As business functions, both marketing and sales play a crucial role in the customer journey. But how well the two departments integrate with each other can be the difference between success and failure.
We surveyed 100 senior B2B marketing professionals and found that only 40% of them have aligned marketing plans with the company’s sales strategy and targets. What’s more, less than a third have integrated the two functions’ roles successfully.
Clearly, marketing and sales often don’t support each other as well as they should, and that’s having a knock-on effect on business performance. This is further evidenced by 56% of marketers telling us that the sales department doesn’t value the content they create, suggesting it isn’t used to its full potential to help nurture and close deals. For businesses to reap the benefits of both functions, they need to strike up and maintain an effective relationship between the two.
Sales and marketing teams must integrate their strategies, plans and visions. Marketers shouldn’t underestimate the role they can play in bringing the two functions together and forge a fruitful relationship. There are several things they can do to kick-start this process:
Introduce regular face-to-face meetings: regular discussions with the sales team will shine a light on what is affecting customers currently. This includes their challenges, needs and priorities. The marketing team should incorporate this interaction into their planning, making content assets resonate with customers more, and nudging business leads further on in the buying process.
Let information flow freely: collaboration between sales and marketing doesn’t just have to be formal. Create some internal communication channels that keep the sales team updated and engaged with forthcoming communication activities. This will alert them when marketing materials are complete, ready to be used as lead generation tools. Collaboration tools and file sharing apps are a great way of making this possible.
Get sales actively involved in marketing: every sales team has excellent insight into what’s happening in its sector. Marketing should tap into this knowledge to create relevant and up-to-date content from those on the front line. If sales professionals are attributed to articles and blogs, contribute to social media activity and give regular industry updates, they should appreciate the role marketing campaigns and content plays in helping to attract new customers.
Map marketing to the sales cycle: no marketing activity should be progressed without careful consideration of the customer’s buying cycle. Ensure that the whole marketing team understands the customer acquisition process, so that campaigns are aligned and have impact at specific stages in the process.
Just like a life-long marriage, the relationship between sales and marketing will only thrive if both parties communicate regularly, consider each other, and play an active role in each other’s day-to-day activities. Working in isolation won’t help the two functions reach their collective goals. It may never be complete marital bliss, but there’s certainly an opportunity to work at it!
For more information on how you can adopt an integrated marketing strategy, you can find tips, a whitepaper and informative infographic on https://www.skoutpr.com/resources/.