According to a 2016 Corporate Executive Board study, 87% of the terms inbound marketing and sales use to describe each other are negative.
Some of the words that the sales executives in the study used to describe their marketing colleagues included “paper pushers,” “academic” and “irrelevant.” In the same research, marketing professionals used words like “simple minded,” “cowboys,” and even “incompetent” to describe sales executives.
Here at Angelfish, however, we are hybrid lovers of both!
With more than 20 years’ experience in both sales and marketing, the divide between the two comes as quite a surprise to us. After all, aren’t the ultimate goals of both sales teams and marketing teams or inbound marketing companies the same in the end?
In fact, new research has found that, by working together, sales and marketing teams can achieve 38% higher sales win rates – and a poor alignment can cost 10%+ annual revenue.
So, for both departments, it ultimately boils down to how to convert new prospects into loyal, long-term clients.
3 reasons inbound marketing companies and sales need to team up
1. B2B customers aren’t always ready to buy on day one
Traditional sales and marketing methods, such as cold calling, tend to rely on prospective customers being ready to buy from you straight away.
However, with a plethora of information now available at the touch of a button on the internet, research has found that B2B buyers do 70% of their research online before even getting in touch with a sales representative.
Therefore, what sales teams really need is to focus on people who are already in research mode that were actively looking for services like theirs already. They also need to put their business in a position where it can be seen, found and shared, and give people who are looking for them the option to consult with their teams.
By deploying a successful digital marketing strategy to warm up your prospects and engaging them early on in their buying process, sales teams will have a much greater chance of winning new customers and clients.
2. Marketing has a troubled reputation
Marketing has unfortunately always had a bit of an “image” problem, and companies often don’t fully understand its value beyond branding.
It's not been unheard of for top-level decision makers of multi-million-pound companies to refer to inbound marketing teams as ‘The Crayola Department'. But why?
This is possibly due to old marketing techniques, which traditionally only focused on branding, look and feel. It might simultaneously be because of the old, untraceable advertising campaigns that made it tough to prove their true value to the sales department or the executive board.
Whatever the reason, this style of old marketing couldn’t provide tracked lead generation that organisations need; rather, it was more about general appeal and creating interest rather than delivering tangible, traceable leads.
Today however, that’s all changed – and as traditional sales techniques become less successful, it looks like it’s finally inbound marketing’s time to shine and sales teams need to capitalise on the potential of their marketing departments (or get the boss to hire one in the first place)!
3. The death of traditional sales methods
When you think about sales, you often think about cold calling. But as an expensive and ineffective (and not to mention annoying) sales technique, the relevance of cold calling is dying – and fast.
For businesses such as recruitment that are often stuck in a cold calling sales rut, it’s time to think about assigning a budget for creating high-quality strategic content and effective inbound marketing services and strategies, rather than wasting money on dated techniques.
From optimising websites to social media, blogs to eBooks and whitepapers to webinars, in today’s world, content is officially king. Combine that with a shift in sales strategy to focus on consultative, helpful selling approaches with prospects who are ready to talk and you have a powerful business strategy built for today’s new buyers.
What are the reasons behind the change?
There’s no denying that technology has been a major driver. The advance of technology has changed buyer behaviour and culture forever – which has a knock-on effect on the whole sales process.
Buyers are now able to do most of their product research, pricing investigations and reference checks online without the interference of a sales representative. Not only that, but today’s millennial generation is much savvier when it comes to the online world and are more than capable of making decisions on their own.
It is understandable that sales organisations will want some control over this process and give the buyer the best chance of understanding their products or services – but the brutal truth is that, in this new digital world, buyers don't want to speak to you unless they need to.
Ultimately, they want to research in their own time and on their own terms, just like you do.
So, what does this mean for your business? It means you’d better nail your content marketing plan and get your inbound marketing firing on all cylinders or you're out of the race before you've got your shoes on.
It’s time for sales and inbound marketing companies to work together
With cold calling now a thing of the past and the latest advancements in technology, it’s officially the underdog’s time to shine as marketing departments creating intelligent content for all levels of the sales funnel and employ expert automation techniques.
Most importantly, however, it’s time for marketing and sales departments to say goodbye to old feuds and finally start to work together as one team with the same goal.
Your inbound marketing and sales teams need to support each other – but how do you get them to realise that?
The answer is simple: clear communication.
Your sales team needs to talk honestly to your marketing department and help them understand what pitches are resonating with your clients and prospects and helping them close deals.
In return, your marketing team needs to respond and provide your prospects with access to killer content that hits all these notes, answers all their questions and creates actionable buying signals for your sales team who can then engage with potential customers when they are willing and ready to engage.
Is your organisation ready for this change?
If you aren’t already investing in high quality, lead generating marketing that’s fully aligned with your sales team, you should really start now. The traditional routes to leads are stalling and your competitors might have realised this already.
For more information on the power of inbound marketing and sales and how it can benefit your business, download your essential guide to inbound marketing here.
If you're just too busy to be thinking about all this whilst trying to close your deals, why not arrange your free one-hour consultation with our experts, and they’ll be able to discuss all this with you...