3 Ways a Unified Sales and Marketing Team Can Drive Demand Generation
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Technology has given consumers the ability to compare brands and research them without ever having to speak to a sales representative or even visit a store. Tech behemoths like Google and Amazon have further influenced the digital experience with personalized product recommendations and intuitive search models that bring up exactly what people are looking for within fractions of a second.
This has resulted in significant changes in consumer behavior. It has transformed the buyer experience to a self-directed, non-linear path that spans multiple channels. Companies must abandon “old ways” and adopt new strategies that place the customer first and foremost in order to keep up with the times.
Unifying sales and marketing teams is one strategy. Research on the economics of alignment shows that when an organization’s sales, marketing and product functions are aligned, that organization achieves 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability. How do you get there?
It all starts with a common goal of revenue generation. Under a unified approach, marketing and sales teams do not silo their data in separate departments, but house it in a single source of truth from which they both work. They agree on a clear definition of the buyer journey. Buyers move from marketing to sales easily as they consider their options.
With a firm understanding of the modern buyer journey, clear definitions of its stages and a single source of complete customer data, sales and marketing functions are empowered to optimize all stages of the buyer journey. This optimization results in more successful demand generation efforts, which are fueled by shared content and nurtured upselling.
Revamping content to cater to buying behavior
Content plays an important role in today’s purchasing behavior. In fact, the average buyer today navigates between 60-70% of their purchasing journey independently, mainly online. This makes content the cornerstone of demand generation. This is a low-entry way to introduce a product to an audience and provide them with the knowledge they need. It also builds trust and awareness.
But to be effective, content must be relevant. Marketers, who are the main creators of content have traditionally swung wide when it comes to generating top-funnel traffic. This tactic is popular, but sales will quickly point out that lead quantity does NOT equal quality. Every day, salespeople meet with purchasing customers. They are able to gain a deep understanding of buyers’ needs, wants, and problems, which makes them an invaluable resource for content development. Marketing would use this knowledge to create content that is not only interesting but also more likely to be purchased.
Another strategy supported by unified sales and marketing teams is content mapping. This process involves input from both sides to help categorize content in the most effective stages of the buying cycle. This improves the effectiveness of existing content, provides sales with a well-organized library of go-to material for buyers at later stages of their buying journey, and informs marketing about areas that can be improved.
Optimizing upselling strategies to existing customers
It is well-known that existing customers are a great source of revenue. Upselling and cross-selling provide lucrative opportunities at a cheaper cost. These opportunities are often delayed until next year’s budget is approved or another approval before they can be pursued. This causes long delays between expressions of intent and purchase. Instead of letting these opportunities cool, a unified approach empowers the sales team to recycle the opportunity back to marketing to nurture with relevant content until the time comes for a decision. This keeps the opportunity interested while allowing sales to concentrate on prospects who are ready for purchase.
Improving personalization by leveraging data
Personalization is an expectation in today’s consumer world. It is not a perk. People expect to see personalized recommendations and content from Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Businesses can meet these expectations by leveraging customer data to serve up personalized content, products and value propositions.
A unified sales and marketing team can increase personalization efforts because they have consolidated data. This gives them a complete view on a customer’s unique journey including all touchpoints like content, form submissions and sales interactions. This enables both teams to track the journey as a customer moves back and forth from research to engagement as their journey matures. This information allows them to tailor content and interactions to the customer’s needs.
Successful demand creation is essential to maintaining a full pipeline. The ability to combine the knowledge and skills of both sales and marketing can greatly improve your efforts. Together, they can create content that is more relevant to the audience, improve upselling opportunities and provide a more personalized buyer journey.