sales and marketing aligment

Why Should You Align Your Sales and Marketing Strategy?

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Sales and Marketing are two sides of the Coin. In the simplest of terms, while marketing focuses on creating awareness and evoking a desire to buy a particular brand’s product/service, sales focuses on converting a potential customer into an actual one. That being said, it’s pretty obvious that their ultimate goal is the same: business growth. Coming together with a common goal of increasing revenue, these two pillars of a successful business can drastically increase marketing ROI, sales productivity, and profits.

There is an immense scope for improving business performance by aligning sales and marketing functions; an idea that is often overlooked due to deep-rooted misunderstandings.

Why is it then that marketing and sales teams view each other as competitors, as opposed to collaborators?

A difference in their approach is one reason. Marketing strategies are created for the long haul: creating brand awareness, recognition, and retention, building a solid foundation, nurturing leads etc. Sales strategies tend to be short-term, dealing with meeting monthly, quarterly, and yearly quotas. They need aid from the marketing team that will help them close a sale today.

Another reason for discord between sales and marketing teams is the difficulty in measuring the results of marketing activities, unlike the quantifiable outcomes of sales efforts. This often leads to marketing efforts not being taken seriously or considered important by the sales team.

Demand Gen & Inside View conducted a survey amongst sales and marketing professionals to understand the main issues faced in aligning marketing and sales. The results provide proof of the problems stated above 49% of those surveyed cited communication as the main challenge, followed by broken or flawed processes (42%), use of different metrics (40%), lack of accurate data on target accounts (39%) and reporting challenges (27%).

Acknowledging the problem is the first step in solving it.

Benefits of aligning marketing and sales

Before stating the measurable benefits of aligning sales and marketing, let’s go over the real and potential losses that arise out of non-alignment.

As per Wheelhouse Advisors:

  • Companies are losing closing to $ 1 trillion per year due to lost sales and wasted marketing expenditure.
  • 79% of marketing leads don’t close.
  • Only 27% of leads given by B2B marketers are pursued by the sales team.

The advantages on the other hand are:

  • According to Wheelhouse Advisors companies that ran sales and marketing strategies in tandem achieved 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher win rates.
  • A report by Aberdeen Research states that companies that have aligned sales and marketing saw an average of 20% increase in annual revenue, as opposed to a 4% decrease in companies that didn’t.

As per Sirius Decisions research B2B organizations having well-aligned sales and marketing functions saw 24% more rapid growth and 27% more rapid profit increase over a period of three years.

The good news

There is an increasing desire to work in collaboration, especially being voiced by Sales. A survey of 300 Sales heads by Sirius Decisions states, “The top third of the sales cycle has gone away. Salespeople believe that the beginning of the traditional sales process has evaporated and that buyers are self-servicing their needs instead of engaging with salespeople.” This shift in buying behavior has made Sales more dependent on Marketing.

Time to get Onboard

Given the real and quantifiable benefits of aligning your sales and marketing strategy, especially in today’s digital era where consumers are well informed and knowledgeable, it is imperative to implement policies and create an environment that brings these two vital functions together. A well thought out integrated Sales-Marketing plan is what will make the difference between growth and sustainable growth negligible.

How Marketing Can Reduce The Sales Cycle

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Many of the times it feels like it takes forever to close new business deals? You’re running strong campaigns, generating plenty of leads, seeing a flurry of sales activity.

But even though your sales reps are consistently following up, prospects just aren’t ready to buy. Your sales cycle used to be 1 month, but now it’s 2, or even 3 months. And the longer it gets, the harder it is to hit your goals.

Often, people don’t really know how long their sales cycle is — only describing it as “long” or “too long”. The problem is, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. A manual way to find this out is to take the last 20 or so deals and calculate the average sales cycle by determining the length of time between first contact by your sales team and close of the sale.

As a CMO, how can you solve this problem? Do your sales reps need some more training on their closing techniques?

But it would be a mistake to just assume the problem is their closing skills. Even the best closers can face lengthening sales cycles.

Well, we are in a world of Marketing and if you take a step back and try to see what’s causing this, you might realize that there are multiple ways where your company can improve their efforts.

  1. Quality of the leads that enter your sales process. Are they truly qualified?
  2. How well your leads are educated? Do your sales reps have educate them?
  3. How are you personalizing the leads experience?

That’s where the marketing automation comes into the picture.

The marketing automation cannot just help reduce the sales cycle but can make your sales team look like a superhero.

Marketing can give quality and relevant leads to sales team.

Marketing can help ensure that the leads only get to the sales team when they’re qualified and ready to buy. If you prioritize the leads who have already identified the problem and are educated about the solutions, they are looking for will help your sales team to close the deal fast. That will result in lesser time spent in the converting the lead into business. But again, to ensure shorter sales cycle you need to implement the scoring model which works for you. At Digiby, we help companies to put marketing automation in their business and bring the quality leads ahead for the sales team to close.

Marketing can educate prospects well before the sales reps pitches in

Marketing can trigger the automatic messages to your prospects in an orderly fashion so that your sales team doesn’t have to put so many efforts just to educate the leads you have. Presenting your solutions to a prospect who believe that they don’t have any problem or thinks that if they identified the problem and thinks that it is not significant so that need the solution yet; can be a sales suicide.

To shorten the sales cycle, you must bring clarity to your prospects. If they have a problem, let’s make sure they understand it, and if they don’t, let’s move on to someone who does.

The art of educating the prospects can help them identify the problem and the solution to deal with the problem. Automating the marketing can help you send behavior based content to your prospects which helps your sales reps to spend less time educating the prospect about the product and can lead to shorter sales cycle.

Marketing can personalize the prospects experience

The first thing you need to understand that there’s no single size which can fit everyone. You need to customize and personalize their experience. Create the segments of your leads depending on their requirements, behavior, location, interest, language or even the time of the message etc. and let the communication be in a fashion which personalizes their experience. Your busy sales rep cannot manually do it for every prospect so you need your marketing to take charge of this and automate the process so that the sales don’t have to do that till the time for them to close the deal comes.

The power of marketing in digital space can drastically reduce the sales cycle and speed up the cash flow in the bank. That’s a win-win scenario for you as well as your customers.