It’s no secret that the internet and social media have changed the way people buy.
Today’s buyers can educate themselves online about their problems, and find potential solutions, without the help of a sales pitch. So, if you want to meet your customers along the new buyer journey, you need a new approach to selling.
But what should you do? An important first step is to align your sales and marketing teams.
Understanding the New Buyer’s Journey
Traditionally, prospective buyers relied on sales people to sell them a product or service - but since the internet and social media have come along, buyers can research their problem, find a solution and make a purchase, often without any interaction with a sales person at all. And while buyers might stumble across your product or service by chance, to be successful you need to find a way to get involved early in the new buyer journey .
Many organisations are still focused on reaching potential customers later in the journey – but research shows that only 3% of online visitors are at that later stage and ready to buy. The other 97% are still researching and learning about their problem, prior to deciding on a solution. That means the vast majority of your online audience are not looking for the hard sell – instead they’re after quality, helpful information that will educate and guide them to find a solution for themselves.
Why You Must Align Marketing and Sales
There are many people talking about sales and marketing alignment (so called "SMarketing") - but it's not enough. Yes, we can align sales and marketing - but what then? This alignment needs to go a step further and be aligned with the buyer journey.
Smart businesses are using content marketing to reach their potential customers early in the buyer journey. By providing relevant and useful content that attracts, educates and engages buyers early on, they build trust in their brand, and put themselves in the front-running to secure the sale.
But having a great product and producing quality content doesn’t guarantee that you’ll win over the informed buyers of today. If your marketing and sales teams are even slightly out of sync, they’ll spot it a mile away, and the trust you worked hard to build will be gone. That’s why it’s critical that both departments are working together, towards the same goals. Effective communication and meaningful collaboration between the two teams is essential to this.
Alignment Will Win You Customers
In the modern selling landscape, marketing and sales have an equal role to play in customer acquisition and retention. Gone are the days when marketing’s role was to come up with a campaign to generate leads, then pass the baton to sales – today’s buyers expect a united approach.
Marketing is becoming more involved in the sales pipeline and the eventual outcome and sales needs to be on board with the content the marketers are putting out there. Your buyers need to be both attracted to your product or service, and convinced that it will make their life better – and this can only happen when your sales and marketing teams are on the same page.
Below are some suggestions for both your sales and marketing teams to take note of in each phase of the buyer's journey.
A Unified Approach is Essential to Success
In today’s market, you need to reach your buyers online early, and prove to them you not only have what they want, but also build trust and a connection with them. Before they buy, they need to be both attracted to your product or service, and convinced that it will make their life better – and importantly, trust that your organisation is the right one to solve their problem.
Getting your sales and marketing teams on the same page is critical to this. You’ll not only produce more effective strategies, but you also show a united approach, which is memorable to customers and builds trust. But if your sales and marketing are not aligned, you’ll miss opportunities to connect with new buyers – and you’re at risk of being left behind.
Over to You
Have you seen the benefits of a sales and marketing alliance in your organisation? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Next steps: if you're a business owner or manager, download our latest B2B marketing white paper, A Business Owner's Guide to Budgeting for ROI.