Businesses today compete on customer experience. Every touchpoint you have with the customer in their journey – including the initial sale – is an opportunity to improve and add value to that experience and build a closer relationship. Marketing and sales teams both play a major role in the collection and management of insights to optimize the customer journey, and leveraging these learnings can make the difference between closing a sale and losing a potential customer. Are you setting your teams up for success or failure?
The Downside of Misalignment
Marketing and sales departments are often at odds with each other, but for the greater good of the business and the ultimate bottom line, they really shouldn’t be. Alignment of these teams – now commonly referred to as “smarketing” – has been proven to deliver a 32% increase in revenue and a 36% rise in customer retention rates. However, only 8% of companies believe they have tight alignment between marketing and sales, and B2B organizations where sales and marketing are not working together earn a measly 7% year-over-year growth, as noted in a 2011 study from the Aberdeen Group.
Looking beyond yearly growth, the benefits you’ll reap with this approach include:
Let’s take a look at the adoption of this trend and what it means for the future of your business.
The Market Demands More Marketing
The B2B industry has flourished in recent years, and one theory as to why relates to the influx of marketers in the workforce. As new competitors enter an aggressive marketplace, it’s become more challenging to win over customers on price alone. Customers today are actually willing to pay more for a company that offers a great experience, which always begins with a great purchase experience.
Marketing teams plays a major role in improving the sales process, which is part of the reason why companies are increasing investment in this area. A recent survey of CMOs noted that marketing spends in 2020 will swell to nearly 10% of overall corporate budgets. B2B organizations want to see substantial returns to justify this cost, which means that sales and marketing teams must do a better job of planning, measuring, and communicating to deliver additional bang for the buck.
Marketing and sales each play a distinct role, though it’s necessary they operate complementary to one another. It’s important to understand each department’s responsibilities to know how they can best work together to advance customers through the customer journey experience (CJX). At a very high level, sales focuses on securing, retaining, and advancing the customer today, whereas marketing plans and executes strategies focused on future customers and closing gaps in the current CJX.
On a more tactical level, marketing is responsible for collecting and employing customer insights throughout the CJX to optimize valuable inbound lead generation tactics such as landing pages, social media posts, email newsletters, content marketing, and search engine optimization. They can identify where prospects commonly drop out of the sales cycle and develop strategies to improve the process, while also retaining and re-engaging current customers.
On the other hand, sales focuses on generating brand new leads, closing qualified leads and upselling and cross-selling existing customers. The data-driven forecasting and planning abilities of marketing combined with sales’ knowledge of real-time customer needs and feedback makes it abundantly clear that these two departments should be working together.
Smarketing provides B2B organizations with a holistic picture of the sales lifecycle and helps them attack leads much more intelligently. Thanks to this approach, there will be regular meetings, shared systems and technologies, and frequent communication to maintain an open dialogue between the teams. Without this clarity, organizations could lose control of the sales process once marketing passes the lead onto the next step.
Now this all sounds great, and you’re probably anxious to see the impact smarketing can have on your own business. However, companies may start with marketing and sales teams aligned and somewhere down the line, things go awry. Misalignment happens due to a scarcity of knowledge and understanding around roles and responsibilities and a lack of commitment. Don’t let that happen – check out this blog post that recommends specific actions you can take to properly align your sales and marketing teams, deliver an experience that customers rave about, and maximize your revenue opportunity.
As time passes, customer-centric companies will continue to win in the marketplace. Smarketing is just one of many strategies you can use to deliver a better CJX. With more than 20 years of experience, ServiceSource helps organizations around the globe transform their sales operations and put the customer first. Reach out today to learn more about our Inside Sales solution and let our expertise power your revenue growth in the coming year.