In world-class organizations, the days of functional sales and marketing silos are through. Self-informed buyers, stretched-out sales cycles, complex purchasing hierarchies, and products evolving into solutions are all dictating a new paradigm.
What’s the new model for tighter alignment through sales enablement? What exactly are leading organizations doing to exceed sales quotas, lower marketing costs, and become dominant players in their markets?
Instead of a singular model, what’s happening is an evolution beyond basic marketing and sales interdependence. We’re rapidly approaching a seamless sales-marketing continuum. Vanguard organizations are already integrating both functions into one revenue-generating department. The extent to which you do this will likely determine your company’s competitive standing. Consider these ideas as you envision your leadership role in creating a more aligned and sales-enabled organization:
1. Marketing and Sales Create a Customer-Centric Culture
When your sales and marketing teams are at odds, buyers get exasperated. In a customer-centric culture, sales and marketing leaders cross over. No, not by communicating with the dead, but by working across old organizational boundaries and reporting levels. Leaders come to a consensus on common performance metrics, performance targets, and an asset management plan that always gets the customer personalized, pertinent information that advances the process toward closing.
2. Sales Becomes Marketing’s Customer
In a sales enabled organization, marketing views sales as its customer, not its partner. Marketers know the sales leaders and top performers they serve as unique individuals with distinct messaging needs. They work closely to avoid producing cookie-cutter programs that don’t deliver personalized value for the prospect. In this linear relationship, a respect for sales is cultivated, as marketing – sales parallels the sales – customer relationship.
3. Marketing Generates Customer Intelligence
Sales-enabled marketing is highly attuned to the target customer and provides sales with fundamental intelligence including segments, personas, needs, pain points, and selling opportunities. Marketing delivers dynamic reports showing how customer organizations are structured, how they engage with the brand, and what activities are linked to sales opportunities. Finally, marketers – not sales representatives – devise solutions and prepare sales to speak to those solutions.
4. Sales Guides Nurture Stream Marketing
Inversely, as customer solutions are generated for sales, now sales reports back to marketing on its progress. Sales representatives proactively guide nurture stream development for more specific intervals during the sales process to ensure maximum value for the customer.
5. Marketing Delivers Relevant and Timely Content
Enriched by the steps above, marketing communications are now tied closely to sales solutions. They’re less self-serving and more informative. They’re personalized to challenge prospects to think about their own roles in incorporating your solutions. Sales representatives now engage in insightful dialogues, differentiating your solutions not just by their features, but by how well the customer can envision their successful application. Content formats are varied to escalate engagement, with a mix of reports, case studies, white papers, webinars, and even videos.
6. Sales Responds Immediately to Marketing Engagement
With each successive marketing contact, agreed-upon customer actions trigger an immediate and specific sales call or visit. Timely, relevant conversations lead to value-added relationships. It’s the quality of your relationships at this point that best correlates to sales conversions and customer retention.
7. Marketing Supports Sales Through Closing
We’ve come a long way from marketing handing leads off to sales. Alignment is continuous throughout the sales cycle, and culminates in highly relevant, powerful sales support at closing.
The sense of peak efficiency and accomplishment after each sale is now shared by marketing and sales, or, what has evolved into your aligned revenue-generating department.