B2B (business-to-business) marketing organizations are contributing directly to the revenue stream of technology companies. However a question remains – is B2B marketing efficient enough, given the tools and technologies available?
In short, I believe we still have a long way to go.
As a marketer, working in sales enablement, I believe there are many reasons why marketing has yet to achieve its potential and to better serve the whole organization;
- Bad blood still exists between Sales and Marketing in many organizations, based on a disconnect in lead quantity and quality, which creates a wall of mistrust and mis-communication.
- Adding to poor marketing perception from a sales perspective is marketing’s inability to deliver marketing and sales-ready collaterals that salespeople can and will actually use.
- The Sales Portal that marketing maintains on behalf of sales, or in conjunction with Sales Enablement in larger organizations, contains many versions of the same information, mostly in document form.
- The fact that it’s in the Portal impacts the usability of information for many salespeople who cannot be bothered navigating the corporate Intranet to search the Sales Portal for information before they can use it.
Before the rise of Internet and Social Media, a B2B marketer’s job was much simpler;
- to create maintain brand,
- deliver sales collateral,
- create paid media air cover,
- generate PR column inches,
- create and place advertising
- and to run trade shows, seminars and events.
Sales teams found and developed their own leads through referrals, events, seminars and trade-shows, or cold calling.
Sales professionals spent months educating the buyer and nurturing the relationship in order to complete the sales cycle resulting in a purchase.
A strong seller-buyer relationship was generally a prerequisite to achieve the sales objective.
The rise of Internet has disrupted the traditional selling process as it has enabled buyers to identify, understand, evaluate and make the decision to purchase at will… without any interaction with salespeople – except to configure the solution and haggle a discount – Website’s don’t give discounts.
Successful companies have evolved their B2B marketing tactics;
- Digital marketers have embraced the responsibility of relationship building, which was once the face-to-face dominion of sales,
- Marketers are now tracking and responding to ‘digital body language’ and using real-time behavior to identify and engage qualified leads,
- Marketers provide contacts with the information they require and help them make informed buying decisions.
This has helped early adopters of inbound marketing techniques to improve engagement, reduce cost of sales and to help organizations build credibility with buyers.
B2B Marketing & Sales Integration
Successful B2B marketers, and I use HubSpot as example and leader in the movement, are embracing inbound marketing techniques. They are integrating marketing and sales organizations and contributing useful content and insight across entire buying cycle from lead to purchase and ongoing account management using the following processes –
1. Engaging buyers via owned, earned and paid media with buyer-relevant content in the form of emails, videos thought leadership blog articles, white papers, eBooks and sharing relevant information with sales.
2. Identifying prospects through data driven digital analysis, profiling and segmentation.
3. Nurturing buyers by providing the most relevant information at times when they are most receptive, enabling buyers to make informed decisions.
4. Analyzing, understanding and engaging with prospects and facilitating the hand off to sales.
5. Providing customer-facing professionals with the right tools and information to engage and understand the buyer persona, their issues and to better communicate insight around relevant value proposition capabilities.
6. Tracking each activity at every point in the buying process to understand which activities are working, delivering ROI and what needs to change and how they are doing vs monthly lead-gen and sales conversion objectives.
The Great Wall
Despite best efforts from marketers, salespeople in most organization still struggle to find the right information to engage buyers in the moment. Responding to leads takes nearly 2 days in the average B2B company.
Typically salespeople end up modifying available information numerous times.
This dilutes the brand message, circumvents compliance and confuses buyers when marketing says one thing and sales says the other.
A Sales Enablement Solution – WittyParrot
WittyParrot is helping to break down the barriers between marketing and sales and to establish a collaborative environment where both sales and marketing speak with one voice.
Marketers can create, a core set of corporate messaging elements and value propositions, that can be shared and reused by salespeople, easily customized for each buyer interaction while retaining core brand values.
In WittyParrot, marketers are able to exert an element of control over marketing messaging in a permanent, but easily accessible repository that is kept constantly updated and shared with marketers, salespeople, support and channel sales to reinforce corporate branding.
Salespeople can easily access and use collateral, templates, letters, proposals on-the-go on their device of choice, customize them to their requirements and most importantly provide feedback to the marketers on the materials requiring optimization.
They can also rate, write reviews and recommend content to other salespeople as well as sharing their most effective content with colleagues.
Aligning Sales and Marketing to enable salespeople to better serve today’s buyer was one of the major factors driving the development of WittyParrot.
WittyParrot enables sales and marketing to work as one team to deliver the information that is needed, when it is needed, for the benefit of the customer.