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Why Sales and Marketing MUST Align
Let’s talk about a sales and marketing problem that most companies have been struggling with for years. I’m not talking about lead generation, market share, or customer retention, although it affects each of those things and more. I’m talking about the chasm that separates sales and marketing.
Take a look at a typical day in the life of both sales and marketing to see if you can relate…
A day in the life of a marketer
A marketer works hard to generate leads for his sales team. He optimizes conversion opportunities across his company’s website, delivers email campaigns, creates landing pages and delivers valuable gated content. Her work generates a steady stream of leads, which she immediately passes on to the sales team. Because, after all, more leads are better, right?
Our marketers work hard every day to create valuable marketing content and sales support content. He sends emails to the sales team to notify them as each new piece of content is finalized. He even uploads each new item to the company’s Dropbox account so everyone can access it.
Ah, sweet success!
But not for long…
His blood boiled when he found out his sales reps weren’t looking at the leads they were generating. He cringes with frustration when he learns that most of the sales team is somehow clueless about most of the content he creates. How is that possible?
Marketing feels undervalued and overlooked.
A day in the life of a sales rep
On the other side of the Grand Sales and Marketing Canyon, a sales representative spends his day responding to urgent prospect requests, traveling from meeting to meeting, communicating with customers, responding to unexpected changes with buyers – his is a life of constant chaos and change. .
He often needs content to respond to the immediate needs of his prospects. However, this leads to frustration as the materials he has access to are not the materials he needs. They are old or – worse yet – they don’t even seem to exist. This means he often creates content on the spot. This time he just doesn’t need it. He doesn’t understand why marketing doesn’t produce the content he needs.
To top it off, he receives constant notifications from marketing about new leads to follow up on, stressing his already stressful day. He doesn’t have time to stay on top of communicating with his own prospects, let alone a list of new leads from marketing. Also, marketing leads never seem qualified and following up with them always seems like a waste of time.
Sales feel misunderstood and unsupported by marketing.
Sound familiar? Yes, I thought so.
Unfortunately, this situation is incredibly common. Marketers are not alone in feeling undervalued and overlooked. In fact, up to 80% of marketing leads will never be acted upon by sales. And according to the American Marketing Association, 90% of sales materials aren’t actually used in sales.
Sales reps, too, are justified in their frustration. The CMO Council found that instead of selling, sales people spend more than 40% of their time creating their own messaging and tools. Also, according to HubSpot, only 27% of leads sent to sales through marketing are qualified in the first place.
Pretty sad statistics, isn’t it? So why is this happening? The chasm I mentioned earlier is between sales and marketing. These two groups are disconnected in a big way and it is affecting the companies they work for.
Time to close this gap and align sales and marketing once and for all. Although you will probably agree, you may not fully understand why It is very important or what you can do about it.
Why sales and marketing must be integrated
Reason #1: Your customers see it
According to IDC, nearly 57% of customers feel that salespeople are either poorly prepared or not at all prepared for the initial meeting.
Could it be that these sales reps didn’t have the resources to properly prepare for these initial meetings? After all, these meetings with potential customers are quite important for sales representatives – they are key milestones in the sales process! The vast majority of sales reps must be want They need to be prepared so that they can be as successful as possible. They did not have the necessary materials to adequately prepare.
Sales reps need content to effectively engage prospects and close sales. But just any content won’t do. They need content that speaks directly to their needs, challenges and prospects’ preferences And they need to be able to access the most current versions of it whenever they need it.
what do you do
Take the first step toward sales and marketing alignment and speak directly with sales representatives. Work to clearly understand the challenges they face throughout the sales process. Ask them about gaps they see in your marketing materials. Try to understand how they need to access content and when and where they need it most. Try to find out what marketing support worked and what didn’t – and why. Listen to their feedback and list ways to serve your sales reps better
One technique I like to use is asking sales reps to write down questions they often get from prospects. Then, use this list of FAQs as a list of content you can create to directly support sales reps the next time they encounter this type of inquiry.
The key way here is that marketers can take the first step toward sales and marketing alignment by starting a simple conversation with sales reps. Just ask what they need and create a way to provide it.
Cause #2: Lead overload
When sales and marketing are not aligned, inefficiencies are bound to occur. Like the examples given above, chances are pretty good that marketing is delivering leads that sales will never touch. With the growing adoption of marketing automation platforms and their ability to help marketers more than ever before, marketers are able to generate tons of leads. Great. What’s not so great is when they just pass them all along on sale.
Why is this such a problem? When sales reps are given more leads than they can physically follow up on, they get overwhelmed… and those leads are ignored. Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re trying to reach a lead generation goal of 30 leads per rep per week. Sounds good! That is, until you find out that each rep typically has about two hours per week to follow up with leads, and each lead typically requires about 20 minutes of follow up time. You now realize that each rep only has the ability to follow up on six leads per week. You are working hard to send them 30.
See the problem here? In this scenario, you send 24 more leads than you can physically handle. Per. single week
What you thought was great marketing success is actually overloading sales. And it was leading to neglected lead.
what do you do
As briefly mentioned in the previous example, one of the first steps in solving this problem is to speak directly with your sales reps and sales leads to understand the realistic number of leads each rep can follow up with each week. Then adjust the number of leads you deliver accordingly.
This doesn’t mean you’re trying to generate fewer leads. Absolutely not. Instead, it means you need to nurture them and better qualify them before handing them over to sales.
More work for marketing? Probably. But wouldn’t it be worth it if your work was actually used? By nurturing leads before they are passed on to sales, you increase the likelihood that they will actually become customers.
On average, according to a Demand General report nurtured leads increase sales opportunities by 20% compared to non-nurtured leads. What’s more, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more leads that are actually sales-ready. Even better – they generate these leads at a third of the cost of companies that aren’t so great at lead nurturing.
Invest some time to better understand each rep’s ability to follow up on sales and leads. Then refine your lead nurturing process to improve quality and rethink the amount of leads you convert into sales.
Reason #3: Lost revenue
When sales reps spend time researching or creating content, it not only duplicates marketing efforts, it also takes them away from important sales opportunities. And those wasted opportunities add up to wasted income—lots of it.
Consider this: A study by IDC found that a company could realize just 60 minutes of prep time per sales rep per week. extra Revenue generation of $300,000 or more per representative! In a company with just 10 bar reps, that’s $3 million per year. If you do that 100 times, that’s a staggering $300MM per year.
If just 60 minutes of prep time can translate into $300,000 in revenue, imagine how much potential revenue is being lost in your organization because sales reps struggle to find the content they need.
what do you do
Clean up the mess. As you work to build a better relationship with your sales reps and establish more frequent, meaningful communication, look for ways to reduce clutter in both of your lives.
Often, technology can help here. There are apps available today to help manage content. Anything from Google Drive to Basecamp, Dropbox to Salesforce – any number of tools can serve as a virtual marketing library for your content. Each is available anywhere and on any device with an internet connection so sales reps will have no problem getting the content they need whenever they need it.
If you commit to creating the most recent versions of the content available in this marketing library, ask your sales reps to make a commitment as well. Ask them to retrieve these up-to-date versions of the content whenever they need to use it – instead of using old content stored elsewhere or creating their own.
Close the gap between sales and marketing. Reach out to sales to better understand their challenges and needs. Work together to better serve your customers. Sure, it will improve your business and possibly increase revenue, but will it also improve your workplace happiness, and can you really put a price on that?
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