Synergy. Collaboration. Interlock. Alignment.
These buzzwords are everywhere in the B2B industry these days, and for good reason. Organizations that have mastered alignment, especially between sales and marketing, experience benefits like higher win rates, better customer retention, and increased revenue growth, to name a few.
Aligning marketing goals to the organization’s sales strategy has never been more imperative, and fortunately for B2B CMOs, it’s now easier than ever. Video and messaging tools improve communication between teams, regardless of location; big data and cloud technology foster collaboration and increase visibility into organizational activities, content, and reporting; and marketing organizations now have access to data that matters to business goals. The barrier is all but shattered between sales and marketing, yet marketers are still finding themselves in the dark when it comes to attribution and quantifying marketing goals. Below are three ways CMOs can align marketing goals to the sales strategy in order to better support Sales, close more deals in less time, and measure Marketing’s contribution to revenue.
Understand Sales’ needs
Sales should be perceived as Marketing’s internal customer; if salespeople don’t have the resources and support they need to sell efficiently and effectively, Marketing cannot consider its goals met. CMOs and other marketing executives should meet regularly with SVPs of Sales to discuss sales goals, identify gaps in content offerings (for both internal and client-facing use), and ensure that content is resonating with buyers. For enterprise organizations where regular conversations like this are difficult, content analytics are helpful to monitor various reps’ and teams’ daily or weekly usage of sales materials. But qualitative feedback from Sales coupled with content analytics give CMOs a valuable and holistic view of Sales’ needs and whether Marketing is addressing those needs. It also helps address whether the lead scoring and content used to attract buyers matches Sales’ target accounts and buyers.
Track leads after the handoff to Sales
Marketing’s work is not done once qualified leads are handed over to salespeople, so while tracking the number of qualified leads passed to sales is valuable, it’s even more important to monitor lead behavior post-sales handoff. CMOs should help their teams gain visibility into how a lead interacts with sales throughout the entire buying process. This gives marketers a better understanding of both buyers’ and sellers’ needs, but more importantly, a better idea of where a lead drops out of the buying process. This focuses the content creation and distribution process so less deals are lost at different stages of the sales cycle. Tracking leads throughout the entire buying process also allows Marketing to measure its influence on won deals at various stages.
Get involved in activity-based enablement
In a perfect world, salespeople would spend every second of the workday with buyers and existing customers. But menial tasks and manual reporting responsibilities often get in the way, leaving reps frustrated and stressed about hitting quota. Marketing can align with the Sales strategy by getting involved with the sales organization’s activity-based enablement initiatives. This includes understanding the time reps spend looking for and creating client-facing materials, and minimizing that time by making it as easy as possible for reps to locate, use, personalize and share content. Reps should be able to employ contextual search when speaking with different clients, as well as have content served up to them based on the selling interaction at hand. CMOs can help this process by organizing content in a way that makes sense to sales, such as segmenting by role, industry, stage in sales cycle, and more, and working with SVPs of Sales to ensure that content is delivered in a simple, straightforward way to Sales.
Committing to alignment, especially at enterprise organizations, is no easy feat. Alignment isn’t a checklist item that can be achieved in a quarter, nor can it be implemented through a series of training sessions. Alignment is a mindset, and must be at the forefront of B2B CMO’s minds during goal setting, strategy planning, metrics reporting and everywhere in between. Taking the three steps above will prove Marketing’s dedication to aligning to the sales strategy, and effectively quantifying marketing’s contribution to revenue will ensure marketing executives a seat at the C-suite table.