Sales and marketing organizations are both tasked with adding new clients and growing revenue, but despite these shared goals, their strategies are often out of alignment (at best) or completely at odds with one another (at worst).
Research on the topic says that B2B firms that tightly align their marketing and sales teams are better at growing revenue, shortening the sales cycle, and increasing conversion rates. But sales and marketing often operate in different silos and report into different parts of the leadership team, making alignment a challenge that continues to work against their common goals.
In this episode of the B2B Nation podcast, we look at the issue of sales and marketing alignment through the eyes of a veteran B2B sales leader. Bill Caskey has been training B2B sales teams for more than 30 years and hosts a pair of podcasts of his own on B2B selling.
Our conversation covers:
- The continuing disconnect between sales and marketing that haunts many B2B organizations
- Account-based marketing (ABM), which aims to align sales and marketing efforts
- A look to the future of B2B marketing and sales.
Bill Caskey has been training B2B sales teams for nearly 30 years. He works with sales and organizations to ensure their sales team is communicating the highest possible value to clients and prospects. He is the host of two podcasts, The Advanced Selling podcast and The Bill Caskey podcast. You can learn more at www.BillCaskey.com.
Bill Caskey: I think there’s a lot of work to do in marketing and sales alignment, and I think it all begins with just being in the same room with each other. And I know that sounds simple, but I find a lot of times we don’t devote time with the sales people there, or the sales VP and marketing and we try to do it on the fly. We try to do it through email. We try to do it through text. And we shortcut the process of really getting all of the content out there, and all of the messaging out there and deciding what’s good and what’s not good.
Because a lot of the times, the marketing department will come up with something — a webpage, a webinar — and the sales team won’t have a lot of input, and vice versa. So I think the “meeting of the minds” is a place a lot of companies miss. They just don’t sit — and I know we’re not sitting in the same room today, we’re sitting on virtual calls — but the same thing applies. And we don’t devote the time we need to really get into the nitty gritty about it.
Bill Caskey: If I’m a VP of Sales at a $100-million company and I provide a list of prospects, let’s just say, I kind of want to know, “What are you going to say? How are you going to position the product and the value?” Because if you’re saying one thing in the marketing message, and my salespeople are showing up and you don’t even know based on what they say that it’s the same company, you have a problem.
I also think — and I know we throw this word around a lot today — but this notion of “story” is really critical. I’m convinced that people don’t buy products, they buy the story of what that product will do for them. And if we can’t understand how our services or our products are going to enhance the lives of the customer, down to the internal issues that we deal with every day, like performance and shame and… frustrations, and all those things the customer has — if we’re not speaking about those things and we’re just talking about how awesome the freakin’ product is — I think you miss… a lot of people.
And I think the idea of a “story” today is vital for account-based marketing because, what else is there besides your story, and where you’re taking your customer? What’s the ideal outcome that you can look a customer in the eye and say “If you work with me, this is where I’m taking you. This is what your life is going to look like when you purchase, and when you implement, and when we’re helping you be successful.”
And I thnk that’s a message component that’s kind of missed. I think we default to “What’s the product? What are the features? And what are the benefits?” And… “How can you justify buying this?” The economic justification. And I feel like you’ve got to meet people where they are. And where they are is they’re in pain. And they have issues and they have problems, and some of those problems stretch into their personal lives.
And I don’t care what you’re selling, a person is going to be approving or buying or influencing that purchase, you’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on inside their world. I think marketers aren’t good at that generally.