The last thing you want to happen when a prospect talks with a sales rep for the first time is for the prospect to feel like it’s a new conversation – not a continuing one – particularly when your marketing department has successfully engaged a prospect through compelling blog articles, videos or case studies, and then passed the lead over to your sales team.
If that’s how your marketing and sales teams make prospects feel, “you’re providing an awful buyer experience,” says Carlos Hidalgo, CEO and principal at ANNUITAS, a demand generation firm.
Eliminating the gap between marketing and sales is particularly important when trying to create demand for your product and services, and attempting to attract today’s increasingly sophisticated B2B buyers. In a typical B2B purchase, 57% of the decision-making takes place before the prospect engages with a sales person, according to research by CEB.
What Is Demand Generation?
Demand generation, as defined in a Leadformix.com blog, “covers all marketing activities that create awareness about your product, company and industry,” including inbound and outbound marketing.
The main goals of demand generation are to create interest and awareness of your brand, and to position your company in the market, looking beyond your own products and services to interact with your larger industry. Examples of demand generation activities include blogging, creating whitepapers, posting product videos on YouTube and pay-per-click campaigns.
While many organizations view demand generation as a marketing activity, an effective program requires both marketing and sales to work together.
Demand generation focuses on developing long-term customer relationships, rather than simply trying to attract new clients with one short-term campaign after another. This approach requires both marketing and sales to coordinate efforts and use analytics to optimize strategy and tactics over time.
Bringing Marketing And Sales Together: Be Customer-Centric
When a customer purchases your products and services, they aren’t thinking about their experience as divided between your sales and marketing departments. It’s important to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes, and take a holistic approach to the sales process.
“Sales and marketing have to be involved in the education and nurturing of the buyer,” according to Hidalgo. “It’s not just marketing or sales; it’s the two teams working together around how their customers actually buy.”
Working together doesn’t mean throwing structure out the window – it’s still important to have a linear sales process, a lead qualification method and a way to measure your sales pipeline. The difference is that your demand generation approach needs to be customer-centric, rather than the once-standard lead qualification approach known as BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline). The BANT approach sets your sales team up for failure because it’s entirely sales-centric.
As you bring marketing and sales together around demand generation strategy, marketing automation software and services are key to successful implementation. When this technology is well integrated within your organization and connected to your sales team’s tools, it helps you create a personalized buying experience for each prospect and stay engaged with every lead in your sales pipeline, boosting your sales revenue and growth.
Remember, today’s B2B buyers interact with your company through multiple channels, in ways that don’t fall neatly into distinct marketing and sales categories. Make sure the buying experience you offer is seamless and focused on long-term goals and lasting conversations with your customers.
Is your sales pipeline running dry? Download this industry guide from Invenio Solutions® and discover how to start boosting your IT sales today.