight.
Align Under One Goal And Communicate
When Marketing Departments and Sales Departments work together toward the mutual goal of driving overall revenue and growth rather than their individual lead and sale goals, they’ll be able to achieve that goal more effectively. Leads and sales are fine metrics to use as a part of that, but they’re not the ultimate goal of the organization — better to see real revenue growth regardless of leads and sales than many leads that go nowhere and low-value sales that never return.
Sales and Marketing need to align on their approach to help build a consistent experience aimed at winning customers by achieving trust and genuinely providing value. That’s what today’s customer is looking for, and that’s what will achieve the revenue and growth goal.
How to do it? Countless lists of Sales and Marketing alignment can be summed up in this one word: communicate.
Talk to each other. Share successes and discuss struggles. Have meetings. How can Marketing help Sales? How can Sales help Marketing? When you’re united behind a common goal, you’ll find you’ve got a lot to talk about.
Customers Have Undergone Digital Transformation — Have You?
All of this requires that your Sales and Marketing Departments have undergone a digital transformation. To work together in alignment, Sales and Marketing must have a firm understanding of their place in the new digital world. You also may want to start looking at your Customer Service Department as the third essential growth driver. Together, these three departments are your company’s growth engine.
Need a little help getting there? Flawless Inbound is a revenue growth agency specializing in helping B2B companies achieve marketing, sales, and customer service growth and success. We’ve helped more than 60 B2B organizations across Canada and the US and are always happy to meet for a quick advisory call.