Today’s buyer wields more power than ever before. They enjoy access to more information and are better informed about your company and products. Not only this, but they are more knowledgeable than ever before because they spend more time doing self-guided research.
The art of the cold call is dead to today’s buyer – they have fortressed themselves from intrusive sales tactics. They expect salespeople to have some knowledge of what they are interested in, and looking for.
It’s amazing to think that more than half of buying decisions are made before a sales team even gets involved. However, that doesn’t mean sales can step back and let marketing handle it all on their own. In order to win the hearts of buyers, sales and marketing must work hand in hand.
Sales and marketing learn to play nice
In the business world, marketing professionals and salespeople often struggle to collaborate or agree on anything. They question each other’s methods and love to play the blame game around the quantity and quality of leads versus the timely and professional follow-up on those leads. That doesn’t need to be the case. In fact, there’s a relatively simple solution to get everyone on the same page. The key is a new hybrid model that blends marketing and sales.
What is ‘hybrid’?
In science, hybrid refers to anything derived from heterogeneous sources, or composed of elements of different or incongruous kinds.
That simply means creating something by combining two different elements. This is what marketers and sales professionals must do. It’s time to blur the lines separating these two functions and have them learn from the other’s strengths.
The convergence of sales and marketing
So how does this merger of sales and marketing manifest itself? Well for one, sales professionals these days have to develop super-human senses. They must be tuned in to social channels, email opens, website visits and any other potential buying signals.
Sounds an awful lot like marketing, doesn’t it? Your potential buyers are a powerful force and they won’t wait around for you. That means marketing and sales teams have a very short window when it comes to responding to engagement. Potential buyers will visit a website, download content, and move on. Their interaction is recorded by marketing and passed on to sales.
The problem is that currently this process takes a couple of days…or longer! Would you still be interested in purchasing something from a department store if a sales attendant said they’d get to you in a few days? Not likely.
Sales and marketing must work closer together to make sure the way leads are handed over is as fast as possible.
Recipe for sales and marketing alignment
The need for a hybrid sales and marketing team is evident, but the real question is how
can these teams work together to meet and exceed customer expectations and deliver on business objectives?
Here are a few simple steps to follow:
- Listen intently to buying signals and personalise messaging to suit the buyer profile and the stage of their buying journey
- Plan and build common objectives and compensation models as a team and make performance against those objectives highly visible
- Specialise your lead qualification, prospecting and sales teams
- Add structure and accountability into the lead management process – be sure to “mind the gap” for handoffs between marketing and sales teams
The era of functions operating independently in separate silos has ended. Engaging immediately and intelligently with qualified leads is more important than ever, which is why organisations need an intersection of sales and marketing.