I had the pleasure of being on The Predictable Revenue Podcast with Collin Stewart recently. We had a great conversation about what it takes to be successful in connecting with the modern B2B buyer and winning their business. If you didn’t have a chance to catch my episode, check out a great summary of our conversation below.
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Sometimes the most obvious ideas can be the most difficult or elusive to execute. Case in point: having your sales and marketing teams work together to grow your business. Seems so simple, right? Afterall, these are the two functions in every company explicitly tasked with revenue generation.
Unfortunately, those shared ideals have, historically, run counter to how marketing and sales have actually worked. You know the drill: marketing is expected to generate as many leads as they can every month, by hook or by crook. And once they bring them in, they deliver them to the sales team to work.
That system, historically, has worked.
But things have changed – buyer expectations have matured and, as such, sales and marketing teams have been forced to design more nuanced approaches to company growth. And a more nuanced growth playbook requires better alignment between marketing and sales.
“This is the business transformation we’re talking about. Sales and marketing can’t operate in silos. The overarching theme here is that sales and marketing begin to look at themselves as a cohesive revenue engine,” says Jeff Davis, noted consultant and podcast host, on a past edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.
So...how has the modern buyer changed? Goliath B2C technologies such as Netflix and Spotify, says Davis, have changed our expectations of the B2B buying process. For example, signing up with a streaming service requires no interaction with a sales team. You input your email address, credit card number, and choose a password – that’s it.
In fairness, complex B2B software such as procurement tools or accounting suites require much more hand-holding to sell: buyers need to know the software they’re purchasing satisfies their security requirements and integrates with their existing technology. Such critical considerations notwithstanding, Davis says the B2B buying process doesn’t have to be as cumbersome as we’ve made it.
It can even be fun.
“We need to realize that our personal lives are changing the expectations we have in our professional lives. When you begin to be serviced in a way that is easy and tailored to you, you start to expect that at work,” says Davis.
Know Your Sales Process...Firsthand
You may think your sales process is dynamic already. And, in some respects, that’s probably true. But, every business function needs to be tightened up from time to time.
To understand the experience your buyers are having with your product, have your sales and marketing team experience the process as a consumer. What better way to get a firsthand look at what you’re asking your buyers to do?
“We have made the buying process so complicated – discovery calls, demos, second demos etc. And we don’t know how it feels until we step back and think like the buyer,” says Davis.
“So, walk through your sales process as a buyer and ask: “how does this feel?”
How that process ends up changing to better reflect the buyer will be different for every company. Maybe your company needs to improve its discovery. Or, potentially, your sales content isn’t resonating. Maybe, it’s both aspects.
But regardless of where you change your sales process, the only way to know where to make those changes is to experience that buying process. From there, you can really start to provide your prospects with what they need to make a buying decision.
“So we need to know who our real customers are, why they care, and, then, how to attract more of those. We have to stop thinking volume, and take a more targeted approach,” says Davis.
A Framework to Alignment Transformation
Okay, so you’ve outlined areas for improvement in your sales funnel to better support your buyer’s needs. And both your sales and marketing team is on the same page after having experienced your process firsthand.
What’s left? Officially aligning your marketing and sales team to develop a high-performance Revenue Engine.
Again, how a company does that will be unique to them – some establish “revenue” teams, comprised of both marketing and sales. Other companies expect sales and marketing leaders to work more closely together through a series of weekly meetings and check-ins.
To help companies find the alignment that suits them, Davis developed a three-pillar approach to bringing marketing and sales into better alignment. This framework helps them take a system approach to alignment rather than a functional, siloed approach.
Data – Every company needs to have a strong data strategy. And that data must be clean – if it isn’t up to date, it doesn’t matter what systems you have.
Process – This is about designing an end-to-end revenue generation process. How are you getting leads? Is it events? SEO? How are you transitioning those leads between functions ? And, how do you get them to close?
Communication – Modern communication requires formal feedback loops – executed in scheduled meetings where both internal and external communication needs to be addressed.
“Everything that I’ve seen that needs to be done to establish the foundation of alignment falls into one of those three buckets,” says Davis.
Alignment Requires People to Know Each Other
But don’t forget: this work is, fundamentally, a people issue. It’s people that design holistic processes, it’s people that staff your marketing and sales teams, and it’s people that buy your product or service.
“Sales doesn’t know about marketing and vice versa. That prevents people from approaching their counterpart – they don’t even know what to say. People need to see themselves as part of a unified revenue engine. That is paramount,” says Davis.
Need help building a Revenue Engine that can turn modern buyers into customer? Then book a complimentary meeting to discuss how we can work together.