We all know that the way we sell and market has changed. Customers today have more information at their fingertips and more power in the buying process than ever before.
So, given that things have changed so much, our Sales and Marketing teams need to change as well. In order to meet the changing needs and buying behaviors of consumers, Sales and Marketing teams need to work together and align their efforts. This alignment, also known as Smarketing, requires effort from both sides.
For today’s lesson, we explore how (and why) Marketers need to actively learn to think more like Sales. In order to create Smarketing, Marketers need to be invested in the revenue of the company, put on the Sales hat, be aggressive, and be bottom line-driven.
Why Marketing Should Think More Like Sales
One of the biggest factors that has changed the sales process in recent years is how complicated the Buyer’s Journey has become. Given the vast amount of information on the Internet about your prospect’s problems, your solutions, and your competition’s solutions, it is increasingly important to keep your Marketing and Sales on the same page, and in the same mindset.
According to a recent study done by the Aberdeen Group, it was found that companies with a strong alignment between Sales and Marketing teams see a 20% annual revenue growth year over year.
All the more reason to align your teams.
To ensure that alignment is created in accordance with the various stages of the Buyer’s Journey, your Marketing team must be experts on your company’s Buyer Personas. An aligned team of Smarketers work to ensure that the stages of the Buyer’s Journey match the Sales Funnel. Each stage is defined by specific activities geared to move the prospect further through the Sales Process to eventually become a customer.
Here’s where Marketing thinks like Sales. Through the creation and distribution of remarkable content designed for specific Buyer Personas and at specific milestones in the Buyer’s Journey, Marketing operates with one goal in mind: moving prospects further through the Sales Process.
Here are some questions to ask your Marketing team, to gauge if they are focused on nurturing leads through the Buyer’s Journey:
- Are you creating relevant, remarkable, valuable content for prospects in the Awareness Stage?
- Are you creating valuable white papers and case studies for leads in the Consideration Stage?
- Are you prepping the Sales teams with insights you’ve gained through prospect behavior as they move to the Decision Stage?
- Do you have a clear understanding of when to shift leads from one stage to the next? And is this understanding consistent with the Sales team’s understanding? (Here’s where creating an SLA is key to making sure both teams are aligned around the same mutually-defined and measurable goals)
The traditional understanding is that Marketing starts the conversation with prospects, but then hands them over to Sales to finish the deal. In today’s buying and selling environment, traditional thought is out the window. The conversation begins and ends with a strongly aligned Smarketing team.
3 Easy Ways Marketing Can Think Like Sales
There are most likely dozens of ways that you can instill a Sales mindset into your Marketing team. However, here are 3 concrete methods we recommend to make your Marketers more bottom-line driven:
- Implement a Marketing Quota. Just as your Sales team likely has a quota to reach every month or quarter, so should your Marketing team. In fact, this Marketing quota can (and most likely should) be tied to Sales’ quota. Doing this will make them inherently motivated to boost your company’s recurring revenue and will enable the possibility of predictable growth. By having your Marketing team focus on bringing in quality leads, rather than as many leads as possible, and holding them to a particular conversion rate, will allow your company’s sales process to be more efficient and effective.
- Utilize Marketing Automation Software. Another easy fix. Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Pardot, and Marketo (to name just a few of the big players in the game) simplify the Marketing process for your team, and make it easier on your team overall. With marketing automation, it becomes easier for Marketers to track leads, to know which pages of your website they’re visiting and what content they’re viewing or downloading. These insights are huge from both a Sales and a Marketing side, because they guide a strategic discussion as to how to proceed with prospects.
- Maintain Closed-Loop Reporting with Sales. This all begins with an SLA that defines what is expected from both Sales and Marketing, such as a clear distinction between what makes a Marketing Qualified Lead and a Sales Qualified Lead, and a clearly defined sales process. After this, it is equally important to maintain open communication between teams. This will give Marketing regular insights from the Sales side, and allow them to create valuable content that will convert prospects at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
Smarketing Can Reduce the Sales/Marketing Divide
The time when Marketers could be Marketers and Sales could be Sales is gone. Today, both teams have to think about their role from both sides of the fence. For Marketers, this means being more aggressive and bottom-line driven, and always focusing on building a predictable growth engine.
But don’t worry, this isn’t as painful as it might sound. By relying on a Marketing quota directly correlated with your Sales quota, by utilizing Marketing Automation Software, and by maintaining closed-loop reporting, your Marketing team can learn to think like Sales. This, paired with Sales’ efforts to think more like Marketers, will result in Smarketing. But that’s a topic for another day.
Get a more in-depth lesson in Smarketing with our eBook, “The Path To Predictable Growth”!