When you're not acquiring as many new customers as you'd like, your natural inclination may be to start pointing fingers at your sales team. While it is crucial that you have strong sellers in place who are skilled at converting prospects into paying clients, though, you may need to look back even further in your process - to marketing and lead generation. Unless your marketing professionals are aligning their methods with sales, you could be missing out on major business opportunities. After all, the ultimate goal of marketing is to attract and drive qualified leads to your salespeople.
Here's what a successfully aligned marketing and sales process looks like:
Mapping Out the Buyer Cycle
Before a prospect can be converted into a loyal customer, he or she needs to pass through various phases of the buyer cycle. Consumers need to research solutions to their problems, overcome objections, become convinced of what sets a particular product or service apart from competitors, etc. Marketers need to have content available that will cater to each step in the cycle. This ensures that only qualified leads reach your sales team. In order to accomplish this goal, you must take the time to map out the process.
Tailoring Content for the Buyer Cycle
Once your map of the buyer cycle has been planned out, you need to determine the specific needs of prospects each step of the way. What type of content will your audience need to proceed to the next phase and, eventually, respond to a call-to-action (CTA)? Marketing teams must take the time to strategically match materials with the corresponding stage in the cycle.
Cataloguing Existing and Relevant Content
Too often, there's an overlap of materials and content between the marketing and sales sides of things. A sales associate may become frustrated with the belief that essential content does not exist for one part of the buyer cycle simply because they were not informed of its existence. Instead of taking advantage of what's already available, then, the sales professional wastes valuable time on developing nearly identical content -- a total duplication of efforts. To save time, energy, valuable resources, and a lot of stress, it's wise to catalogue the relevant content that you already have in place so that it can be leveraged at a moment's notice. Be sure to eliminate anything outdated as it will only slow you down.
Developing Relevant Content to Fill the Blanks
Now that you know what you already have on hand, it's time to fill in the blanks. Here, new content is created to meet the various needs of the buyer cycle that still need to be attended to. Again, this new content should be cataloged and made readily available to the marketing and sales teams as a whole. In this way, everyone may access the content as it is demanded.
As mentioned in the last two points, accessibility and organization is everything! Sales professionals become frustrated when they can't find what they need when they need it, and marketers then become frustrated when they are constantly having to resend the same materials to different salespeople again and again. Instead, all materials should be organized and catalogued in such a way that they can be located and utilized in the right moment - whether the salesperson is in the office or on-the-go.