Marketing and sales want the same results: leads that convert into paying customers.
But sometimes, marketing and sales are like two people stuck in a bad marriage. They point fingers at each other and recite a laundry list of the other’s perceived shortcomings.
Only with prodding will they grudgingly acknowledge the strengths of the other and concede that if they work together with open communication and respect will they achieve the goals they both want.
Here are five reasons why marketing and sales should form a healthy partnership and why business booms when these two groups align.
1. Improve Communication Between Marketing And Sales
A recent survey by Demand Gen shows that 49% of marketing and sales respondents believe that communication is the biggest challenge in aligning sales and marketing.
Both sides agree poor communication is a major factor undermining results but what’s encouraging is that both sides are also clear about what they need from the other.
When Demand Gen asked sales people what they needed most from marketing, survey respondents reported the following:
- Lead quality (55%)
- Lead quantity (44%)
- Competitive information (39%)
- Brand awareness (37%)
- Lead nurturing (37%)
When marketing executives were asked what they needed from sales, they reported:
- Better lead follow-up (34%)
- Consistent use of systems (32%)
Improved communication is possible when each group knows how to help the other with their respective goals. By trading valuable information and leveraging the expertise of the other, marketing and sales move forward through cooperation to reach company goals.
2. Break Down The Silos Between Marketing And Sales
Silos exist in companies to maximize the efficiencies that come from various types of expertise and to allow information to flow up and down in each department or sector.
As companies grow, silos can tend to become rigid and the people within them myopic, preventing important information from flowing outward and being shared with other areas. Rigid silos impede communication and the ability to make informed decisions and create smart strategy.
For sales and marketing, this can mean each area working in isolation when it comes to understanding and sharing what the other needs. For example, marketers work in isolation when it comes to understanding audience relationships instead of using the insight that sales can provide in this area.
There are excellent reasons to break down the silos between marketing and sales, or at least, to make the silos more pliable. An Aberdeen Group study reports companies that optimize the marketing/sales relationship grow revenue 32% faster while those with less alignment saw a 7% dip in revenue.
The disconnect between these two groups is clearly an impediment to bottom line results and shows that alignment between marketing and sales is thus more that a nice to have and instead is a must have.
3. Leverage Sales to Learn about Customer Barriers and Pain Points
Sales people are customer facing and in a perfect position to know about customer challenges and frustrations.
By having regular dialogue with sales, marketing can learn about these pain points and proactively create content that solves customer problems. This educational content can be in the form of:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Infographics, or
If sales people are hearing certain objections frequently enough, marketing could create an e-book that helps these potential customers solve their problem.
The proactive sharing of helpful information supports the needs of buyers. It also further qualifies the customer by removing objections and easing the way down the path-to-purchase.
4. Position Sales People as Thought Leaders
A thought leader is an expert in their field, someone who inspires others and influences the actions and opinions of others.
Sales people who are perceived in this way while also cultivating a reputation of having a strong focus on the needs of their customers have a much better opportunity of engaging with potential buyers.
By first seeking to understand the pain points of customers and genuinely looking for ways to be a problem solver, sales people can overcome much of the skepticism today’s buyers have towards sales and instead position themselves as thought leaders.
A study by LinkedIn shows that 92% of buyers engage if the professional is a known industry thought leader.
Marketing can support this relationship by providing educational content to sales, which humanizes the process, establishes trust and nurtures relationships.
A report by IDG Enterprise reports that IT decision-makers don’t want to be sold to. But they do want to be able to stay on top of emerging technologies and find answers to their questions on how to use technology to move their business forward.
Provide stories to sales about how your company’s product or service solves a customer’s problem. Have them share it on LinkedIn and other social channels. Doing this positions sales reps as trusted advisors who care about the challenges and problems faced by prospects and increases the likelihood prospects will turn into buyers.
5. Create Content to Support All Aspects of the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey has a beginning, and if the marketing and sales process works well together, it has a profitable end.
The buyer’s journey consists of three phases:
Marketing can work in partnership with sales by creating content that supports all phases of this journey.
If you think of the buyer’s journey as a funnel, awareness is at the top of the funnel (TOFU). TOFU content is educational in nature, as you try to create awareness of your brand. At this stage, you may also be trying to create awareness in the mind of your customer that there’s even a problem to be solved. What can you teach or share that will be helpful to your target audience?
In the evaluation stage, the buyer has moved toward the middle of the funnel (MOFU), so they need information that helps them evaluate or consider your products or services. Here, marketing can help sales by providing information that helps the customer differentiate you from your competitors.
At the conversion stage, the customer has established trust in your company and is ready to buy. They are at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU). At this stage, marketing assists sales by creating content such as testimonials and reviews and information to highlight the unique value you provide to customers.
Each stage of the funnel requires a different type of content so marketing and sales should continuously work together to make sure the right information is being shared at each stage.
Sales and marketing want the same thing – happy, loyal customers.
Sales teams are in the best position to understand the stages of the buyer’s journey. When they communicate this insight to marketing, the marketing team can then create the best content that supports the buyer at each stage of their journey.
When marketing and sales break down silos, communicate effectively with recognition and respect for each area’s strength, they are working in the most effective way to develop strong and trusting relationships with prospects.
When these two areas work together with a cooperative spirit, the result is increased conversions and revenue growth for the organization, and a healthy bottom line.
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