When sales teams fall short of target – invariably it’s Marketing’s fault because the leads were no good!
Similarly - when Marketing is queried on why revenue targets have not been achieved, it's Sales' fault for not effectively following up the leads that were provided.
Aligning Sales & Marketing is crucial - but not enough
Lots of good stuff has been written about the need to align Sales & Marketing. It's common sense really - all organisational departments should be aligned (imagine if Sales and Manufacturing weren't aligned - we'd either have too much stock, or not enough. And please - nobody call this "Smanufacturing"!).
The thing is - being aligned is not enough. It's a good first step - but it's not enough.
Both Sales AND Marketing need to align with each other - but crucially ALSO need to align to the new way that buyers buy.
The new buyer's journey
Spurred on initially by the introduction of the internet, and more recently social media - B2B buyers have completely changed how they buy:
Decision makers now spend more time diagnosing their own problems and researching solutions than ever before, which is why Sales AND Marketing need to work together - and do so at each stage of the buyer's journey.
Research from SiriusDecisions indicates that on average buyers get over 60% of the way through this journey digitally - i.e. no sales team engagement.
So - Marketing definitelly needs to be working hard to attract these early stage buyers to our organisation - but equally they need to work with Sales so that Sales can engage earlier and earlier in that journey.
Throwing leads over the fence no longer works
To be successful in today’s B2B world it’s absolutely crucial that Marketing and Sales work in tandem to attract, assist, sell and close – the whole journey from start to finish.
So called "disruptive selling" is a case in point.
Sharing insights with customers - when they are CALM - can start them on a new buying journey, if the insights make them realise there's a better way of running their business. The "insight" can be a fact, or statistic, derived from the selling organisation's customer base.
It’s Marketing’s job to find and apply insights through the content marketing program, but they also need to package those insights into useful tools for the sales team to use in front of a CALM prospect.
While it might mean re-thinking the roles and responsibilities of your staff in these departments, the silver lining is that their overall functions don’t need to change. Instead of handling exclusive phases of the buyer’s journey, however, it’s now the role of both departments to work simultaneously on all of them.
Putting it into practice
Disruptive selling is just one use case for Sales & Marketing to work together.
Here are some suggested activities for both Marketinig AND Sales at each of the various buyer journey stages.
The Perfect Team
To sell the way buyers are now buying, it’s absolutely crucial that the Sales and Marketing wall is knocked down and replaced with integrated workflows and constant communication and support.
Weave them together and the result will be opportunities to engage with buyers at ALL stages of the journey - the earlier in the journey the better!