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How Sales and Marketing Integration Can Drive B2B Growth Strategy

Author: Heather Margolis

Everyone loves a good view of ‘Glen Gary, Glen Ross’ if only to launch at how ridiculous their sales strategy sounds today. As our buyers become more savvy, our sales and marketing landscape continues to quickly evolve.  Strategy and tactics are becoming more personalized, global, and complicated.

Back in the “old days,” sales pounded the proverbial pavement, drummed up new opportunities, and then set about beating prospects into submission. Of course, with the changing times, buyers no longer wait for a salesperson to arrive, and they certainly don’t stand for being talked to like an idiot. They’re busy on the internet designing their own Buyer’s Journey by searching for information on solutions and educating themselves.

The internet turned sales and marketing on their heads

Marketing used to be more passive and much more undervalued. I once had a coworker who was in sales tell me, “marketing is just overhead” and that sales drove all the value. Now the lines have blurred so greatly between sales and marketing it’s hard to tell where one ends and another begins. Both are responsible for getting prospects in, both build trust with prospects, both nurture prospects to make them leads…then opportunities. Relevant, downloadable content is now pushed via email, newsletter, corporate social handles, AND sales teams’ social handles.  On the flip side, sales is still hunting and prospecting (online), developing targeted lists but marketing is giving them the tools allowing them to do that successfully.

Now more than ever, we utilize information to win customers

The sales and marketing shift caused a major push-pull between these two departments, causing a  struggle in many organizations to figure out where one role starts and the other stops. Social media provides us more information on our prospects than ever, we just need to figure out how to collect and use it appropriately. Who is responsible for building account maps, creating thought provoking content for each member of the team you are prospecting?  Who should be developing the content and progressing prospects through the funnel? When the deal closes, who gets the credit?

The truth is – lines are so blurred these days that everyone; sales, marketing, and customer service teams all help fill the funnel, drive demand, capture leads and close deals.

Organizations that leverage the entire team are killing it in the market

If you’re looking for a growth burst — and most of us are — think about implementing these key features for success:

1. Language alignment:

Hopefully your customer-facing teams are constantly communicating with each other.

However, the communication is only as good as the agreed vocabulary. In order to grow revenue it’s important for sales, marketing and customer service to align their language. This might seem simple but often it’s not. For example, does everyone agree on the the definitions of the concepts below? If not, aligning the group will help remove confusion and barriers in the acquisition and transition of incoming leads as they move from marketing to sales to customer service:

  • MQL (marketing qualified lead) vs. SQL (sales qualified lead)
  • Prospect vs opportunity
  • The stages of your buyer’s journey
  • The stages of the funnel

2. Content development:

Content, like it or not, is still the king of digital marketing. We need it for demand generation (blogs, podcasts, videos, social media posts), for lead generation (webinars, demos, eBooks, surveys) and for customer retention and upselling (special offers, newsletters, tips and tricks, presentations).

For the best results, content development should not land solely on marketing. Yes, marketing will have the heaviest hand in strategy and creation, but sales and customer service are deep wells of knowledge on what your prospects and current customers want to know. They’re also highly involved in customer perception and what’s working or not working, often more than marketing is. All of which is fodder for writing, creating, recording, and educating unknown buyers on why your products and solutions are the best.

Looking for unique ways or more information about driving growth for your organization? Contact us, we love to chat and share strategies.


Heather K. Margolis is CEO of Channel Maven Consulting. Read more Channel Maven Consulting blogs here.

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