Before the internet, the relationship between marketing and sales was relatively straightforward: marketing created demand and drove leads and sales closed the deal. However, the internet has changed the marketing and sales game drastically. Businesses need to change both their sales and marketing strategies to survive the online revolution; this begins with recognizing that the typical buyer’s journey has changed and your business will need to follow suit.
Think about the last time you made a significant purchase. Your buyer’s journey probably began at home on your computer. Maybe it was a purchase you had been thinking about for a while and you needed to research where the best place to buy is, or maybe your brain went on a nostalgic tangent while you were catching up on recent news and you found yourself in an impulsive need of a new product or service. Either way, your buyer’s journey began in a manner that previously didn’t exist.
Now think about the last time you received a cold call. Did you actually listen to what the rep on the other end of the phone was saying and consider if you needed the product or service they were pitching? Or did you instantly shut down and get off the call as quickly as you possibly could? My guess would be the latter.
The abundance of information available online makes the purchasing process less linear than it once was. Online research into a service or product before ever speaking to the company has become the norm. Buyers don’t always like to be pushed through the traditional sales funnel; some consumers may be ready to buy immediately, while others may need time to be nurtured. Companies need to restructure their marketing and sales processes to meet the need of all potential customers; ultimately, these teams need to rely on each other now more than ever.
So, how does your company adjust to the new reality? Creating an atmosphere where your sales and marketing teams are harmonious and strive to work together will help both sides. Everyone should buy into the notion of alignment for success.
Your sales and marketing teams need to be collaborative. Sales can support marketing by providing feedback about the content being promoted and the leads they are receiving. Sales has a direct line to prospects and thus has invaluable information about commonalities among leads and which tactics are receiving the best results.
Similarly, marketing has the power to peak interest and conversation with prospects. Marketing analytics show which prospects spent time on their website, read their blog, or responded to a call to action. Specific data like this can be vital for a sales rep to maintain the attention of a specific prospect.
The separation between sales and marketing, that was once the norm, is now non-existent. It is no longer the case that sales has no part in driving leads and that a marketer’s job is done when a prospect becomes a lead. Sales needs to own their part in driving leads to fruition; they should be working leads at a strong and steady rate so marketing efforts aren’t wasted. Likewise, marketing needs to ensure they are following through with prospects and customers; their job doesn’t end when a prospect becomes a customer. It is important to maintain relationships with current customers through similar nurturing efforts. The teams should work together by sharing materials to ensure each potential customer is getting the appropriate information at the best time for their personal buyer’s journey.
With this information and your personal buyer’s journey in mind, think about how your company promotes itself. Are you marketing heavily online or do you have employees dedicated to cold calling? Do your sales and marketing teams need to adjust their tactics and collaborate more? Is it time for you to make a change?