As a B2B marketing manager, how many times have you spent precious budget and effort to develop ads, website content or other marketing tools, only to have your company’s sales force create their own presentations, write off-the-cuff emails or draft proposals with no hint of established positioning? On the flip side, we bet you’ve heard salespeople groan at websites or beautiful brochures because they don’t support the selling process.
This lack of synergy in purpose and execution is usually the result of poor communication between two corporate disciplines — sales and marketing. It’s a disconnect with serious repercussions because it undermines your company’s ability to differentiate your products from the competition’s, to sell value over price and to provide consistent brand reinforcement.
Customer prospects are confused by inconsistencies between advertising brand image and the brand story the sales force presents to them face to face. So how can you achieve a healthier collaboration between sales and marketing?
Connect on customer needs
There are three things that drive revenue in a business: the marketing process, the selling process, and the buying process. Of these three, it is the buying process that ultimately determines whether your company will be successful — and it is controlled by the customer. Both marketing and sales have to align their processes with the way in which customers buy your products. In the bulk of the B2B world, buying decisions are based on the quality and quantity of information, the quality and timeliness of customer service, and the quality and price of the product.
In other words, a customer buys when all of the needs above have been met. What does this mean for your marketing communications program? It means you need to start by asking two basic questions:
- What does the customer need in order to be able to buy from our company?
- What does our sales force need so it can deliver on #1 above?
A successful marketing communications program will result from a shared understanding of your customers’ needs. By focusing on customers and their buying processes, sales and marketing can become much more aligned in their efforts to deliver what customers want.
Need help aligning your sales and marketing teams’ efforts? Contact your account manager or email Susan McPherson.