Aligning B2B sales and marketing is not enough; businesses need to work towards their integration of sales and marketing to share knowledge and data to generate revenue in a unified manner.
Maintaining B2B sales and marketing “alignment” is getting harder as the demand-supply dynamics are getting more complicated day-by-day.
For successful integration, firms need to focus on three fundamental commitments:
- Clearly understand buyer expectations and buying dynamics.
- Commit to empower sales and revenue generation with the support of the marketing department. The roles of both departments should be clear, with no overlaps.
- Integrate sales-marketing efforts to develop a symbiotic relationship with proper awareness to avoid clashes or insecurities.
With the increasing market competition, external dynamics, and internal barriers have also witnessed the transformation. Customer requirements and business dynamics are changing fast, driven by tech and digital disruption. Both sellers and buyers are struggling to keep up these changes, where the sellers are struggling to match up with the ever-changing customer expectations. Sellers don’t have enough awareness of consumer buying behavior, which makes them struggle to forecast the business expected to deliver accurately. On the other hand, the buying teams have access to abundant information, but due to the incredible pace of innovation, it thwarts new decisions. The new solutions and the considerable cost they might bear because of making bad decisions discourages agility.
Marketing teams now are building increasingly complex demand engines, generate loads of “leads.” The sales teams are rejecting most of them as “junk” or “invalid.” Marketing teams need to focus on replacing traditional sales tasks such as cold calling, account research, follow up, discovery meetings, and qualification. It’s also essential to build a separate sales tech stack with a unique set of data and processes for consumer engagement, essentially duplicating marketing efforts.
While the buyer-seller dynamic is continuously evolving, the c-suite needs to support and ease up on expectations to reach realistic targets and grow. If everyone falls prey to the pressure of selling, it will become harder for the sales and marketing teams to collaborate for the long-term growth of the businesses. Worse, it might end up pushing away prospects who might become the victim of the onslaught.
The expectation for B2B marketing teams to justify their contribution to revenue can quickly turn to the obsession to get “credit,” not “credit, “not focusing enough on the clarity of what will work best, using insights from data to improve results. Data analytics is an essential tool, but in a few cases, it is being used to source credit by the employees. This tactic further hinders growth, perpetuating the sales-marketing divide. Today, the purchase process is a journey defined by multiple engagements over a period of time across multiple players. This makes the collaboration between the marketing and sales team even more crucial to the growth of any business.
To resolve the marketing-sales divide, it’s important to remember:
- Sales need to focus on being stand-out sellers, while marketers need to commit to being breakthrough marketers supporting the sales process.
- Company culture and compensation plan must reward and support this collaboration, making them accountable for each other’s success.
- Common language, goals, and definitions of success must be developed among all employees through integrated systems, dashboards, and metrics.
- Ensure availability of clean, intelligent data and a modern data structure that drives sales/marketing efforts and customer collaboration.
- Re-imagine the Revenue Organization with Dubbed “Revenue Operations,” this approach usually takes the form of a fully integrated team or a hybrid of different teams like marketing, sales, and finance with dotted lines to functional leaders.
The divide between Sales and Marketing is increasing because of the changing business dynamics and external and internal pressures. The sales and marketing team needs to focus on what they do well, and then using compensation, culture, and data, their efforts can be integrated around enriching the customer journey.