Digital Marketing

Why sales and marketing MUST align

Let’s talk about a sales and marketing problem that most companies have struggled with for years. I’m not talking about lead generation, market share, or customer retention, although it does impact each of those things and more. I’m talking about the chasm that separates Sales and Marketing.

Take a look at a typical day in the life of both Sales and Marketing to see if you can relate…

A day in the life of a marketer

A marketer works hard to generate leads for his sales team. Optimize conversion opportunities on your business website, deliver email campaigns, create landing pages, and offer valuable private content. His work generates a constant stream of leads, which are immediately passed on to the sales team. Because, after all, more leads is better, right?

Our marketing specialist works hard every day to create valuable marketing content and sales support materials. She emails the sales team to notify them of each new piece of content as it is finalized. She even uploads each new item to the company’s Dropbox account for everyone to access.

Oh sweet success!

But not by much…

Her blood boils when she finds out that her sales reps haven’t even looked at the leads she’s been generating. She winces in frustration when she discovers that most of the sales team is unaware of much of the content she has created. How can this be possible?

Marketing feels undervalued and ignored.

A day in the life of a sales representative

Across the Grand Canyon of Sales and Marketing, a sales rep spends her day responding to urgent requests from prospects, traveling from meeting to meeting, communicating with clients, reacting to unexpected changes with buyers; his life is a life of chaos and constant change. .

You often need content to answer the immediate needs of your prospects. However, this leads to frustration because the materials you have access to are not the materials you need. They are outdated or worse, they don’t even seem to exist. This often means that she ends up creating content on the spot. This requires time that she simply doesn’t have. You can’t understand why Marketing isn’t producing the content you need.

To top it off, you get countless notifications from Marketing about new leads you need to follow up on, adding pressure to your already stress-filled day. You don’t have time to keep up with your own prospect communication, let alone a list of new Marketing prospects. Also, marketing leads never seem to be qualified and following up with them always seems like a waste of time.

Sales feels misunderstood and unsupported by Marketing.

Sounds familiar? That’s what I thought.

Unfortunately, this situation is incredibly common. Marketers aren’t the only ones who feel slighted and ignored. In fact, Sales will never act on 80% of marketing leads. And according to the American Marketing Association, a whopping 90% of sales content is never used in the sale.

Sales reps are also justified in their frustration. The CMO council found that instead of selling, salespeople spend more than 40% of their time creating their own messaging and tools. Also, according to HubSpot, only 27% of leads sent to sales by marketing are qualified first.

Pretty sad statistics, right? So why is it happening? It’s that chasm I mentioned earlier between Sales and Marketing. These two teams are largely disconnected and it is affecting the companies they work for.

It’s time to bridge the gap and align Sales and Marketing once and for all. While you would probably agree, you may not fully understand because is so important or what you can do about it.

Why sales and marketing MUST align

Reason #1: Your customers see it

According to IDC, up to 57% of customers feel salespeople are underprepared or not prepared for initial meetings.

Could it be that these sales reps didn’t have the resources they needed to properly prepare for these initial meetings? After all, these meetings with potential customers are very important to sales reps – they are key milestones in the sales process! The vast majority of sales representatives certainly want Be prepared for them so that they can be as successful as possible. They just didn’t have the content they needed to prepare properly.

Sales reps need content to effectively engage prospects and close sales. But not any content is worth it. They need content that speaks directly to prospects’ needs, challenges, and preferences. And they need to be able to access the latest versions whenever they need to.

To do

Take the first step toward Sales and Marketing alignment and speak directly with sales reps. Work to clearly understand the challenges they face throughout the sales process. Ask them about the gaps they see in your marketing content. Try to understand how they need to access content and when and where they need it most. Try to find out what marketing support has worked and what hasn’t, and why. Listen to their feedback and list the ways you can better serve your sales reps.

One strategy I like to use is to ask sales reps to write down the questions they frequently get from prospects. Then, use this list of FAQs as a content list you can create to directly support sales reps the next time they run into such queries.

The important point here is that marketers can take the first step toward sales and marketing alignment by starting a simple conversation with sales reps. Just ask them what they need and figure out a way to deliver it to them.

Reason #2: Lead overload

When Sales and Marketing are not aligned, inefficiencies are likely to occur. Like the examples given above, it’s very likely that Marketing is delivering leads that Sales will never touch. With the increasing adoption of marketing automation platforms and their ability to help marketers do more than ever before, marketers can generate many leads. Brilliant. What’s not so great is when they just pass them on to sales.

Why is this a problem? When sales reps receive more leads than they can physically keep up with, they become overwhelmed…and those leads are neglected. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’ve been striving for a lead generation goal of 30 leads per rep per week. That sounds great! That is, until you know that each rep typically has about two hours per week to follow up with leads and each lead typically requires about 20 minutes of follow-up time. You now realize that each rep has the ability to follow up with only six leads each week. You’ve been working hard to send them 30.

Do you see the problem here? In this scenario, you would be sending them 24 more leads than they can physically handle. Each. Single. Week.

What he thought was a huge marketing success was actually superseding sales. And it was driving careless potential customers.

To do

As briefly mentioned in the example above, one of the first steps in resolving this issue is to speak directly with your sales reps and sales leadership to understand the realistic number of leads each rep can track each week. Then, adjust the number of leads you deliver accordingly.

This does not mean that your goal is to generate fewer leads. You are welcome. Instead, it means you may need to nurture and qualify them better before handing them over to Sales.

More work for marketing? Maybe. But wouldn’t it be worth it if your work was actually used? By nurturing leads before you turn them over to Sales, you increase the chances that the leads you turn over will become customers.

On average, according to a Demand Generation Report, nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads. Additionally, companies that excel at nurturing leads generate 50% more leads that are actually sales-ready. Even better: they produce these leads at a third of the cost of companies that aren’t as good at nurturing leads.

Spend some time getting a better understanding of sales and each rep’s ability to follow up with leads. Then refine your lead nurturing process to improve quality, and reconsider the number of leads you deliver to sales.

Reason #3: Wasted Revenue

When sales reps spend time searching or creating content, it not only doubles marketing efforts, but it also keeps them away from important sales opportunities. And those wasted opportunities add up to wasted revenue, a lot of it.

Consider this: A study by IDC found that by saving a single sales rep just 60 minutes of setup time each week, a company could realize additional revenue generation $300,000 or more per repeat! In a company with only 10 reps, that’s $3 million every year. If you have 100 iterations, that’s a staggering $300 million per year.

If just 60 minutes of prep time can translate to $300,000 in revenue, imagine how much potential revenue is wasted in your organization while sales reps struggle to find the content they need.

To do

Clean up the mess. As you work to build a better relationship with your sales reps and establish more frequent and meaningful communication, look for ways to reduce the clutter in both of your lives.

Very often technology can help here. There are apps available today to help manage content. Anything from Google Drive to Basecamp, Dropbox to Salesforce – any number of tools can serve as a virtual marketing library for your content. Each one is available anywhere and on any device with an internet connection, so sales reps should have no trouble getting the content they need when they need it.

If you can commit to making only the latest versions of content available in this marketing library, ask your sales reps to commit as well. Ask them to retrieve these updated versions of the content whenever they need to use it, rather than using outdated content stored elsewhere or creating their own.

Bridging the gap between Sales and Marketing. Contact Sales to better understand your challenges and needs. Work together to better serve your customers. Sure, it’ll improve your business and probably increase revenue, but it’ll also improve your happiness in the workplace, and can you really put a price on that?

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