B2B buyers do their research – they frequently know what they want before they even connect with your company. It’s important, then, that your marketing and sales teams speak the same language. From online messaging to sales accountability, the better you integrate B2B sales and marketing the more effective your client acquisition strategies will be.
When Does Marketing Become Sales?
It used to be that salespeople carried around packets of information produced by the marketing department. They took those out into the field to engage one-on-one with prospective clients. Nowadays sales team members don’t connect with every client; many B2B buyers are happy to purchase online based on what they learn from marketing content.
Direct sales typically gets involved right away if the purchase will be a large investment for the client. Or if the purchase will transform the client’s business, you’ll likely need several rounds of follow-up to make the sale.
Also, if your product or service cuts across multiple departments within a client’s company, sales will need to get buy-in from multiple stakeholders before finalizing the sale.
Be Consistent with Sales and Marketing Messages
I see a fair number of sales and marketing messages that are misaligned. This can be a real problem in today’s world, where B2B buyers shop like B2C customers. By the time they’re ready to connect with sales, buyers are familiar with your value proposition and marketing messages – and expect your sales team to mirror those same themes.
Messaging in your benefits statements, company website, product landing pages, e-books and white papers all have to be consistent with sales presentations, proposals, and even the value proposition in the company signature line. If these are not aligned, you can alienate your buyers.
Put Your Client Value Front and Center
Information about how your company helps clients should be front and center – don’t make buyers hunt for it. Salespeople can help clients understand the value of working with your company by using concrete examples.
Validate the economic value of your product or service so that salespeople can support their claims. If possible, offer a third-party validation that supports your claims.
Look for ways to publish ROI information on your website that is:
- Easy to understand
- Creates compelling value
- Helps the client connect your solution to their needs
One of my clients has an ROI calculator on his website, right on the pricing page. The company offers a solution with operational benefits that cuts across company divisions. The calculator’s value is that it starts to answer a prospective buyer’s question, “How can your company help ME?”
Create a Common Goal System
Typically, marketing generates leads through traditional brand-building and/or newer, data-driven performance marketing. Sales converts those leads to purchases.
Now, create a common goal system that drives marketing and sales closer together through shared objectives. This starts with measuring effectiveness.
A recent McKinsey article talks about the value of moving to a “full-funnel operating model” for marketing. The article outlines steps for increasing impact at each stage in the funnel and getting an accurate measure of overall marketing effectiveness.
You can and should do the same thing for sales. Focus on fact-based measurement of sales effectiveness, and on improving performance in every step of the sales process.
Empowering both teams to improve effectiveness will drive better results.
Hold Sales and Marketing Leaders to Common Goals
Finally, consider holding your sales leader and your marketing leader equally responsible for common goals – so that they cannot succeed without their counterpart. And perhaps if you tie part of their compensation/bonus to achieving those goals, you can sit back and watch the magic happen!
Are you having trouble finding the right highly skilled sales leadership or team? If so, give me a call and I can help.