by Brenda Stolz
Republished from Forbes, February 19, 2018
Aligning sales and marketing has become common practice as a business strategy, improving the dialogue between two separate departments of a business for improved results all around. But I often have clients approach me with the same problem: regardless of a seamless relationship between their sales and marketing strategies, they still find that there are not enough successful sales being generated from their leads.
So, why is it that better sales and marketing alignment doesn’t always mean success for B2B companies? Let’s look at some common problems as well as address solutions for them.
Problem: There is no set lead movement strategy between sales and marketing
While in theory your sales and marketing departments are operating together, the movement of generated leads from first contact through to a final sale is shaky at best, and doesn’t fully leverage the skills of both your sales and marketing teams.
Solution: Create a specialized strategy to finalize B2B sales
Because the tactics that marketers use are vital for the sales funnel, it’s important to clearly define the strategy and process for attracting, nurturing, then selling to leads. If you want to, for example, offer a white paper in exchange for an email address, make sure you’ve identified where that lead goes once it’s entered on your website.
Start by defining what a “lead” is to marketing and what it is to sales. Then, clearly define the process from the moment the lead enters your system, through handoff to sales and sales acceptance.
Problem: Not every lead is quality
With a consistent and powerful content marketing strategy, marketing teams should be able to generate a large quantity of B2B leads. But the problem occurs when the sales team is left chasing dead-end leads. Sales reps get frustrated and blame marketing staff for sending them bad leads, but that’s not the issue.
Solution: Automate and filter
Rather than the sales department waste its time on bad leads, start with an automated process that first attracts leads, then weeds the bad ones out. A well-designed email marketing campaign could first send that white paper to anyone who’s interested, then parse out those who are actively looking to buy a solution similar to what your company offers, so that the sales team can then follow up.
Be sure to include qualification questions and progressively profile your leads as they move through the buying process and consume your content.
Problem: Purchasing cycles are changing
How a potential client finally chooses a company to work with is changing. Potential clients are no longer simply talking to one company and then buying; with the massive availability of online information, they are more likely to shop around first. This can be awfully frustrating for both the sales and marketing teams, especially as the game keeps changing.
Solution: Constant communication is key
An ongoing dialogue between the marketing and sales teams is vital to success in maintaining lead generation and finalizing sales. If the frontline sales staff can reflect and report on where they start to lose client interest, the marketing team can develop a strategy to overcome that obstacle and vice versa.
Additionally, matching content to where a potential client is in the buying process can greatly increase the “stickiness” of your brand. Provide value at every step so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re ready to help.
Alignment between sales and marketing teams in B2B companies is a continuous process of growth, communication, and commitment to practicing the strategies that will generate high-quality leads and sales.