How to empower B2B sales-marketing divide

sales marketing divide

Adjusting the B2B Sales-Marketing Divide: To hit pipeline and revenue goals

B2B businesses need to work towards the integration of sales and marketing (not alignment) to educate, generate relationships and revenue in a unified manner.

The line between B2B sales and marketing is blurring.

In the contemporary world, the marketing team is directly connected to the client like never before, focusing on the middle and bottom of the funnel where the sales team plays.

In fact, 89 % of CMOs expect to be responsible for customer experience by the end of 2020, according to one research. 

And with B2B marketing taking on more responsibility for revenue, and a greater, long-term client focus, marketing and sales is now seen as a marriage, not just some Tinder date.

Maintaining the sales and marketing “divide” or “alignment” is getting tougher as the demand-supply dynamics are getting more complicated day-by-day.

For profitable integration, B2B firms need to focus on three fundamental commitments:

  1. Understand your buyer’s expectations and buying dynamics.
  2. Commit to authorize sales and revenue generation with the support of the marketing department. The roles of both departments should be clear, with no overlaps.
  3. Integrate your B2B sales & marketing efforts to develop a symbiotic relationship with proper awareness to avoid any clashes or insecurities.

Let’s now anatomize the external dynamics and the internal barriers, and then talk about various B2B strategies to deliver a more integrated approach to winning the minds, hearts and wallets of our customers and markets. 

How clients buy and how businesses sell is more complex than you think

B2B business models and client requirements are changing at a faster rate, driven by digital and tech disruption. 

Today, both buyers and sellers struggle to keep up and play a game of cat and mouse as buyers stay stealth. 

Sellers have lower access to buying teams who research online anonymously and through peer networks. They often struggle to precisely forecast the business and deliver predictable pipelines. 

While buying teams may have access to more information, but they often lack confidence to make decisions because of the rapid pace of new solutions and the high cost of making bad decisions. 

sales and marketing divide

Solution to the pipeline problem has resulted in a sales and marketing arms race

To contribute, B2B marketing has joined the cause by building increasingly complex demand engines to generate loads of “leads”. 

These leads are sent to sales only to be rejected as “junk” or “invalid”.

In order to improve the quality, marketing reacts by replacing traditional sales tasks such as account research, cold calling, follow up, discovery meetings, and qualification. 

What about sales’ counter-reaction? 

Build unique sales tech stack, set of data and processes to find and engage buyers, essentially duplicating marketing’s effort. 

And before you know it, these teams are in direct competition creating an arms race. 

This all-out effort further creates a larger divide between the two departments trying to meet the company revenue goals.

C-suite execs are perpetuating the problem with attribution on every dollar

Although the entire shifting buyer-seller dynamic is playing out and marketing and sales are doing their best, Boards and C-level executives have not yet eased up on any expectations to deliver growth and revenue. 

But nor should they. 

B2B company execs expect “sourced” deals from marketing, new clients from sales, and growth from customer success teams. 

Everybody has the same aim – revenue. This should be fairly easy, right?

Ironically, the urgency for all parties to win the challenge is generating lots of activity, burning tons of resources. And the “everybody sells” pressure is making it harder for sales and marketing to work together effectively. 

Worse, it’s pushing away B2B prospects who are the victim of the onslaught. 

On the top of it, the expectation for marketing teams to PROVE their contribution to revenue, can quickly turn into an obsession to get “credit” for versus to understand what’s working, what’s not and using data to improve results. 

Here, measurement and analytics is essential. 

Nonetheless, trying to use attribution for source credit is a tactic that further hinders impact and perpetuates the sales-marketing divide.

Today’s buying process is a journey of multiple engagements over time and across multiple players at an account around a given purchase. This makes it very difficult for one group or one investment to deliver the client or deal. 

Shifts you can make to empower sales and marketing to hit company targets

Many B2B revenue teams have recognized the widening sales-marketing divide and are responding. 

While there’s no silver bullet, here are some strategies and tactics in play today that show promise:

Fix #1: B2B sales need to concentrate on being stand-out sellers, while B2B marketing need to commit to being breakthrough marketers promoting the sales process

stand-out sellers

This acknowledgement is an important step to reduce complexity and get more out of your resources and talent. 

Only after recognizing the specific responsibilities of sales and marketing, we can focus on integrating the efforts. Roles, process, data, tech, and all – around the client journey for higher impact.

Fix #2: Treat company culture and compensation like a priority

Treat company culture

Your company culture and the compensation plan must reward and support collaboration and accountability.

Without which, there’s little shot that sales + marketing integration can be maintained nor your company to win its market.

Fix #3: Leverage common language and definitions of success

Leverage common language

The compensation plans must deliver higher, collective rewards for B2B company targets and clear objectives for deliverables to meet them. 

Shared goals and metrics must be established together

Common language, goals, and definitions of success must be developed amongst all employees through integrated systems, dashboards, and metrics.

Fix #4: Integrated systems, dashboards & metrics that drive efforts

drive efforts

Ensure the availability of clean, intelligent data and a modern data structure that drives sales or marketing efforts and client’s collaboration.

Using processed data to measure performance requires ONE data architecture and model to provide a “single point of truth.”

This “data cube” approach allows every B2B team to work off the same data. And each team to get a distinct view of the analytics they need to continuously evolve to meet targets. 

Without clean, intelligent data and modern data structure, it’s very difficult to achieve the integrated view that drives sales, marketing and client collaboration & results.  

Fix #5: Re-evaluate the Revenue Organization

Re-evaluate the Revenue Organization

Re-imagine and evaluate the Revenue Organization with Dubbed “Revenue Operations”

This approach usually takes the form of an entirely integrated team or a hybrid of different teams like sales, marketing and finance with dotted lines to functional leaders.

Many B2B companies are establishing a group at the center of sales and marketing that drives operational analytics and intelligence to keep the sales & marketing effort aligned and functioning at various high levels. 

Fix your B2B Sales-Marketing Divide:

The gap between B2B Sales and Marketing is surging because of changing business dynamics and external & internal pressures. 

You should commit to sales and marketing, each doing what they do well, and then using culture, compensation, organization, and data to integrate the effort around the client’s journey.

Our B2B Sales and Marketing Consultancy Firm can help your business by aligning your sales-marketing to achieve a radical shift in thinking, in order to achieve a more cohesive function and opportunities.