Sales and marketing alignment boosts revenue growth

Getting sales and marketing teams on the same page is a challenge for many companies, but a misaligned organization can impede sales effectiveness. In many cases, these two teams use different standards to determine what makes a qualified lead. Marketers may pass leads along that the sales team doesn’t follow up with because they aren’t a good fit or aren’t ready to buy. This can prevent salespeople from taking advantage of opportunities and closing deals. An online marketing system can help sales and marketing create a set of shared metrics to boost collaboration and increase revenue growth.

Despite the difficulty of reaching sales and marketing alignment, it can prove to be hugely beneficial for B2B firms. Citing the Aberdeen Group, the Canadian Marketing Association said that companies with aligned sales and marketing teams have seen an average 32 percent revenue growth in the past year, compared to their unaligned competitors, which saw decreases. Misalignment can cause tension in your office and prevent your sales employees from meeting their quotas. Bringing these two teams together is a priority for many B2B executives.

Where sales and marketing misalignment originates

Much of the lack of cohesion between sales and marketing is related to Internet lead generation. There is a great deal of contention between sales reps and marketers about what constitutes a qualified lead. When the two teams don’t have a shared understanding, it’s a challenge for sales to convert prospects and for marketing to generate the right kind of leads. A lack of communication between the two teams can further exacerbate this issue.

Your marketing employees are responsible for attracting a high volume of qualified leads, and then sales needs to convert them into customers. If sales reps don’t speak up about the kind of leads they need, marketers will keep finding the same types of contacts and then get frustrated when the other team ignores these leads.

This has become an even more difficult process in the past few years because buyers have more access to information than ever before, according to an article for Forbes by Christine Crandell. In the past, sales employees guided prospect through the buying cycle, and they held the primary responsibility for informing purchasing decisions. Now prospects are far more independent and do research on their own. B2B buyers are less trusting of promotional sales materials. They are more likely to rely on blogs, case studies, webinars, user reviews, advice from colleagues and other sources of content than sales pitches that come directly from your team. When buyers contact your reps, they are testing the relationship. In fact, Crandell mentioned New Business Strategies’ research found B2B customers place more emphasis on trust in the vendor than product availability or pricing.

However, you can facilitate this process by placing your marketing team in charge of creating content tailored to prospects’ needs. Both teams need to place the customer at the heart of their strategies, and marketing automation can help accomplish this.

Content is more important for attracting qualified leads

As content marketing gains adoption across the B2B sector, it’s becoming more important to align marketing materials to the different stages of the sales funnel, Kim Zimmermann wrote for Demand Gen Report.

Creating high-quality, relevant content isn’t always easy. In fact, a recent study from Brainshark revealed that 41 percent of sales reps thought their organizations had outdated content, according to Zimmerman. Another 42 percent said they were never involved in content marketing discussions. More than half of salespeople had to spend time updating existing content to make it more relevant to current offerings.

Although marketing employees need to get feedback from their Internet lead generation efforts, sales reps should be consulted on content development to ensure materials are more closely aligned to the customer journey. These conversations can help sales and marketing get on the same page so each side can do their jobs more effectively.

Marketing automation better aligns the two teams

An online marketing system can streamline the process of bringing your employees together for better results. The analytics tools in marketing automation platforms can help both teams create shared metrics for lead qualification. Your company can also rely on lead scoring, which assigns a number to potential customers as they enter the revenue funnel. These scores are typically based on a combination of a lead’s readiness to purchase and fit for your company. This can prevent marketers from passing leads over to sales too soon so reps don’t follow up with cold prospects.

Because of the increased visibility into prospects’ activity, marketing automation can also make it easier to create more relevant content for each stage of the buying cycle. The combination of these factors can help your company chart revenue growth.

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