Sales and marketing alignment is vital for B2B companies that sell complex products to committees of decision makers over an extended timeframe. Unless sales and marketing are in sync, account-based initiatives are in dire jeopardy of falling flat.
For our Power Couple eBook, we conducted a worldwide study of over 3,500 sales professionals and 3,500 marketers about alignment and uncovered many negative outcomes when these teams fail to collaborate. Misalignment leads to lost opportunities, duplicate effort, and customer frustration.
Our findings further support the belief that sales and marketing must work in tandem to shepherd leads and opportunities across the finish line. But what precisely is it about sales and marketing integration that helps drive better results? Here are the seven greatest benefits of alignment and why they matter:
1. A Clearer Understanding of the Customer
Marketing and sales are charged with attracting, nurturing, and closing deals, so they need to be on the same page about who they need to reach. It’s much easier to create accurate buyer profiles when the teams work as one.
Different stakeholders are involved in the decision at different points. Knowing who to engage and when is critical to developing a story thread that carries across all stakeholders from beginning to end, enabling a smooth handoff between marketing and sales. It also helps when both marketing and sales understand what is most likely to influence buyers at various stages.
Plus, a clear and agreed-upon understanding of the customer promotes shared ownership of the customer experience. As a result, prospects are less likely to feel as though they are suffering the effects of a siloed organization that manifests in a fragmented, confusing engagement. In fact, 70% of the respondents in our research said sales and marketing collaboration delivers a better buying experience for the customer.
2. More Feedback from Customers
Both marketing and sales gather relevant knowledge about prospects as they interact with and observe them on their buying journeys. Cohesive, shared customer intelligence paves the way for higher conversion and win rates.
By sharing these insights about behaviors, preferences, interests, pains, and even opinions, both teams are positioned to better identify and engage the most promising potential customers. In fact, the more detailed the lead record, the more accurately the sales team can route leads – and the less time they spend trying to figure out which ones to prioritize.
3. Better Implementation of Customer Feedback
When marketing and sales work collaboratively, they are more likely to respect and respond to shared knowledge. Moreover, there’s a higher chance they’ve made it a priority to integrate their systems to share customer data. Enhanced access to customer data makes it easier for the right people to act when needed.
Say marketing updates a prospect’s record to indicate that a lead prefers being contacted via text message instead of by phone or email. Knowing this, the sales team can reach out appropriately and avoid alienating that prospect. Likewise, if a sales rep discovers that a late-stage prospect is actually nowhere near ready to purchase, they can easily send the lead back to marketing for further nurturing.
4. Better Support from Business Leaders
When the executive team sees the commitment from marketing and sales to coordinate their efforts, they will be motivated to help ensure the success of that alignment. This support can extend to everything from clear, ongoing communication about the importance of collaboration, to the dedication of resources to ensure and maintain it. Examples include initiatives to break down departmental silos, such as integrating all necessary tools and even modifying compensation plans to accurately reflect and reward the combined efforts.
5. Better Engagement Between Sales and Marketing
When marketing and sales work separately, each team executes its own activities without paying much attention to the other. This leads to redundant efforts and, sometimes, confusing experiences for prospects. It also makes it extremely difficult to pinpoint where exactly leads drop off along the customer journey.
On the other hand, when the two teams interact and brainstorm regularly, they can join forces to amplify the impacts of their efforts. Working together as a well-oiled machine, marketing and sales can launch campaigns designed for maximum impact, handle leads fluidly, and engage prospects in a way that wows potential buyers. Moreover, marketing and sales can respond with agility when market dynamics shift because of the synergy between the two groups.
6. A More Well-Defined Strategy
Organizations with aligned sales and marketing functions tend to be strategic and big-picture oriented. In other words, they get the long-term value. By planning for, promoting, and enabling alignment, the company amplifies the impact of both marketing and sales activities.
When sales and marketing rally around a big-picture view of how to generate revenue, they can work together to form and launch campaigns aimed at achieving that goal. Then, they can harness the wealth of insights and efficiencies yielded by this alignment to further refine and improve a high-level business strategy for growth.
7. Clearer Mapping of the Customer Journey
One of the biggest hurdles for B2B organizations is shedding their inside-out perspective to understand the purchase process from the buyer’s point of view. This is especially critical for any organizations adopting an account-based approach. Sales marketing alignment gets rid of the artificial funnel division between marketing and sales, and instead leads to a holistic view of the buyer journey from start to finish.
This mapping provides a much more realistic understanding of the prospect’s experience, reducing the risk of making the wrong assumptions about who is involved and in what ways from the buyer’s side. With an accurate view of the customer journey, marketing and sales can more confidently define and execute campaigns designed to trigger and increase engagement.
For more ways to help your sales and marketing teams take their relationship to the next level, download our eBook, The Power Couple.