Collaboration. Alignment. Synergy. Call it what you want, but creating and selling a brand story in the digital age has raised the relationship bar between marketing and sales departments. Embracing that new level of teamwork, particularly among B2B organizations, is a work in progress.
“Global businesses continue to suffer from a seemingly unbridgeable divide between their marketing and sales teams—a gap which undermines two of the most important competencies necessary to generate demand, capture revenue, and gain competitive advantage,” stated a recent CMO Council report that stressed the importance of marketing and sales alignment.
What does that look like within B2B companies today? Here is what four B2B marketers told us:
Peter Isaacson, CMO of Demandbase, told CMO.com
In order for B2B organizations to be successful, sales and marketing departments must be aligned—otherwise it’s a broken system that will never reach its full revenue potential. Sales has traditionally been the focal point for enterprise-focused companies, but, according to Sirius Decisions, with 67 percent of buying processes done online, this indicates that the role of marketing in B2B is more important than ever. It’s not about generating leads—marketing needs to drive revenue. In the past, almost all marketers targeted individuals while sales focused on accounts, often leaving both departments talking past each other.
We are now seeing more and more innovative marketers embrace account-based marketing to focus on the highest value accounts that are most likely to buy. This has led to significantly improved alignment between sales and marketing; as the two teams share common goals, they target and close the same set of accounts.
Bob Marsh, CEO of LevelEleven, told CMO.com:
Today B2B organizations need to have more than sales and marketing alignment: They need the two to be fused. After all, the majority of the buying process starts before a prospect even has contact with a sales rep, indicating the growing power behind a company's marketing and branding efforts. But how can one reach operational harmony?
One of the best ways is creating real-time visibility, leaderboards, and collaboration around the marketing initiatives that will move the needle. This starts with leaders coming into agreement on which marketing efforts the sales team needs to focus on, based on what will have the greatest and most immediate impact. Maybe sales needs to help drive attendance toward the annual customer conference, or follow up more diligently on marketing leads from a certain campaign, for example. Then company leadership can build visibility and maybe even a little competition around those behaviors to keep the sales team focused and rallied around them. I like to think of it as launching a full-blown marketing campaign within the walls of your own company. Launching this idea with a few key initiatives will not only get sales and marketing working together, but optimize both teams efforts for bigger results.
Matt Rosenberg, SVP of marketing at 140 Proof, told CMO.com:
No two departments work together more closely than sales and marketing. It's as symbiotic as they come. Marketing creates the story, sales tells it, then sales tells marketing how the buyer is reacting to the story. Rinse, repeat. Good marketers get out into the world alongside salespeople; the best ones take a turn in the seller's role. And the best sellers know how to articulate market feedback to add value back into the marketer's world.
Matt Wise, CEO of HelloWorld, told CMO.com:
Marketing automation is supercharging the integration between sales and marketing organizations. The marriage of real-time marketing technology is becoming intertwined with salesforce management software, allowing well-integrated teams to outperform legacy teams.