The changes in purchase processes and buying behaviors have now come to the B2B segment. Up to 60% of the B2B buyer´s journey is happening on-line. Your customers have more and more information and competence before they finally contact a salesperson to have a direct dialogue. To succeed in the marketplace today, integration of marketing and sales operations is a prerequisite.
Make your sales and marketing to work seamlessly to close more business
The maxim that marketing and sales need to come closer and cooperate more tightly, rings true for most of us. At the same time, many companies that we meet still have some work to do to make it happen. B2B companies often excel in their respective disciplines but struggle to integrate their operations across the enterprise. Marketing and Sales often work side-by-side with unclear common goals and different agendas. However, tighter collaboration will not mean that the two traditional roles of marketers and sellers should become one.
Rather, sales and marketing integration is a long-term strategy. According to the CMO's Agenda report, Aberdeen Group found that by successfully integrating marketing and sales, you can:
Generate 32% higher income
Retain 36% more customers
Achieve 38% higher win rates
The research also found that a high degree of alignment between marketing and sales generates higher brand awareness and larger average deal size.
Similarly, Sirius Decisions found that companies that align sales and marketing teams achieve 24% faster growth rates and 27% faster profit growth over a year period.
60% of the buyer´s journey happens on-line
The old sales techniques no longer work as much of the purchase process is happening online. The average buyer doesn´t contact (or wish to be contacted by) vendors until they’re 60% through the buying process. If the first part of the buying journey is spent seeking information and collecting data on the internet, it simply means your customers have much more information and competence before they contact a salesperson.
This means that value added content in digital channels will create more interest and build trust faster, thus becomes increasingly more important. Marketing and sales need to align around and agree on story and messages to build a conjoined buyer experience. Failure to align thus leads to wasted budget and resources as up to 50-70% of B2B content is not being used or re-used.
Sales and marketing must operate in parallel, not serial, fashion
Today most sales and marketing teams are organized in serial fashion: Marketing generate and nurture demand digitally, early in the buying process, before handing off the most qualified leads to sales.
However, the B2B buying behavior is generally not amenable to a linear process where customers move from one stage to the next in a predictable way. Rather, the process overlap as customers revisit each of the stages at least one time. They use both digital and in-person channels in the buying stages simultaneously to complete the buying job.
As a result, in today’s world of B2B buying, there is no handoff from marketing to sales, or digital to in-person. It’s parallel processes, not a serial ones.
The sales pipeline becomes an integrated marketing and sales pipeline
With this new buying behavior, the power balance shift from the vendor to the customer. The customer decides when to be contacted and where. The traditional salesforce must change their ways of selling and bring more added value to the digital or physical meeting with the customer.
Now, rather than a simple sales-driven pipeline as many used to have, it’s now more of an integrated marketing and sales process. The result will be more leads converted into a sale.
Shift your focus towards an integrated marketing and sales operations
The main conclusion is that marketing and sales teams should go hand in hand as one operation to attract, inform, win and retain customers. Marketing and sales integration is about finding common goals and agreeing upon a conjoined content plan, a working process and ways to cooperate to reach the goals. Another cornerstone to achieve a successful integration is to use integrated sales and marketing systems and tools (CRM- and Marketing automation programs).
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