While sales and marketing have always been linked, the shift today is more digitally-driven interactions and purchases in the B2B space has made aligning sales with marketing even more critical.
Buyers are taking to social channels to find products and reviews, and these sites can provide a unique amount of information about buyers and their habits. This information is not only critical to marketing but sales departments as well.
When B2B technology companies have the sales and marketing tightly aligned, they are more likely to generate sales qualified leads and achieve higher rates of conversion. Research also shows that highly-aligned companies can achieve up to a 34% increase in revenue year over year.
Even though statistics demonstrate the benefits of aligning marketing and sales, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy feat. Below are just a few of the ways that you can help to better align your B2B technology company's sales and marketing teams to acquire more sales qualified leads and drive revenue.
Organize Sales Around Buyer Personas & The Buying Process
One of the most critical things that both sales and marketing departments need to agree on is their target buyer. Both departments will need to agree on what their buyer's daily life is like, the things that they care about, and what compels them to make their purchase.
Sales and marketing should also agree on the buying process that their target buyer is likely to follow. This may include the activities they will follow to make their purchases, what types of information they will look for in the research stage, and what methods they turn to to find that information.
By staying aligned on the buyer persona and buyer’s journey, B2B marketers can craft more relevant messages and more efficiently target qualified leads. Likewise, sales can more easily follow up with these leads and have productive conversations based on where they are in the decision-making process.
Align Content Creation
Once you’ve defined your target buyer, it’s your content that will guide them through the sales funnel. When content delivered between the two departments is misaligned, it can make prospects feel like they’re receiving mixed messages or unsure of your brand identity.
The content used in your marketing assets should be aligned with your B2B tech company’s sales pitches. That way the prospect feels confident that the first-touch messaging mirrors their first conversation with a sales representative.
You can avoid content misalignment by having regular meetings and communicating between the departments about the overall content strategy, how and when the content will be used, where the content will be found, and by what parameters the effectiveness will be judged.
Streamline the Lead Hand-Off Process
The transition between marketing qualified lead to sales qualified lead is vitally important. If the lead is not handed off by marketing to sales at the right time, it may be more difficult for the sales representative to close the customer, and the deal could be wasted.
Poor hand-offs can go both ways. When the handoff is too early, the lead may not be at the point of purchase and may not yet be a sales qualified lead. Too late, and the lead may turn cold or have moved on to a different B2B technology company to fulfill their needs.
To determine the ideal timing, the marketing and sales departments need to come together to determine what parameters need to be met for the hand-off process to begin. Some may choose to wait until the lead agrees to conversion, while other sales representatives may want to initiate personal contact with the lead before this process.
By agreeing on the parameters, the sales representatives will know they are getting the leads at the stage they want, and the marketing team will know what point they need to get the leads to in preparation for the conversion process.
Agree on Optimization and Feedback
Another area in which sales and marketing need to come together is on ways to optimize the selling process and manage interdepartmental feedback. This can be best gained by having multiple meetings, each addressing a specific area so that the meeting can stay on track and, in the end, all points are covered. You can start with revenue meetings where the team discusses reporting metrics at critical conversion stages.
Another meeting should be related to lead generation and involve the teams that are responsible for generating sales qualified leads. Both departments should give their feedback in the meeting so that leads can be agreed upon and the campaign can be optimized based on those discussions.
Bringing your marketing and sales departments into alignment can help you more efficiently convert leads into customers. By following the tips above and using tools that provide for better integration, such as marketing automation software, your company can reap the benefits of sales and marketing alignment.
Looking for a concrete example of how marketing and sales alignment can drive revenue in the B2B technology sector? Download our case study and learn how marketing automation helped one of our clients achieve 20x ROI.