Adapting to the ever-evolving behaviors of modern-day B2B buyers is impacting sales teams within B2B companies. It’s also impacting marketing teams that are aligning their sales and marketing strategies are setting themselves up for success. The basis of relationship sales is engaging the right type of touchpoint the buyer expects, at the time it is expected in the buying process, in the right context of what the buyer needs, with a measurable impact (conversion, trust, etc.). Modern buyers are increasingly relying on online research to make buying decisions and desire a higher-touch sales rep engagement when they inquire—thus the need for sales and marketing alignment isn’t only critical, it’s imperative to your success.
Redefining the buyer’s journey
Buyers are driving sales organizations to change. Sales and marketing need to evaluate how they are currently doing business and adapt their processes, tools, and interactions to ensure success in the future. Marketing is moving down the funnel, while sales is moving up – thus the need to create content and enable sellers to leverage across the buyer’s journey. Currently, many sales reps are simply not using that content, instead relying on outdated information providing a poor experience for the buyer.
And just like I’ve said for sales, marketing needs to engage with the right type of content and context at the right time. So how does a marketing team do this? You need to align your buyer’s journey and build a marketing funnel that supports your sales process. Using the right digital tools allows your organization access to insights that will help build a process for sales and a funnel within marketing that are not only aligned but customized to the needs of your buyers—thus creating a process built on 1:1 engagement at scale.
Inbound marketing best practices focuses on moving buyers from the Top of the Funnel (ToFu), to the Middle of the Funnel (MoFu) and ultimately into the Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu)—engaging with digital touchpoints through their buyer’s journey and responding with the right content at the right time and right context. This creates more sales-ready leads that are more likely to convert to paying customers and ultimately improves marketing’s ROI.
Adding automation with digital tools helps accelerate your pipeline and gives you insight into how buyers are moving within their journey to the BoFu. While marketing has control and data of the content at the ToFu, they typically don’t have control or view of the BoFu. Aligning process and tools is extremely important to improving sales and marketing success.
Aligning sales and marketing
Characteristics of top-performing sales organizations include aligning sales and marketing. Sales needs to view marketing as an extension of sales, and marketing needs to view sales as an extension of marketing.
In some instances, technology and access to information has added a heavy burden to sales. More insight is highlighting information that used to be unknown. Successful sales teams use this data to improve process, educate themselves about their customers, and ultimately grow sales.
The future of B2B marketing
Marketing can help lift that burden by viewing sales as a customer. Marketers not only have to target buyers, they also must market to sales—because if sales are not aligned with marketing it negatively impacts your buyer’s experience. Add digital tools to broken processes and it magnifies those issues because tools don’t automatically fix broken process—insight into buyer behavior does. Process, content and even level of engagement should match what the buyer demands. Collaborating as a team with the goal of customer engagement, empowers sellers and marketers to drive that engagement. Marketing must deliver content that is relevant, in context and impactful, that sellers can use to engage with prospects and deepen relationships with customers.
Aligning sales and marketing initiatives improves the value to not only each team, but to your buyer. Collaborating on content that is specific to buyer’s needs shows value to sales reps, providing a reason for them to use it. Allowing marketing access to sales process and data gives them information needed to improve content and the process of moving a lead to a paying customer.