The Way B2B Customers Are Making Their Purchasing Decisions Is Redefining Sales & Marketing Alignment

Posted by LinkedSelling in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Insights

A change is upon us.

In the past, business was centered around a handshake. Inherent in any deal was the relationship you had built behind the dotted line. You met in person, over dinner or lunch. And you had to win the trust of your prospect.

While that still holds true, digital marketing has turned both brands and prospects alike into just another number on a spreadsheet. Another penny in the funnel.

The modern business operates at the corner of quality and quantity. Meaning that you need the volume required to hit your sales goals but there’s also an overlooked aspect to your internal organization affects your leads:

Your marketing and sales teams need to be aligned on a similar overall goal and the strategies they’ll use together to hit that.

Because it’s not enough to just get leads,
you need the right leads.


The kinds of leads you generate are affected by the fact that too many organizations have a divide between the metrics they track.

Marketing teams will often track metrics like MQLs, clicks, form fills, and more, as part of their KPIs. But their team as a whole will often be looking at brand awareness, consistency, their positioning in the marketplace, and their engagement numbers.

As a lead generation and sales development company, we see how marketing and sales alignment play a key role in the businesses we work with. For example, some come to us looking for leads. They want volume.

And they want it for the lowest cost per lead. Sales historically are driven by more shorter-term metrics and focuses. Closed leads, Lost leads, SQLs, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), etc.

That sounds reasonable in the short term. Unfortunately, this kind of focus on short term goals leads to an overall loss in the long term.

This is precisely because they are focused on quantity over quality. Trends are moving marketing into new territory where marketers and sales teams are both aligned in their goal for each stage of the buyer journey.

This means that marketers engaged in lead generation need to up their game to bring in quality leads for the sales team. In turn, this allows the sales team to close more leads, faster, improving the sales team’s productivity, improving the closing conversion rate and lowering the acquisition cost.

Aligning goals in this way for both sales and marketing improves the overall acquisition cost, as well as the quality of leads. The research supports this:

31% of companies noted that improving sales and marketing alignment is increasing their focus on the need for deeper metrics to support combined marketing and sales goals.  (Marketing Measurement & Attribution Benchmark Survey)

While both departments may have a different emphasis, you need them to work in concert if you are going to win out. This means that Marketing should have insight and feedback into how their leads are converting into appointments and sales, and how the sales team is working to develop and build positive experiences for their leads. And sales should have insight and feedback into the brand positioning, content development, and targeting being implemented by the marketing team.

This means you need to be dialed in on two things:

#1 Be In It For The Long Haul.

Your lead generation and sales development needs to be focused on building long-term relationships with prospects, not just burning through lists. The strategy should position your sales teams as an authority rather than a pest.

To win out in the long run, you’ll need to stand out from the sea of vendors by creating a long-term relationship built on being different than most other sales reps. This focus on positioning your team and their communication in the right way is essential. Their outreach should feel personal and unique to every prospect.

This is exactly why top-performing sales teams are 2.8x more likely to say their organizations have shifted toward personalizing customer interactions. (Salesforce)

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Get Everyone On Board.

You also need a premium placed on communication and a company-wide shared goal for growth. This means that a shift to putting trust-building and personal relationship building needs company-wide buy-in. It shouldn’t be a difficult sell as focusing on quality benefits both marketing and sales; it allows marketing to spend their budget with less waste and sales professionals to spend their time more efficiently.

To make it work, you need to be crystal clear on what a qualified lead looks like and how your efforts are performing ongoing.

You’ll also need to track customer journeys between sales reps and marketing specialists to determine which lead gen channels are most profitable and which are underperforming.

By aligning your departments you allow your sales team to close more leads, improving the sales team’s productivity, increasing the closing conversion rate and lowering the acquisition cost.

Again…

Your top salespeople should be spending their time selling, so it is important that prospecting, lead generation, and nurture is either handled by your own marketing or sales development teams or outsourced to a company who specializes in this.


Ways to Align Your Sales and Marketing Department Goals

Once you optimize your efforts for quality not quantity, there are a few other things you can do to encourage alignment between sales and marketing.

The main factor is maintaining open communication between the two departments and actively determine how both departments share and use prospect and client information to make intelligent decisions for both sales AND marketing. One side should not be 100% driving the other.

One simple example of how we do this internally comes from a member of the sales team. He put together a sheet he fittingly called “From the Front Lines” detailing the exact worries, problems, phrases and circumstances of the people he’d been talking with and shared it with the marketing department.

From there, marketing was able to get an idea of what prospects are actually concerned about, what they’re saying and what they’re looking for and used that information to create content that appeals to those concerns.

Other ideas to ensure alignment between the two departments is to hold weekly meetings discussing the numbers, what people are saying, ideas, and the general direction the two departments should pursue.

The new approach to Marketing and Sales starts with a laser focus on getting the RIGHT leads - quality over quantity. Second, share information, and third, maintain open communication between the two departments on a frequent basis.

Many lead generation and sales development companies don’t understand the momentum that focusing on the right leads creates - for both departments.

Short term goals won’t help you here.

At LinkedSelling, we partner with your sales team to discover who those quality leads are and what they look like. In this way, we support your long term goals and contribute to sustainable growth in your company.

At LinkedSelling, our goal isn’t to simply be an outsourced sales development or lead generation team. We partner with clients as an extension of both their marketing and sales teams to bridge the gap and support both the long term goals of our clients, but also  contribute to the bottom-line revenue numbers.

If you’re interested in partnering with LinkedSelling to increase the quality leads your sales team needs, let’s talk. 

We have several options depending on what stage your business is at and can recommend an appropriate strategy.

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