Posted by Mike Harrison ● Sep 3, 2019 9:17:57 AM
‘Smarketing’: bridging the gap between marketing and sales
Marketing and sales teams have traditionally operated as separate entities in most organisations. However, in today’s modern world of marketing the B2B sales funnel has rapidly evolved in such a way that it is now more important than ever for marketing and sales to unite, streamline and align themselves in order to achieve business growth.
Aligning both teams is all in the name of focusing on the customer. The better you can unify your marketing and sales departments, the more likely you are to delight customers and prospects. Research has shown that companies with tightly aligned marketing and sales teams experience 36% higher customer retention rates, as well as B2B organisations with strongly united operations achieving 24% faster growth.*
Back to basics
Let’s start with defining the purpose and goals for both of these teams.
The objective of the marketing team is to ignite interest in your product or service by making the world aware of your company, products and services. Marketing typically uses emotive and humanised tactics to help resonate with people and deliver value, alongside powerful analytics to help target the right types of prospects and convert these into marketing qualified leads.
In conjunction to this, the sales team focusses on any activities involved in selling your product or service to a business or consumer. Sales is ultimately critical to your bottom line. It is their responsibility to qualify prospects, reach out and build relationships and provide solutions that will benefit your customer or prospect. The sales team must truly understand your customer’s pain points and demonstrate how your product or service is the best solution to resolve their problems.
The reality here is that one team simply cannot exist without the other. You cannot sell without initially igniting interest through marketing, and you cannot be a marketer without having a team prepared to sell the product once you have captured the right attention.
Optimising your marketing and sales strategy
Companies need to take action to get their marketing and sales teams empathising with each other, strategising together and working from the same playbook. This team alignment will bring real benefits to your business. Including business productivity, improved efficiencies, improved marketing ROI and overall increased business growth.
Statistically, highly aligned organisations can help your company become 67% better at closing deals and can also help generate 209% more revenue from marketing.*
To kick-start uniting your marketing and sales departments, follow these five key strategies:
1) Promote collaboration and efficiency by investing in a 'smarketing' tool-stack
We have spoken about the importance of integrating your marketing and sales teams, but ensuring you have an integrated system both teams have full visibility of will guarantee everyone has a complete holistic view of your customers and prospects.
By investing in a powerful and effective CRM system, you will benefit from a 360 view of your customers. Such connectivity will allow your teams to track a prospect across their entire buying journey, as well as having a single connected view enables teams to act quickly and decisively to deliver to more value at each stage of their journey.
By ensuring you have the right systems and technologies in place, this will help you bridge the gap between the marketing data and the transformation into leads and hot prospects.
2) Create a buyer persona together
Work together to create a full picture of your customer and ensure both teams have input into creating a buyer persona to understand your customer’s traits, desires, habits, pain points and other things that influence their purchasing decisions.
By having insights from both sides, this will help form an accurate and realistic buyer persona which in turn ensures that your product, service and marketing deliverables are all consistent in messaging and truly aligned with your customer’s needs and expectations.
Once you have finalised your buyer persona, ensure you keep a live, up to date version of your persona readily available for the whole team to access whenever they need it.
3) Be customer-centric with your language, approach and communications
Ensure both your marketing and sales teams are customer focussed and always put your target personas at the forefront. Communications to customers and prospects should always be helpful and human and should focus on how your company can help them.
Both teams should truly understand their customer’s pain points and subsequently your marketing deliverables and assets should be tailored and aligned to their needs and wants. It is all about being helpful and solving the customer’s problem.
4) Develop content as strategically aligned teams
Did you know that up to 70% of B2B content created is never used?* In many cases, this is because the topic is irrelevant to the buyer audience. However, 95% of buyers purchase from someone who gave them helpful content at each stage of their buyer’s journey.*
Work together to create relevant, branded, strategic content with consistent messaging that is aligned to each stage of the buyer’s journey. This will help keep your leads engaged throughout the awareness, consideration and decision phases of their buying journey.
As well as producing relevant and helpful content materials, it is just as critical that both teams know where to find them. Ensure you have a clear and organised content library in place that both teams can access as required.
5) Track joint KPIs
One of the biggest challenges in aligning marketing and sales teams is that both teams are measured differently. Is there any wonder that these teams are misaligned when marketing typically are being measured on lead quantity, quality and brand awareness? Whereas sales are measured on numbers, new accounts, number of closed deals and contract renewals?
Ensure both teams are measuring joint key performance indicators is critical in keeping in sync. Put in place frequent meetings between the two departments where they can actively collaborate and agree of a shared set of metrics to measure and report on. By doing this, your teams will then be united and will be working under one common goal. You can also work together to achieve the company’s overall vision and translate it to short-term objectives and long-term goals.
A united front
To summarise, in order to maximise your business results and properly manage every lead throughout the entire buyer’s journey, you need marketing and sales to be united. Ensure your people, processes and technology are all working together and supporting one another in the pursuit of your common goals, and it won’t be long until you are reaping the rewards.
See more on how we can help align your teams and create relevant, valuable content that will resonate with your target audience using Inbound Marketing.