B2B Buyers Make The Case For Better Marketing And Sales Alignment


Are your marketing and sales teams caught in that endless loop of finger pointing? B2B sellers who complain about lead quality/quantity and marketers who criticize sellers for poor follow up? After years of acknowledging their issues with each other, many B2B marketing and sales teams continue to be at odds. Just “google” marketing and sales relationships and see what you find. I did and I surfaced 98 million results! Titles such as: “The Rocky Road Between Sales and Marketing” and “How to Survive a Soured Sales and Marketing Relationship” show the dissonance and drama still very much in play.

Five years into the age of the customer and the modern B2B buyer has high expectations. They’re more knowledgeable, independent and self-directed than ever. They no longer rely on your sales people for product, pricing and other information. And they don’t want to be told what they already know. As I explore in our recently published report, B2B Buyers Mandate A New Charter For Marketing And Sales, the empowered B2B buyer is neither concerned with how your organization is structured and who’s responsible for the content on your website, nor are they interested in talking to a sales rep simply because they downloaded a white paper. Your buyers want contextual interactions with both human and digital assets across a holistic but non-linear journey. And, by in large, they want their experiences with sales people to be high value or frictionless. Think of a 2 or 5-star hotel experience – each has its merits - but 3 and 4-star hotels often disappoint.

So the question remains…how prepared is your go-to-market organization to meet the needs of today’s B2B buyers? And what are you going to do if they are not? Start by allowing the lines between marketing and sales to blur to better serve your customers. Identify a couple of buyer-centric initiatives like social selling or account-based marketing and align marketing and sales compensation in more meaningful ways. Be open to new profiles and constructs.  Place the buyer at the center of your universe and seed more cohesion between teams.

We’ve talked about this long enough. Start partnering up your internal teams to respond to this mandate and don’t get left behind!


Raising the Bar of Expectations, Once Again

I agree, we have talked about this topic a lot, but the big issues that frustrated B2B buyers in 2016 will likely intensify during 2017. It all comes back to staffing the appropriately skilled marketing and sales talent that's capable of meeting these raised expectations.

Product portfolios and often more deep, broad and complex than a decade ago. A salesperson that won't commit to learning about the market as well as the employer's product and service portfolio is going to disappoint buyers. What was once expected only from experienced Major Account sales reps is now commonplace for everyone. Buyers don't have the time or inclination to train vendor employees about their business. Come prepared, or don't bother asking for another meeting.

Likewise, the digital marketer that won't invest the time and effort to become capable of contributing to content strategy and development is going to be of limited value. Savvy buyers expect meaningful and substantive content, and they can't get that from marketers that outsource their jobs to agencies who have little client industry subject matter expertise. Actual practitioners that create things are golden.

Raising the bar..

Thanks for your comment, David. I agree that B2B buyers in 2017 will have less patience for mediocrity. Our research shows what buyers want from their sales rep is: to learn something new, to have a data-driven conversation about how their product /service will measurably impact business performance and to talk about what matters to them. G2M leaders will need to pursue and enable new/different talent. As an example - marketers who have visual storytelling skills or sellers who have experience with digital tools and technologies. It's a new world. Check out my new report on Tuesday for more detail.

Frustrations will indeed

Frustrations will indeed intensify in 2017. Every new year brings new challenges for B2B marketers and buyers

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