When we partnered with Jay Baer and the team at Convince & Convert to uncover the 7 secret ingredients of great B2B marketing teams, one of the first things we learned was the importance of hiring for company culture. Once you’ve assembled your dream team, though, how can you set them up for B2B success?
One of the most important things your marketing team can do to increase its impact is to make sure it’s fully aligned with the sales team. The two teams should work beautifully together, like synchronized swimmers, or beavers building a majestic dam.
That’s because today’s buyers are savvy: according to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth study, 88% of consumers do their research before they buy, consulting an average of 10.4 sources. For B2B in particular, over 70% of buyers use the internet to make their business purchase decisions, meaning that they’ve likely already made up their mind about whether or not to work with a specific company before they’ve even made contact with sales.
This means that as the role of consumer self-education increases, so does marketing’s impact – in theory, it has the same outcome as hiring more sales reps. In fact, according to the Aberdeen Group, aligned sales and marketing teams show 400% higher annual revenue growth than do non-aligned teams. (400%!!)
The results speak for themselves. Here’s how top B2B leaders make sure their marketing and sales teams are as aligned as a well-chiropracted spine.
1. Focus on what’s important
Tim Kopp, of Hyde Park Venture Partners, emphasized the importance of prioritizing the what, rather than the how.
“Marketers – and I’m so guilty of this, too, at times – get really obsessed with the tactics and the new, sort of eye candy,” he said, talking about the constant emergence of shiny new marketing tools and technologies.
“What about Snapchat, what about this, what about that. Should we do an ebook?”
“But what you forget about is just what are we trying to do, period? And how does that align with what the sales team is trying to do?”
It’s simple, but powerful: keep a tight focus on what your ultimate goals are, and ensure that everything you’re doing empowers the success of the sales department – because their success is your success.
2. Listen in on sales calls
Jeff Rohrs, CMO of Yext, believes that it’s imperative to have marketing listen in on sales calls.
“Our approach is to understand at a deep level what’s going on in the sales opportunities, and we want our marketers in those calls hearing what’s important, what’s moving, where they can potentially add some relationship-building efforts.”
The way Jeff has positioned his team as a partner to both the customer and the sales team here is especially great. Having unfiltered access to the information and feedback only makes it easier for all parties moving forward, especially as new programs are rolled out or other marketing materials need to be tweaked.
“It’s imperative [that the marketing team] be on those calls and hear those conversations,” he says. “It’s another set of ears, and experience we can deploy based on what they learn in those calls.”
3. Create an opportunity for two-way feedback
For Robyn Itule, Senior Manager of the Content and Creative team at Insight, one of the most useful things to come out of the company’s new alignment structure was the opportunity for two-way feedback.
“We recently did a round of brand engagement listening focus group with our teammates, specifically from sales. This forum gave our leadership and brand teams a chance to hear from our employees about some of the new messaging that we’ve created for our new go-to-market structure that we introduced this year, and one of the things that we heard, unprompted, was how impactful the brand and the marketing messaging has been for them, so there’s a greater awareness of what that is and of how to use it and of how that impacts their job.”
Understanding how your customers respond to a campaign is critical. Understanding how your colleagues feel about that same campaign creates connections that make teams work.
Aligning with, and learning from, the sales team is one of the most effective things your B2B marketing team can do to ramp up their growth. Want to learn the other ingredients of truly great B2B marketing teams? Check out our ebook for more insights.