Win Win Strategy

B2B Marketers: How to be Best Friends with Sales Colleagues

Okay. I get that the title of this article is a little ambitious. However, there are things B2B marketers can do to achieve better alignment with their sales counterparts – leading to not only better results for the company, but also to better professional and personal relationships. It is all about achieving alignment, in terms of goals, activities, reporting, communications, and so forth.

The first step in becoming valuable to the sales department is to figure out what they want. The following graphic comes Top Five Things Sales Wantsfrom a January 17, 2018 David Dodd article in Business to Community, titled What Sales Needs From Marketing.  

Fortunately, effective B2B marketers can address all five of these issues in a way that makes the sales team happy, and more prosperous.

Better messaging is ranked number one because lousy messaging is a death knell to the sales process. You have to clearly articulate what your company does and how a buyer will benefit, or that prospect will never show up in your sales pipeline. The last thing you want is for sales reps to be articulating a different value proposition than what you share in your marketing materials.

More qualified leads is addressed by a lead-to-revenue plan that delivers the right number of inquiries – plus a plan to convert them through each phase of the buyer’s journey. The result: better metrics at every stage of the process.

Better marketing material is achieved with a content plan that maps your content delivery against what will be most helpful at each phase of the buyer’s journey.

More case studies and testimonials is a need of almost all B2B companies. Yes, it is tough to get agreement from customers to sing your praises but the effort you put in this area will reap dividends.

Vertical and segment targeting is a way to leverage your experience in one segment to enter a new segment in a way that’s impactful and uses the appropriate resources the appropriate way to gain traction. This means your messaging and lead generation strategies have to hit prospects in this segment as close to the way they explore options and buy as possible.

The Alignment Formula

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If we were to state this in a formula, it would be: Better messaging + more qualified leads + quality marketing material + case studies and testimonials + vertical targeting = more revenue and happier sales colleagues. This is a big win for all concerned and most important, you (as a B2B marketer) are aligning your activities and deliverables around what the sales department perceives as most valuable. Relationships are on a more collegial footing and everyone feels they are working together to realize the best outcomes available.

By the way, while my company’s marketplace experience suggests that alignment is getting better between sales and marketing, there was one disturbing statistic in Dodd’s article: “86% of marketing respondents agreed that “marketing in our company is an effective investment of the company’s resources.” Only 54% of the sales respondents agreed with that statement, a gap of 32 percentage points.” All of us B2B marketers need to become so important to driving revenue (and seen as doing this), that marketing is viewed as an investment, not an expense.

If you are interested in learning more about sales and marketing alignment, feel free to download my whitepaper titled Bridging the Gap between Sales and Marketing.

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Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan has 25 years of marketing, technology, and senior management experience. As both a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.
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One comment

  • Elise Ziehm January 23, 2018   Reply →

    Sales and marketing…can’t they just get along? Chris, your assessment of how to better align marketing and sales is very enlightening. I particularly was drawn to your points about case studies and testimonials. It is sort of a Catch-22: Potential buyers want to know in advance your capabilities and the only way to prove these skills is to have had actual clients. But of course, if no one will give you a chance, so to say, it is awfully difficult to “prove it.”

    And as you mentioned, just because you have a happy and satisfied customer, doesn’t mean they desire to stand on top of a building and share it with the world. And, unfortunately, reviews are not always trusted by some. In some instances, the testimonial seems to be overly enthusiastic or overdoes it in dumping on the company. So that is why time spent developing these pieces of content can be so beneficial. You get to revisit these individual examples of success and dig deep into your entire relationship with the customer.

    Focusing on case studies is also important as a way to add to your content marketing plan. You have now provided your sales team with additional ammo to serve potential customers throughout their entire decision and buying journey. Your case studies serve as guidebooks for buyers to see where they are in their business and you can present them with options to choose and steps to take before it is too late.

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