Think of your favorite duo. Is it peanut butter and jelly? Starsky and Hutch? Daryl Hall and John Oates?
Well, we know that no one asked, but ours is sales and marketing. While sales and marketing are often considered different entities, they go better when combined. Sales and marketing alignment is essential for a predictable and sustainable sales process. One without the other often results in a poor ROI and a lot of trial and error.
In this blog, we’ll cover the following topics:
Sales and marketing may be different departments, but they can (and should) be aligned for a business growth strategy that yields results.
Sales help marketing teams because sales reps work one-on-one with customers and potential buyers, so they can gather first-hand insight into what potential buyers in your target market are looking for when hiring a B2B product or service provider. If a marketing team is hesitant about how effective their process is, sales teams can ask current and potential buyers how their experience was with finding their company.
What obstacles did they run into? Did they have all their questions answered by simply looking at their marketing content? How did the digital marketing strategy play a part in their decision-making process? By asking these questions, sales teams have the opportunity to gain insight into their journey in the sales cycle and relay this information to the marketing team to ensure they’re on the right track with their lead generation efforts.
On the other hand, marketing can help sales teams because they can bring new leads into their sales pipelines. Before the internet, sales teams had to build their sales pipelines by making business drop-ins, attending in-person networking events, etc. Today, companies can use the internet to produce marketing-generated leads, which is much more reliable because potential buyers are actively looking for solutions to their pain points online.
Additionally, when marketing teams are aligned with the sales department, they can provide them with vital insight into their market interests. If a company website generates a lot of traffic and you see a lot of conversions on a specific web page or blog, this gives sales teams insight into what potential buyers are interested in learning more about.
One of the core problems internal sales and marketing teams encounter is that they don’t have a department that connects the two departments. That’s when a sales development team comes in. Sales development teams are crucial for sales and marketing alignment because their role is to continuously build relationships with potential buyers until they’re ready to make a purchase. However, many small to medium-sized businesses don’t have the time, money, or expertise to run an internal SDR team. When they don’t, they look into sales outsourcing.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our A-Players excel in all aspects of lead generation—from outbound sales development to inbound marketing alignment. Learn about our all-inclusive lead generation solution here.
Now that we have a firm grasp of how sales and marketing teams work together, it’s important to consider sales and marketing alignment best practices. Here are some ways that sales and marketing teams can collaborate to generate more ready-to-buy, qualified leads:
Practice Marketing To Warm Up Sales Leads
If sales teams have a lot of untouched prospects in their pipelines, marketing could be a good way to warm up these leads and introduce them to your company.
Unfortunately, many prospects are hesitant to answer cold calls from salespeople. If your sales reps can’t get a decision-maker on the phone after the first few dials, it may be worth sending them a sales email to discuss who you are and why you’re calling. This opens up the floor for further conversation and gives the prospect the chance to reach out when they’re ready to take the next step in the buyer’s journey.
As marketing teams send sales emails, it’s important to give prospects different avenues of your company to explore. A sales email should include a link to your website or marketing collateral that expands on why your company is beneficial for their everyday business operations. This allows the decision-maker to learn more about your company and the products and services you have to offer.
Additionally, when marketing teams use tools and technologies for their email marketing efforts, they can give sales teams greater insight into what prospects are engaging with. For example, if you use CRM for your lead generation efforts, there are different products you can implement into your CRM to see if and when prospects open emails. If they do and interact with the email, marketers can see what they click on and how they navigate the email. This empowers sales teams to gear their future conversations with decision-makers around the topics they’re engaging most with.
Nurture Sales Leads With Marketing Materials
Let’s say a sales rep speaks with a lead who may be interested in your company’s product or service, but their contract isn’t up for the next six months. Are your sales reps going to keep calling them each month until they’re ready to take the next step? Well, we’d hope not! Following up with hot leads too frequently could scare away the lead even if they were a high-converting sales opportunity.
To avoid this scenario, marketing teams can send monthly lead nurturing emails to keep your company top-of-mind. While you don’t want to follow up too frequently, you also don’t want to be entirely hands-off to the point where they forget about your company. Therefore, lead nurturing emails are vital for keeping the potential buyer engaged without scaring them away.
Use Sales Insights To Generate Better Marketing Leads
As we mentioned, sales can help marketing teams because they can provide them with crucial insight into what buyers in their market are looking for regarding B2B products and services. Since sales reps speak with customers and leads directly, they have better insight into the potential buyer’s pain points and why they selected your company as their leading solutions provider.
Gathering this information from sales teams helps marketers create more customized strategies that specifically target these pain points of decision-makers in your market. This increases the likelihood of piquing the interest of interested buyers and bringing them to your website, having them stay there, and potentially converting them into inbound leads.
Ask Sales Teams for Marketing Feedback
Marketers often have difficulty gauging what buyers in their target audience want since they’re not directly speaking with them. Sales teams can collaborate with marketing teams to tell them about the lead’s journey in the sales funnel. If it was a seamless process, the marketing team is doing their job the way they’re supposed to. However, if it was confusing for the lead to schedule that sales meeting, marketers must rethink their approach.
Sales and marketing alignment presents growing business with significant benefits, including:
Better Customer and Prospect Data
When B2B sales and marketing teams align their lead generation efforts, you can access more (and better) data and insight into customers and prospects. Sales teams have access to vital customer data that empowers marketing teams to create better campaigns for prospects. On the other hand, marketing strategists have insight into current industry trends and data on what potential buyers are looking for, empowering sales teams to have a more focused pitch. Additionally, when businesses have a sales development team, sales teams have the ability to deliver them crucial data that empowers them to better qualify leads in the sales pipeline.
More Use of Content Marketing Materials
Content marketing was once seen as its own entity. There’s a common misconception that it doesn’t align with sales development practices. However, aligning sales and marketing efforts can be used in sales scenarios across the board.
For example, suppose a sales rep connects with a prospect who doesn’t fully grasp the benefits your product or service has to offer. In that case, they can email the decision-maker a link to a blog that details why companies select your solution. From here, the prospect can read the blog and navigate the website for additional information.
Additionally, let’s say that a sales rep speaks with a potential buyer. While they may be interested in collaborating with your business, they want to see how your company has impacted businesses like theirs. From here, the sales rep can send them a case study that aligns with their industry and current pain points. This case study could be the deciding factor for the potential buyer, encouraging them to schedule a sales meeting.
While content marketing has often been seen as only a marketing strategy, it can be integrated into various sales scenarios to help guide leads toward the end of the sales funnel.
Streamlined Lead Handoff
Many B2B sales and marketing teams struggle with lead handoffs. More often than not, they get lost in translation, and a qualified marketing lead gets left behind with no follow-up from sales.
With sales and marketing alignment, lead handoff is more accessible to ensure no lead falls through the cracks. Once a marketing lead is sales qualified by the team, they’re sent to the sales development team, where they make warm calls to continue building the relationship and aim to schedule a meeting with an account executive.
To further accelerate sales and marketing alignment, your marketing team can set up a scheduling assistant to send marketing qualified leads directly to account executives for sales meetings. This reduces the number of individuals involved in the appointment setting process, so leads can shorten the amount of time they’re in the sales funnel.
Sustainable Sales Process
Aligning sales and marketing is essential for creating a predictable and sustainable sales process. Without a streamlined process, you increase the risk of trial and error, which is costly and time-consuming.
Many sales and marketing teams have their own processes they like that work for them. However, when you compromise functions, you’re setting your company up for further, long-term success. This allows you to adjust processes to accelerate growth for both departments seamlessly.
When it comes down to it, the overarching reason for sales and marketing alignment is to increase revenue. Sales and marketing are essential for business growth, which is why streamlining procedures is vital for a positive ROI. Having insight into both departments empowers growing businesses to explore where opportunities lay and discover what potential buyers are looking into a B2B product or service provider.
Everyone has their favorite duo. While most people think of their favorite food combos or sidekick pairing, our ultimate dream team is sales and marketing alignment. Without it, you risk practicing a lead generation program that yields poor results.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our lead generation experts are well-equipped to align sales and marketing efforts for an all-encompassing business growth solution. When companies want to accelerate their book of business but don’t have the bandwidth, resources, or expertise to do it internally, they look to us. If you need help aligning sales and marketing efforts, contact us and one of our sales executives will give you a demo of our solutions!