The crevasse between Sales and Marketing is commonly visible across all types of companies. Some choose to ignore it at their own peril and those that take cognizance of it are still struggling to find ways to bridge the gap. Despite earnest efforts by some B2B organizations to integrate sales and marketing, the gap still remains. In previous posts I have talked about ways to bring lead generation, sales and CRM together.
In my opinion, even though sales and marketing teams may have started communicating more closely, the reason their combined effectiveness still falls short is because of a lack of vision and foresight. Companies can see that their customers are exposed to a better informed and highly interactive market. The changing marketing landscape requires organizations to be quick, nimble, yet sure-footed. This can only come from being proactive, from putting yourself in the customers’ shoes and being able to think like the competition. Inbound marketing must become a part of the overall strategic plan. A phenomenon that is yet to gather industry-wide momentum…
What steps can your B2B organization take to adapt to the changing marketing landscape?
- Communicate and help customers in their “independent” decision making – A recent survey of 1,900 B2B buyers by Corporate Executive Board’s Marketing Leadership Council shows that, “On average (and with little variation among industries) customers will contact a Sales rep when they independently completed about 60% of the purchasing decision process.” Now, if an organization is able to interact positively, albeit unobtrusively, at this stage where prospects are researching, conversing and forming preferences, the final buying decision is more likely to be made in its favour. Social technology platforms and inbound web conversion can be utilized here with great results.
- Offer valuable, relevant content to nurture quality leads – While it takes time, effort and money to generate original content that is meaningful to your target audiences, there is no doubt that it pays to invest in it. The majority of buyers (60% per the survey quoted above) are making the effort to research and find out all they can before making the purchasing decision. They know that a lot of what they see and hear and read out there is not relevant and a waste of their valuable time. So your initiatives to create and publish meaningful content will deliver results by making you look credible and stand out in the crowd.
- Anticipate, strategize and think outside the box – Easier said than done, right? True, and yet, definitely worth it! Understanding the psyche of your buyers and anticipating their behaviour can go a long way in helping you craft effective marketing strategies. Remember though, that being creative and innovative does not have to be outlandish or expensive. Old wine in a new bottle will still taste just as good to the discerning connoisseur who has sipped and swirled enough to pick the best!
Where in your organization do you see the gaps between sales and marketing? What are your thoughts on how to close in and make the most of integrated marketing?