We're all in this (Sales & Marketing funnel) together

December 9, 2021

We’ve known for years that sales and marketing teams must work together to optimise B2B brand awareness, lead generation, and sales. However, it is not enough for them to simply coexist. To effectively launch new products and take share from competitors, these departments must operate like integrated parts of a finely tuned machine.

 

More than ever, consumers and professional procurement experts alike are buying online. But while consumers are happy to punch in their credit card details, up to 80% of B2B decision makers still prefer remote human interactions before they buy. This means that your people, procedures, content, and technology are all pivotal parts of your customer acquisition strategy and must be dialed in if you want to stay competitive.

An integrated look at the Sales & Marketing funnel

Customer acquisition only works when marketing gets prospects through the door and sales gets them past the purchase order. What happens in between is of paramount importance and is everyone’s responsibility (which, as we all know, often means ‘is no one’s responsibility).

Let’s revisit the Sales & Marketing funnel to talk about who has the ball where – and how to be sure the ball doesn’t get dropped. This breaks the process into three main phases: See, Think, and Do. Sales and marketing play a role in all of these, with varying weight.

    • See: build customer awareness through paid, earned, and owned media. Turning prospects into leads is traditionally marketing’s responsibility, but sales must be involved in establishing goals, contributing customer insights, and leveraging campaigns and content
    • Think: help customers better understand what you offer, how it meets their needs, and why it does this better than incumbents and other vendors. Both sales and marketing teams must contribute to lead nurturing
    • Do: bring customers across the goal line to make a purchase. This is the job of sales, but marketing should play a supporting role in developing necessary content and making sure that processes and materials, such as responses to requests for proposals (RFPs), continue to be on-brand and support key messaging

Understanding triggers and barriers is everyone’s responsibility

The customer’s journey through the Sales & Marketing funnel rarely flows like water. A wide range of attitudinal and informational barriers prevent frictionless transition from one phase to the next. Unless these are overcome, potential buyers will make it as far as one dead-end street or another, then languish. The job of sales and marketing teams is to understand where and why these barriers occur – then to develop effective triggers that convert and keep things flowing in the right direction.

For example, price perception might be a barrier that prevents customers who are aware of your brand from learning more about your solution. How can you overcome these entrenched views? One trigger might be content that reframes purchase price in a broader context of total cost of ownership (TCO). Yes, your offer might add to a potential customer’s CAPEX, but if it reduces OPEX for the best TCO in the long run, your customers must know it before they will buy.

Creating such content requires close collaboration between sales and marketing and might also involve input and reviews by engineering, finance, and other departments. Who does what is not nearly as important as doing the right things at the right time. As we’ve pointed out in a previous blog, marketing and sales must be aligned and should be inseparable. Real success begins when departments consistently understand and support each other – and ideally operate as one unit.

Marketing and sales under one roof

Gartner forecasts that 80% of B2B sales will be digital by 2025. Your strategy should be ready for this shift, and there’s no better start than getting sales and marketing aligned on conversion tactics that are based on a solid understanding of triggers and barriers throughout the Sales & Marketing funnel.

The overlap between marketing and sales in a digital economy means you might benefit from merging the two. Unorthodox as this might have been in the past, there are major benefits in doing so, such as:

    • Seamless customer acquisition processes throughout the funnel
    • Better insights into customer behaviour
    • Better conversion tracking
    • Purpose-driven campaigns and content
    • Coordinated handoffs between marketing and sales

Marketing and sales integration for every business

Your company can improve its sales and marketing collaboration without overhauling your organisational chart or spending a fortune to upgrade your systems. Small steps can make a big difference.

Start with the acquisition end of the funnel. Do you produce the kind of messaging and content that attracts? If not, this is an obvious place to start. Great top-of-funnel content gets seen and gets people thinking, motivating them to learn and do more.

Your Sales & Marketing funnel must encourage leads to continue the journey toward becoming a customer. Success here relies on the expertise to build a strategy with as few barriers and as many triggers as possible. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a team that understands how to create effective content and seamless acquisition programmes.

Sometimes, something as simple as a shared content repository can give sales teams the collateral they need to nurture leads through the funnel. Other times, better integration of CRM and marketing automation flows will be required. In any case, content and messaging that resonates emotionally and convinces rationally will be necessary to overcome the barriers and trigger the conversions that stand between prospect awareness and a signed PO.

This is where CBC helps. Our experts understand how to bring marketing and sales departments together to realise shared goals and create compelling content and campaigns. If you’re looking to streamline your Sales & Marketing funnel, contact Ralph Krøyer, Managing Director of CBC, on +45 35 25 01 75 or email him directly at rk@cbc.dk.

Topics: Strategy