Today’s sales and marketing teams are faced with growing demands from executive buyers to demonstrate business value in order to even be considered for selection. But they don’t seem to be making the cut. According to a study by Forrester, executive buyers find only 19% of their meetings with salespeople to be valuable, and 65% of decision-makers agree that much of the collateral that they receive from salespeople is useless. If the odds are so stacked against sales and marketing, how can they hope to stand out from the clutter to increase their win rates?
Below are three steps to take to ensure that the both sales and marketing can deliver value:
Develop buyer personas
According to Aberdeen, only 35% of marketers are using buyer personas to guide their content creation. However, creating buyer personas can prove extremely useful not only for marketers, but for sales teams as well. Marketing can create buyer personas through customer interviews, feedback from the sales team, and more. Personas detail the pains that your ideal customers experience. Marketers can use this information to create specific content that addresses these pains—this positions the company as a thought leader in the industry. Sales reps can use the same information to tailor conversations that are relevant to the buyer and get the buyer talking about additional, broader pains.
Analyze the buyer’s journey
The traditional buyer’s journey involves three stages: problem awareness, vendor consideration, and purchase decision. In order to effectively deliver value, sales and marketing teams must analyze this process and determine how they can align their sales and content creation processes to it. At each stage, where do buyers look for information? What kind of information would be helpful to a buyer in each stage? Is there content to support each stage in the buying process? Where are the gaps? One of the easiest ways to turn off an interested buyer is to send over content regarding problem identification when the buyer is looking for relevant case studies or a vendor comparison guide. By asking these questions, marketers can further develop content to address each stage and sales reps can use this content to help buyers along the journey. Having an arsenal of stage-specific content also equips sales reps with the collateral they need to respond to unconventional journeys. The modern buyer’s journey is no longer a set-in-stone progression of events—with the increasing number of ways for buyers to obtain product information and interact with companies, the buyer’s journey can start at any stage. It’s important for sales and marketing to work together to understand what kind of information the buyer has regardless of the buyer’s unique journey so that reps are always prepared.
Communicate with each other
Forrester research indicates that 85% of marketers say the content they produce is not effective at delivering business value. By establishing a cadence of sales and marketing alignment meetings and establishing open lines of communication, marketers can lower this staggering statistic. Reps can provide feedback on existing pieces of collateral and offer suggestions—based on field experience and customer feedback—for future content. According to sales’ feedback, marketing knows which types of content resonate with buyers the most and can eliminate ineffective content. This feedback also affords marketing the ability to focus only on valuable content. With more relevant content, sales reps are better equipped to provide executive buyers with valuable content, leading to more engaging and productive conversations.
These three steps have a similar theme: they are focused on the buyer. The key to developing effective content and delivering value is buyer-centricity. If sales and marketing can adjust their processes to focus on solving buyers’ problems with personalization, they are sure to deliver value and increase win rates.