If you enjoy this post, watch our webinar Finding In-Market Buyers With Predictive Intelligence featuring Kerry Cunningham of SiriusDecisions.
The best B2B marketing teams all have one thing in common: they treat the sales team as one of their clients. This view makes marketing qualified leads not a metric for measuring campaigns, but a product delivered to sales development reps and executives. The benefit of this approach is twofold:
- Marketing doesn’t assume that their sales team will immediately value, understand and act on the leads they provide. Instead, marketing must convey the value proposition of their work and provide a success playbook to ensure sales can capitalize on the demand being captured by the marketing team.
- Like with any client, marketing will spend time working to understand the pain points, skill sets and business needs of their sales team. This will in turn create better qualified leads that are ready to connect with the sales team you have, not the sales team you’ve read about in white papers.
To truly understand what your sales team needs to be successful and drive revenue and growth for your organization, you’ll need to go to them. But in the meantime, here are four of the most likely bottlenecks B2B marketing teams should be addressing to enable their sales team to drive revenue growth.
1. Find in-market buyers and connect them with sales
There are many ways marketing can help generate demand for their organization’s products and services, but before you spend time and money winning over accounts who are either unaware or uncertain of your value proposition, you should first make sure you are able to capture and help sales win all the existing demand in the market.
To find in-market buyers you’ll need to gain visibility not only into the profile and demographic data of your target prospects, but also into time-based behavioral signals that identify the buying stage of an account. Predictive intelligence can serve to help marketing identity not only the budget and authority of a prospect, but also the need and timing.
2. Align marketing activities with sales goals
To this day marketing often sees its work as separate from the efforts of their sales team. By setting email open rates, website traffic and marketing qualified leads as top-line goals, marketers have painted themselves into a corner where fully 80% of CEOs say they don’t trust their CMO. The reason is that marketing stats around reach and engagement, while certainly important, don’t always have a 1-to-1 impact on top-line sales metrics like pipeline and revenue.
The good news is that marketing teams are finally hearing the feedback. Our 2015 survey of B2B marketers showed that a full 70 percent of marketing teams are measured on the amount of revenue they generate from their campaigns and lead-generation activities. The end result is a better return on investment from marketing activities and a more alert marketing team that focuses on the riskiest part of the revenue generation process: the handoff between marketing and sales.
3. Create content that maps to your buyers’ needs
While nothing beats talking to a well informed and consultative sales professional, marketing collateral is often one of the first interactions a prospect has with your brand. All too frequently companies create their messaging and content in a vacuum. They bring their smartest employees into a room and task them with deciding how to frame the business challenge, position their product and generate interest.
The problem with this approach is that it does nothing to understand the market or the decision makers and influencers your sales team is trying to close. The protagonist in your content should be your prospective customers and how they achieve their goals, not your product and how you achieve yours. The best B2B marketing collateral will clearly identify your prospects’ business challenges and goals and outline how your expertise and knowledge will help them.
4. Market to every stage of the buying cycle
Most marketing teams are good at creating collateral for prospects at the top and bottom of the funnel. The issue this creates is that while marketing teams are good at growing their databases and helping convert prospects in open opportunities with their sales team, they’re lousy at helping to expedite the sales cycle.
In today’s B2B market, deals over $50,000 are sold to buying committees and take an average of over 6 months. Having a better understanding of the buying stage of different accounts and building content and campaigns that focus on moving buying committees through the marketing and sales funnel is a vital key to successful marketing that helps drive revenue.
Check out our Finding In-Market Buyers With Predictive Intelligence webinar where Kerry Cunningham of SiriusDecisions explains how predictive intelligence identifies in-market prospects.