Every company experiences some level of conflict between marketing and sales. Marketing complains that sales deviates from the standard presentation deck, for example, while sales complains about the quality or simple 'lack of' sales collateral that they need.
Wouldn't it be nice if they collaborated on sales collateral requirements? Wouldn't it be more productive if they worked together on the content and design of the sales decks and prioritized the development of sales collateral.
Another example of this ongoing contention is the quality (or again, simple 'lack of') leads that are passed from marketing to sales. Taking a collaborative approach early in the process to agree on the characteristics of the ideal prospect profiles and buying personas would help alleviate some of this contention.
This collaborative approach will only become a reality if the CEO enables a 'culture of collaboration,' especially between sales and marketing.
Not all of all the Sales KPIs will be tied to marketing, and not all of the marketing KPIs will be tied to sales. But many of them will be tied to each other.
There are some goals that sales and marketing should strive to achieve together, and therefore, hold each other accountable to. These are goals that can't be achieved without the others’ assistance.
Most are these are measured quarterly, and some are tracked monthly and monitored continuously for progress and course correction. Marketing can’t blame sales for bad lead follow-through and sales can’t blame marketing for poor quality leads, if the teams agree to specific measures and work together constantly to achieve the best results for the company.
Prospect personas go much deeper than historical 'demographics,' such as gender, age, income, etc.
In order to build effective buying personas, you have to answer questions such as 'what problems are they experiencing?' and 'what would make their life easier"?' and 'how can we help them solve these problems?' and very importantly, 'what is a typical day like for them?' and 'where do they hang out on social media?'
Then, a methodology such as the Miller Heiman sales process (or similar) can be used to segment the personas into groups such as Influencers, Decision Makers, Economic Buyers, Technical Buyers, etc.
Once these are established, marketing can build a segmented database and create campaigns that are aligned with those personas and buyer types. This, in turn, will generate highly-qualified sales leads.
One definition of value propositions comes from Daniel Nilsson, a sales and marketing strategist, who defines it as "A value proposition is a clear statement about the outcomes that an individual or an organization can realize from using your product, service or solution," with the keyword being "outcomes."
As buyers are evaluating different vendors, they are going to place each of the proposed vendors into groups. Vendor A is less expensive but doesn't solve my problems as well as Vendor B, who is more expensive. If you want your buyers to remember three things about your solution, then use repetition.
Send the message during the awareness stage, repeat the message during the education stage, and repeat it again during the sales cycle. This can only be achieved if there is company-wide alignment on the value propositions.
Account based marketing (ABM) account marketing uses the combined expertise of the marketing and sales teams to target select groups of accounts that require tailored marketing.
The traditional B2B sales and marketing funnel takes a broad approach to lead generation with the goal of capturing as many leads as possible. The inherent issue with this approach is that the funnel gets smaller towards the bottom, so the vast majority of B2B leads — over 99%, according to Forrester Research — never become customers.
The ABM strategy begins with identifying and targeting best-fit accounts that have the biggest revenue potential. Marketers can then create targeted campaigns while sales conducts one-to-one sales outreach to the same list of target accounts.
Today, B2Bs are enjoying sophisticated sales and marketing attribution reports that give them more insights than ever before.
A typical B2B sales win consists of multiple touch-points such as Webinar engagements, content consumption, social media interactions, trade show attendance, to name a few.
The buyers are interacting with your company in various ways, both from sales and marketing.
Nurturing these leads is a team effort—a team effort that provides an opportunity for sales and marketing to be consistent in their messaging. When prospects are 'surrounded' with consistent messages over and over again, they will start to resonate with the messages, and more importantly, they will remember them.
Sometimes sales finds themselves acting like a detective. They are talking to their prospects and constantly asking questions, trying to get to the heart of their pain points. They are on social media and looking at how their prospects are engaging with specific ideas and posts.
Well, marketing can play a role in that detective work. Martech tools can give sales visibility into which marketing campaigns their prospects are engaging with. When sales and marketing tools are set up correctly, sales can find out—with the click of their mouse—exactly which marketing emails their prospects clicked on, what pieces of content they downloaded, which webinars they are registered or attended, which trade show they attended, and more.
The point here is to use marketing technology to gain deeper insights into prospect activities and with a culture of collaboration, that can be a reality.
Every marketer should be required to make a few cold calls. And every sales person should try to put together one piece of marketing content.
Why? Mutual empathy.
Studies show that companies with mutually empathetic relationships deliver better results, have happier employees who understand how to succeed, retain employees longer, and are consistently ranked as the best places to work.
What contributes to sales and marketing alignment more than anything is disciplined communication, and a regularly scheduled alignment meeting is ideal for that. The most successful campaigns will be a result of the combined knowledge and insight from both teams—sales has a better understanding of your organization’s ideal customer and what’s happening in the field, while marketing possesses the skills needed to best articulate your message and branding.
I do believe the modern sales leader has to be a marketer.