There is a long history of tensions between sales and marketing, especially in B2B organizations.
Initially, it stemmed from sales skepticism that the work of marketing provided anything of measurable value. However, things started to change as digital tools and strategies became mainstream.
Now traders can prove that their efforts are having an impact. Demand generation and inbound marketing tactics like digital ads, SEO, and email campaigns prove to be very effective in getting prospects to sign up for product trials, download content, and even to request meetings with vendors.
Actionable and scalable strategies make it easy to demonstrate value.
Too much of a good thing?
Problem solved? Not enough.
Digital strategies have proven to be so effective in opening up high-end opportunities that marketing has become the only source of new leads in many large companies. In these organizations, sales teams have become completely dependent on marketing to start conversations with potential customers. This is the current state of the relationship between marketing and sales in most companies, and it is increasingly dysfunctional.
A decline in the effectiveness of digital marketing techniques is a contributing factor to the flawed relationship. This is particularly noticeable in e-mail demand generation programs. Anti-spam policies are more robust and advanced mailbox management features make it easier to reject unsolicited emails. Even emails sent to warm contacts often fail to reach their targets.
Likewise, “forms fatigue” coupled with heightened privacy concerns is choking off a once-valuable flow of qualified leads for advertising-driven marketing.
Who needs marketing?
Another factor is that marketing has lost its grip on the top of the funnel. It’s been crowded out by social data, triggering a need for greater levels of personalization. Sales support platforms give sellers the ability to deliver warranties and other content directly to prospects with a high level of personalization, often bolstered by in-depth follow-up analytics.
Thus, Sales takes ownership of the top of the funnel and generates its own leads. With this kind of technological firepower, who needs Marketing?
Well, sales still do, of course. But he doesn’t get what he really needs from his counterparts on the marketing side.
Once marketing has passed a qualified prospect to the sales team, it is considered a job done. It is a mistake. At this early stage in the sales process, there is so much more marketing can do.
Closer alignment and coordination of sales and marketing across the funnel can lead to better, more efficient business engagement and much faster conversion.
Sellers must sell!
This coordination is especially relevant in cases where the engagement seems to be going nowhere after the initial connection. The primary mandate of salespeople is to sell, of course, and rightly so. If the prospect of conversion seems slim after the first contact, they want to move on to other opportunities.
In cases where the marketing team has invested a lot of time and resources in trying to establish a relationship with a strategic account, the cost to the business is not only a lost sales opportunity, but also all the effort. deployed to qualify this prospect.
The misalignment of sales and marketing results in a scenario where an interested prospect is lost, with no opportunity to continue the conversation. This is outrageous ineffectiveness when you consider that marketing has the capacity, resources and scale to step in and resume the conversation.
Double-Teaming — Up and Down the Funnel
In fact, marketing and sales should be directed to the same people at the same time at all stages of the funnel. The scalability of the program allows marketing to reach hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously. It must provide marketing content related to the sales context at each stage.
The end game of sales and marketing alignment is this: Both departments have to share the same funnel all the time. As salespeople strive to drive the relationship through the funnel to conversion, marketing needs to provide coverage by delivering contextually relevant ads every step of the way.
Taking sales and marketing out of their individual silos and forcing them to work together in a closer alignment can create additional opportunities.
Buying decisions are group activities
Buying is a team sport in the B2B world, and the bigger the company, the more people involved in the decision. Sales support platforms allow a salesperson to start a conversation at the top of the funnel, but if that conversation goes nowhere, the salesperson doesn’t have the tools to reach other members of the company. purchasing team.
Marketing needs to reach out to everyone else on the buying team, and they have the tools to do it. It can deliver advertisements and other content to all team members, not just those who participate in active sales conversations.
The numbers tell the story of the sales and marketing alignment
To bring us back to where the tension between sales and marketing started and the biggest obstacle to better alignment: How do sales know that marketing ads are working?
We wanted to find out for ourselves. So we designed an experiment to test whether personalized ads (those aimed at reaching individual people, not just accounts) drive sales development conversions to sales. He analyzed whether clicks and engagements drive conversion rate and whether behavioral score affects conversion rate.
The results speak for themselves: the conversion rate was multiplied by 2.4 for those who clicked on an ad and 3.9 for those who engaged (spent more than 30 seconds) on the landing page. Engagement doubles the chances of success. A behavioral score of 10+ multiplied the conversion by 2.7, and the conversion rate can go up to 10x for scores of 15+.
In our analysis, the engagement score serves as a perfect surrogate measure of success. This is a strong argument for optimizing score metrics in order to improve campaign performance.
And maybe, just maybe, it presents a way forward to a more meaningful alignment between sales and marketing.