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Q4/2014 3 Key Ways to Connect Sales With Marketing

Message from an AFV Partner

In today’s world, buyers are in front of screens 24/7.  Because of this and other external forces, the B2B buying process has forever changed into a more self-directed methodology.  With unlimited access to information at their fingertips, buyers (specifically B2B IT buyers) are forcing IT organizations to tailor the way they are marketing and selling solutions.

80% of B2B decision makers prefer company information in a series of articles vs. an advertisement
Source: Business2Community,  August 2014

 •61% feel better about a company that delivers custom content AND are more likely to buy from that company
Source: Content Marketing Institute, 2011

The most important starting point is through connecting your sales and marketing teams’ “voice.”  This needs to be happening because the information the buyer receives from your online presence and outbound marketing must be consistent with the message the sales team is communicating directly to the buyer.  If their message is different, there’s a good chance you’ll relinquish your position as a thought-leader and begin to lose ground to competitors who truly use one “voice” to communicate.

Moving forward, a sales organization’s goal setting must expand beyond order and revenue attainment.  Sales and marketing play a collaborative role beginning at the top of the sales funnel and transitioning through the lead nurturing stages.  It’s crucial for sales and marketing to agree on defined goals and lead criteria for their respective roles throughout these sales stages.  This clarity will minimize finger-pointing and drive internal team work & corporate goal attainment!

IT organizations need to constantly be thinking of ways to fine tune their sales & marketing strategies to earn and keep the buyer’s attention.  This newsletter gives a few great tips to begin making strides towards connecting your sales and marketing teams; ultimately helping you capture and retain the attention of to the new self-directed buyer.

Randy_headshot

Randy Sasaki
Partner

T  he availability of endless product and service information through the Internet and social channels has forever changed the B2B buying process.  Prospects are coming to you much more informed, and entering sales cycles when they are ready.  Because of this, there is pressure on sales and marketing teams to align both process and messaging to ensure they are approaching buyers with a common voice.  From establishing the definition of a lead to creating common goals, best practices are emerging to address challenges organizations are facing when trying to adapt to the new B2B buying process.  Sales and marketing teams can no longer work in silos.

If you find your organization in this state, the tips below will help you take a few positive steps toward aligning your sales and marketing teams:

Content Creation As marketing is developing content, it’s important for them to engage sales to find out what customers and prospects are asking about.  This is important because marketing must be creating sufficient relevant content to help guide buyers and educate them during the buying process.  Metrics can only tell marketing so much, make sure that marketing is partnering with sales to create a common message.  You’d be so amazed how much more engaged buyers are when they are hearing consistent messages from sales people and the content they read before they engage with them.

Creating Common Goals Typically, sales and marketing departments have their own ways of measuring performance, which often has them striving for different organizational goals.  In an integrated sales and marketing infrastructure, there are certain shared goals that are consistent amongst both sales and marketing.  A great example of one is lead to sales opportunity conversion rates.  This ensures that marketing is partnering with sales teams to create leads that are easier to ultimately turn into a forecastable opportunity.  A great way to begin implementing this shared goal is for marketing to collaborate with sales leadership to determine exactly what defines a “lead.”

Lead Definition The definition of a lead is crucial to ensuring marketing is producing sales ready leads.  Marketing and sales organizations accomplish this often by defining a common set of questions or criteria that must be answered before passing a lead to a sales person.  As an example, the need of the organization could be one of the questions that must be answered via marketing campaigns before a lead is considered sales ready.

Just like any relationship, a successful relationship between sales and marketing teams require on-going communication.  Each respective team should be included in long-term planning conversations, as well as in optimization exercises on both sides.  Even with these small steps in the right direction, you’ll be surprised at how big of a difference it can make in an organization.

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