Some things just naturally go together, like peanut butter & jelly, Bonnie and Clyde, and bourbon & more bourbon. Sales and marketing are one of those things.
Unfortunately, in most companies, sales and marketing departments aren’t always on the same page when it comes to communicating with the customer. They fight over the quality of the leads; they question each other’s skills, and they can’t seem to agree on the right way to engage customers. But, as countless studies have shown, sales and marketing alignment can increase revenues by 32%.
It’s no longer a question of if sales and marketing should work together, but how this lack of alignment can hurt your bottom line.
The Sales Process Has Changed. Have You?
The Internet has changed the way people research and buy products. It is estimated that more than 90% of the purchasing process is now completed before customers even reach out to a company’s sales department. If they have a question, they can simply Google the answer and receive it from sources they trust and believe.
As a result, salespeople no longer have the same control in the buying process. The marketing department, on the other hand, now plays the same role as sales in the acquisition of new customers and has a major influence on the sales funnel.
How Can Marketing Help Sales Get New Customers?
The key to sales and marketing alignment is for the marketing department to understand the sales funnel, a concept which sums up the three stages in every buying process: awareness, consideration, and decision.
People at the awareness stage are unqualified leads who are just becoming knowledgeable of a problem. A buyer in the consideration stage has determined the problem and is now looking for a solution. They want to make sure that your brand can be trusted. After carefully examining your products, the customer decided that buying from you is the smartest thing to do.
The role of the marketing team is to collect insight into the customer's’ needs and expectations and pass the information onto the sales team. They need to make sure that the sales department will send the right message to the right customers and at the right stage in the buying process. For instance, you wouldn’t want reps pouncing on a lead in the awareness stage. They are only looking for information, so they should point them toward relevant resources rather than selling to them.
How Can Sales Help Marketing Get New Customers?
Just as the Internet has changed the buyers' journey, it's also changed the rules of doing business. A plethora of tools and technologies now allow any company to engage with a global audience. But, that doesn’t mean that the marketing department can’t learn a lot about how to get more satisfied customers in less time from the sales department. Salespeople are great at finding and connecting with qualified prospective buyers.
Sales can help the marketing department identify quality leads and improve their lead generation process. For instance, they can tell the marketing team if they need to refine their messaging or if the leads were satisfied with the information they found at each stage of the funnel. Sales and marketing alignment is also a great way to spot unqualified leads that passed as qualified.
Ending the feud between the sales and marketing departments will take time, but ultimately it’s worth the effort. We're big believers that inbound marketing can play a vital role in helping bridge the sales & marketing gap. When sales and marketing work together, they are better prepared to meet the changing needs of your customers and help your business grow.