Data doesn’t lie. And as the 2019 B2B Marketing Mix Report shows, the highest priority objective for B2B marketers in the next year is lead generation for sales teams. Yep, you read that right: marketers’ biggest goal is sales!
It may seem unusual for one team’s primary objective to relate to another team, but this demonstrates the increased overlap of responsibilities among marketing and sales. Marketing casts a wider net than sales: marketers make customers and prospects aware of a company by providing useful, easy-to-find content, while the sales team is responsible for turning those qualified prospects into customers.
Since the B2B sales cycle is changing and shortening to become more like the B2C sales cycle, sales professionals are hard-pressed to change their tactics to accommodate B2B customers’ new preferred sales experience. B2B customers now want a frictionless user experience with:
- a single source to find, consider and purchase products and services;
- a convenient and immediate buyer experience; and
- consistent support throughout their relationship with a company.
As a marketer, the best way to empower your sales team to sell more is to give them the tools to provide customers with this experience. So what are those tools?
A Single Source
Buyers want a single source to do their research, consider products and make their decision. Making your website as efficient as possible with easy ways to filter and categorize your products and services gives people a more direct way to find what they’re looking for and simplifies their experience. Think of the features of your product or service and how someone might be searching your site based on them. A common mistake companies make when designing a website is creating a sitemap based on their company’s internal nomenclature for products, instead of on how a new user will be searching.
As marketers, you can empower your sales team to sell more by creating a marketing experience that gets buyers to the right place. The education you provide through content should be digestible with simple calls-to-action. Rather than peppering an email with multiple CTAs and confusing the prospect on what do to next, feature just one button to a landing page to give people just one simple action that leads back to the single source you’ve established. Getting buyers to the right place responds both to your sales team’s need for leads and your customers’ needs for convenience and immediacy. Win-win!
Convenience & Immediacy
On that note, sales also needs to address the customers’ needs for convenience and immediacy. Customers no longer want to be sought out by a salesperson who wants to “pitch” their company without actually knowing their needs. People do research on their own these days and would rather ask a salesperson particular questions they have generated as a result of the research they’ve conducted. This is where conversational marketing becomes useful.
Conversational marketing tools like chatbots and the option to chat live with a sales representative gives prospects the chance to ask questions and get answers right away. When customer support and sales representatives are easily accessible to prospects and customers, this speeds the selling and upselling process along. This personalized way of answering questions also addresses the need for education and support throughout the buying process.
One of the most important parts of generating leads is following up: marketing and sales need to quickly interact with a prospect who has expressed interest. As a marketer, you create the means through which prospects express those interests by generating online forms and email lists. You’ve already optimized those forms and emails with simple CTAs and automated your processes so prospects receive marketing materials as soon as they request them. Now it’s time to make sure your sales team has established a standard operating procedure that has them following up on sales quickly to maintain the momentum you’ve created.
A Consistent Experience
Marketers use data to guide their actions, but the same data can contain useful insights for sales. Sharing insights within your company keeps all teams up-to-date with what your customers want. You can’t be successful if only one team is responding to customer preferences. This standardization across sales and marketing should also extend to materials. As a marketer, you’ve created a look, feel and tone for your company’s content, and it might seem strange or out of step if sales presentations, reports, and meeting minutes look, feel and sound completely different. The customer may even feel like they’re now communicating with a different company than they initially started interacting with. This also saves your sales team time in formatting and designing reports, which prevents your company from doing double work.
The last bit of advice to empower your sales team is to market them. Marketers are not only selling the products and services of their company, but also the experience of buying from their company. You can showcase individuals from your sales team to give prospects a brief outline of who they’ll be interacting with to make their buyer’s journey more predictable and to get them excited about the next step. Even simply saying “our sales team is made up of dedicated, passionate individuals committed to your success,” or “someone from the sales team will be in touch,” maintains momentum and primes leads.
As marketing and sales begin to overlap, it’s necessary for the two teams to collaborate. Sales teams want to sell more, but they need our help as marketers. Marketers play a vital role in priming and educating prospects and customers so that sales can turn those marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads and then into actual sales. The changing B2B buyer’s journey means the tools of marketing are more relevant than ever in sales. Learn more about how B2B is becoming like B2C in the newly released eBook, B2B Becoming B2C: The Changing Sales Cycle. It will explain more about the importance of creating a single buying source and offering convenience and immediacy and how providing a consistent experience with your company through ongoing education and support can make all the difference for a lead.
Are you interested in B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.