Getting B2B buyers excited about a product or service requires one thing: cooperation between marketing and sales teams.
That’s not happening because both sides approach the customer journey differently. Success for the sales team is measured in revenue, and for sales leadership it's measured in additional metrics such as average deal size, average sales cycle and time to ramp new reps. Sales often sees marketing content as too abstract or not relevant, while the marketing team believes sales is underutilizing the content created to deliver value to sales and buyers.
This is not a scenario where both sides can diplomatically agree to disagree — because real money is at stake. When sales doesn’t have effective content, sales cycles are longer and deals are lost. In fact, companies with poor sales and marketing alignment have a 4% decline in revenue, but companies with alignment have a 20% growth rate, according to the Aberdeen Research Group.
The threat that the gap between sales and marketing poses to B2B selling is very real. The numbers don’t lie:
- The inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies costs B2B companies 10% or more of revenue per year, according to IDC; and
- The Content Marketing Institute reports that between 60-70% of B2B content is never used, largely because the topic is irrelevant to the buyer.
Fortunately, there’s a way to bridge the divide that is simple, meaningful and functional: the three Cs.
The three Cs refer to the core aspects that lay the foundation — and drive the vision — of real-world success: content management, customer engagement and coaching excellence.
Sales needs tools to quickly locate and share the precise content needed for each buyer during conversations, meetings and presentations. The more relevant the content, and the more it is tailored for the buyer, the more likely it is the buyer will respond positively.
Today’s customers demand a more personalized and responsive sales experience. Yet the average sales rep spends just 35% of their time actively selling, according to Fortune. The rest of their time is spent on tedious administrative tasks.
Through analytics, marketers can develop a content strategy that is tailored to individual buyers and creates an easier path to engagement. Sales then can have immediate access to dynamic content that they can share with prospects to access later or watch or read in real-time.
Sales needs to streamline the onboarding process, so that their reps can more quickly and effectively engage customers, build solutions and close deals.
Both new hires and experienced sales reps need tools to access digital training and coaching events and assets such as webinars, videos, playbooks and best practice pointers, along with a centralized hub that encourages knowledge sharing throughout the organization. Also, managers need tools to track performance, so they can proactively identify coaching needs instead of waiting for problems to emerge.
The Bottom Line
The business landscape is constantly shifting based on factors we can expect and some we can’t anticipate.
However, we shouldn’t lose sight of a simple truth: when sales and marketing teams work together, reps get the tools they need to engage buyers at the highest level. This requires creating a content management strategy, engaging customers through relevant content based on shared insights and emphasizing coaching excellence that improves bottom-line results. When combined, the three Cs help deliver what customers want every time.
Pieterjan (PJ) Bouten is the CEO and Co-founder of Showpad, a sales enablement platform. It is the second company Pieterjan has founded. In 2010 he co-founded a mobile development agency, In The Pocket, and still serves on its board. Prior to In The Pocket, Pieterjan held senior roles at Netlog and Accenture and holds master’s degrees in both communication sciences and international business.