Generating revenue is a team effort. Sales departments close the deals that allow B2B technology companies to grow, while the marketing department gathers leads and creates the tools salespeople need.
In theory, it’s a perfect system—but sales and marketing departments often approach revenue generation from different angles. Confusion and miscommunication between the departments can erode morale and slow the company’s growth.
Highly-aligned organizations grow by an average of 32 percent each year. At the same time, companies with low alignment decrease by about 7 percent. To ensure B2B technology sales and company growth, marketing executives must work to integrate marketing and sales efforts.
No one wants to be the boss who insists on corporate culture change but fails to make it happen. Thankfully, sales enablement doesn’t mean you have to pin down every detail. You can turn things around for both departments by tweaking a few things on the marketing side.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Focus on providing the best tools
Marketing departments are the content creators, and there are oh-so-many ways to approach content. From white papers and landing pages to blog posts and infographics, marketing focuses on getting your unique B2B technology company’s brand out where customers can find you and make a connection.
Most of the marketing content will probably be produced in-house. A B2B marketing agency can help with more difficult pieces, such as case studies for decision makers in client companies.
Keep the marketing content in a centralized location where it’s easy for salespeople to access, and make sure it’s up to date. This will prevent salespeople from using old information that makes them look bad in front of customers.
2. Run a full content audit
In order to be effective, you’ll need to find out from the sales department which tools they use the most. Videos are often at the top of the list. If your department isn’t able to create high quality photos or videos, consider contracting with a B2B technology marketing agency to produce those pieces.
Ask about the tone and quality of the work, too. Find out if there is anything you can add to the sales arsenal, such as email templates, landing pages or email sequences for a sales pipeline.
Refine your efforts to meet the needs of the sales team. If you can fill gaps and offer tools with an inspirational or emotional appeal, you’ll help salespeople close those deals.
3. Make data an asset that salespeople can use
Sales can be a demanding, fast-paced, high-pressured career choice that leaves salespeople very little time to delve deep into the content you create. When it comes to sharing data, the best thing you can do is make it simple and concise.
Create a dashboard showing the metrics and key performance indicators that will be the most useful to them. Display data in charts, graphs or infographics that are both interesting and easy to read.
Simplifying the information sent to the sales department can prevent the too-much-information overload that frustrates salespeople, causes misunderstandings and negatively impacts the alignment between sales and marketing.
4. Use the same software systems
To create a smooth flow of information, do what you can to promote using the same software. This can ease the transition of a lead from the marketing department to the sales department and beyond. Other information can be passed on more easily, too, which can prevent miscommunications between departments.
5. Make contract negotiation easy
Among other content, marketing departments produce promotions and pricing pages. These should be kept up to date so that when a salesperson closes a deal, the customer isn’t surprised by a change in the price or terms.
Likewise, if there are frequent contract negotiations, it can be helpful to create a library of acceptable revisions that salespeople can use to create a better deal for their customers and complete the sales. This speeds up the process because they won’t need to go back to the marketing department for new information or tools every time they want to tweak a deal.
6. Use inbound marketing to send highly-qualified leads into the sales funnel
Not all leads are converted to customers, and it can be frustrating for salespeople to work with leads that aren’t really interested in what your company has to offer.
You can help bring in high-quality leads using linked content. Inbound marketing techniques like this can hook businesses that will be intrigued by your products and your willingness to provide answers. These high-quality leads are more likely to become customers and make your sales team’s work more enjoyable.
by Perry Nalevka on August 09, 2018
CEO of Penguin Strategies