The Importance of Collaboration in the Modern B2B World
If you’ve spent time in the B2B world recently, you may have noticed a new trend.
And I’m not talking ChatGPT or VR.
Sales and marketing teams are finally finding ways to become better aligned and work more closely together.
It’s long overdue, too.
With better alignment, team members can work towards the same goals and boost organizational efficiencies – ultimately leading to more closed-won business.
Historically – Sales and Marketing haven’t really worked well together.
“We gave you leads!” exclaims Marketing. “Why can’t you close the deals?”
“Well,” Sales responds…
“The leads you sent us were horrible! They were just tire-kickers with no interest.”
And that fight continues until the business folds or the world stops spinning. Whichever comes first.
The main reason for the contention is that Sales and Marketing typically have their own separate goals.
Marketing is usually focused on brand building and lead generation. They have a long-term vision. And most marketers love trial and error. Especially when it comes to emerging trends or technology – to see if there’s a way for something new to impact the company in a positive way.
For sales, time is money. Most salespeople (especially ones that are well-seasoned or formerly trained) are very results-driven. “Will this effort get me appointments?” is their primary mindset.
They’re often aloof to the inner workings of marketing, especially the website’s backend, the behind-the-scenes management of software, or all that goes into content development.
The fastest route between two points is a straight line, and working out the kinks between the two teams can bring positive change.
In particular, it can help:
Here are a few recommendations on how to better unify the two teams.
The most important way to promote alignment is through transparency and regular communication.
That includes from beginning to end – strategic planning all the way through to reporting.
There also must be a feedback loop, meaning Sales should provide Marketing with insight into the quality of leads, what drove those opportunities, the status of opportunities, the size of deals, and more. And Marketing should allow Sales to support their efforts, too.
Here are a few examples of ways to develop more transparency and communication across departments:
Plan ongoing scheduled monthly meetings, where teams join together to review dashboards, goal statutes, and milestones, talk through upcoming promotions, events, and offers, and map out a plan to tag-team upcoming projects.
50-70% of a buyer’s research is done before contacting a brand. Therefore, one could argue that marketing is equally as responsible as sales (if not more) for helping secure a deal.
This truly begs the importance of understanding one’s customers.
For the marketing team, customer insight helps with important decisions: What social media sites to invest in? What targeting can be done within advertising networks? How to organize a website layout? What style, voice, and messaging do you focus on with your content?
Sales can also benefit from the data. Pacing, pricing, and packaging can all reflect the buyer’s needs.
Both Marketing and Sales should develop buyer personas profiles.
By building these profiles together, all team members can weigh in on not only the demographics of buyers but also what goes into their buying processes.
Forrester Research found that highly aligned companies grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable.
That alignment certainly comes from better teamwork, but it also comes from unified systems.
There are many software available to help both marketers and salespeople do their jobs more efficiently. Start by identifying what tools are needed and how both teams can learn and embrace them as one.
Here are some examples:
Reporting: Both teams need to report on results. By building dashboards in one single system, there’s a greater appreciation for each others’ work and efforts. Use a business intelligence tool like Google Looker Studio, that allows you to integrate with other third-party reports and bring multiple data sets into one interface. Doing so makes it easier for all involved to quickly and easily revisit numbers and hold team members accountable.
Marketing’s main responsibility is still to generate awareness, interest, and demand for a brand and its products. Sales’ main responsibility is still to forecast, prospect, work deals, and close business.
In silos, major holes can appear that lead to inefficiencies and lost opportunities.
With better alignment, efficiencies are added, sales cycles are shortened, and there’s less churn and more closed deals.
What’s the investment?
Patience, collaboration, better tools, and an agreement that both teams will work together to make a greater impact on the business.
You may have heard the term “Smarketing.”
It was coined to describe cohesion between the Sales and Marketing departments.
Organizations that embrace “smarketing” get better results.
It’s not easy. But it’s doable.