Part 3: How to Be a Marketing Hero to Sales
Through communication and greater collaboration, bank marketers can play a starring role in salespeople achieving their top goals.
Traditionally, Marketing and Sales haven't always exhibited the greatest teamwork. One issue has been a lack of transparency; the two groups don't always know what the other is doing, or understand the impact of those efforts.
The friction that sometimes exists between them is unfortunate, particularly when you consider that Marketing and Sales are actually working toward the same objective — sustainable profitability. In fact, the more the two departments disengage from each other, the less likely they are to achieve that goal.
According to a new report on sales enablement by Aberdeen Group, companies that have a unified sales and marketing structure annually generate 20% more revenue than those who don't. When Sales and Marketing work together, firms also enjoy major improvements in key performance metrics (KPMs), such as shorter sales cycles, lower market-entry costs and lower cost per sale.
It starts with a conversation
Working together begins with communication. Organizations whose Sales and Marketing teams met more than five times a year consistently outperformed those who didn't in achieving those KPMs, according to Aberdeen. The study involved 261 B2B companies, with 42% of those surveyed representing Sales and 35% Marketing.
While the onus is not necessarily on Marketing to initiate these conversations, it's probably a smart move, as these discussions can lead to Sales having a greater understanding of the role Marketing might be playing in helping to reach sales goals.
In its report, Ending the War between Sales and Marketing, the Harvard Business Review says these face-to-face meetings are very effective at establishing common ground and ironing out differences. Coming to agreement on what constitutes a quality lead, for instance, can help close gaps between expectation and reality. Brainstorming sessions can tackle tough problems and fuel innovative solutions. And the anecdotal information that Sales hears in the field can inspire topics that Marketing can address in newsletters and other client communications.
Recognizing the impact on sales
While salespeople can schedule a call and walk out with a closed deal, they're likely unaware of the important role Marketing may have played in getting them the opportunity in the first place. As we pointed out in How Business Intelligence Can Help Close the Deal with CFOs, your bank's prospects are soaking up content about the business solutions they're interested in, well before Sales gets in the door. In fact, in their Grande Guide to Sales Enablement, SiriusDecisions estimates that the buyer's journey is 70% complete by the time that sales conversation happens.
Yet with so much information available to buyers, through so many online channels, it's difficult for Sales to connect lead nurturing content to a closed sale. This can make content marketing seem like smoke and mirrors to a profession that lives and dies by numbers. But there are numbers, and Sales may be both pleased and surprised by them.
In All the Marketing Statistics You'll Need, a HubSpot checklist of statistics from some of the world's leading marketing experts, the impact of lead nurturing is apparent. For instance:
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Source: Forrester Research)
- Nurtured leads make purchases that are 47% larger than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)
- 46% of marketers with mature lead management processes have Sales teams that follow up on more than 75% of Marketing-generated leads. (Source: Forrester Research)
- 25% of marketers who adopt mature lead management processes report that Sales teams contact prospects within one day. Only 10% of marketers report the same follow-up time without mature lead management processes. (Source: Forrester Research)
- Companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate. (Source: CSO Insights)
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing have 9% more Sales reps making quota. (Source: CSO Insights)
- Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (Source: Demand Gen Report)
These numbers are impressive, but to reach them, Sales and Marketing must combine their efforts. The Harvard Business Review article noted earlier suggests that a unified database will enable both Sales and Marketing to identify all information a prospect views prior to a sales close. To create such a database, Sales and Marketing need to agree on what data they want to collect and why. A common dashboard for Sales and Marketing will allow both departments to quickly view needed metrics.
By collaborating to achieve mutual goals, the lines blur between departments, and Marketing is no longer seen as a cost center but rather as a viable member of the revenue team.
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