B2B marketing and sales professionals must work together to meet the ever-changing needs of buyers. To be successful, marketing and sales teams need to personalize their communication with their audiences as they nurture them through the buying cycle.
At the 2014 Sales Acceleration Summit — hosted by InsideSales.com — more than 20,000 marketing and sales executives virtually gathered to attend roughly 80 presentations, looking to educate attendees on best practices for nurturing leads, optimizing the sales and marketing relationship and leveraging content throughout the sales funnel.
A common trend throughout the event was that both marketing and sales professionals have to be prepared for the unexpected. Whether it’s a new product that the company’s selling or a new target audience, the ability to adapt is a must-have trait in order to succeed.
Being an agile marketer or salesperson is a thinking perspective that needs to be understood while going through changes with your business, according to Jill Konrath, sales strategist and author of the sales books AGILE Selling and SNAP Selling.
“Anytime you hit something new as a salesperson, you have to go through a readjustment period while also re-assimilating new knowledge and learning new skills,” said Konrath during her keynote speech. “This all starts with sales teams having to have an agile mindset. Being agile is crucial because sales is a thinking-intensive profession, and thinking about the new things you have to learn helps sales people fold new changes into their day-to-day routine.”
The same thought process can be leveraged while nurturing leads. With today’s technology, it is not difficult for marketers to fully personalize prospect engagement and keep it automated. While marketers use nurturing to obtain new leads, sales teams use nurturing to create excuses to engage with prospected customers.
“With lead nurturing, there are going to be more sales and better information about existing and prospected customers,” said Mathew Sweezey, Marketing Evangelist at Pardot. “The sales people are going to be able to focus more on the sales-ready leads, and overall help sales teams optimize their resources so that the team can focus on the hot lead while the technology automates the rest.”
It’s Not About Your Business, It’s About The Consumer
With content marketing, personalization is the key for keeping the brand top-of-mind with the audience. The marketing landscape has long changed from focusing primarily on the company’s best interests. A journalistic approach is valuable when creating content that is personalized to have an impact on a prospected customer’s decisions, according to Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer, Inbound Sales, HubSpot.
“One of the key tactics we have come to find is that there needs to be some kind of journalistic bandwidth at your organization,” said Roberge during his presentation.“Very few people, including the journalists themselves, realize that they hold the key to the future of lead generation for sales teams. So it’s important to take advantage of that.”
Content is the only way that potential customers and search engines can engage with your brand, making it a valuable currency of the social Web. Making sure your content is intentional and relevant helps increase the content’simpact on your business through successful interaction. Although it might not close a deal, it helps move potential buyers further down the funnel — which is valuable in and of itself.
“Marketers want to court the attention of customers, and marketers have primarily been focused on gaining that attention with promotions,” said Valeria Maltoni, VP of Digital Strategy at PM Digital “What they’re not use to — what the marketers and their business need to get better at — is retaining that attention, and this is the new tool that they have for connecting with digitally-enabled customers and prospects.”
Stay Positive When Handling CEO-Worthy ROI Metrics
In the end, being able to prove the overall ROI to the company executives is what makes-or-breaks whether or not your department’s initiatives succeeded or failed.
Measuring your content is easy to track, but proving its worth is often considered the most difficult aspect of the job. Highlighting the financial metrics of your content, while also emphasizing key areas in the sales funnel where content made an impact, is the key to keeping metrics positive, while also keeping your boss happy.
“Marketing should never be considered a cost center; it should be an investment center, and your language matters when reporting these metrics to executives,” said Jon Miller, co-founder and VP of Marketing at Marketo. “Instead of focusing on the wrong data — like vanity metrics and activity metrics — you want to highlight the metrics that show prospects are moving down the sales funnel.”
Click here to view an on-demand version of the virtual event.