It's easy to forget:
Fundamentally, the role of the marketing department is to make sure that the sales department is successful. In B2B, sales owns the responsibility to deliver revenue. And marketing’s role is to make sales more productive—to help them reduce the sales cycle.
Unfortunately, frequently the marketing department can lose track of this goal. The tendency is not surprising, given the complexity of the B2B marketing terrain, and the pressure to prioritize higher-level brand awareness, lead generation, trade shows and the like. All of these initiatives support the work of sales. However, if a sales rep gets a meeting, and then doesn’t have the right materials needed to close the sale, marketing has to take some of that responsibility.
Plus, the B2B landscape is becoming increasingly complex for sales-driven companies, which are tackling external and internal issues like lengthening sales cycles, buyers’ evolving expectations and organizational silos that make collaboration difficult. Effective use of social media platforms can play a critical role in supporting sales. Here’s how:
Sales and Marketing Alignment
As B2B Buyers consume more and more content prior to engaging sales, it’s critical that sales and marketing are aligned on the customer-facing messages. If your buyers are engaging with marketing content more and more through their own research, it should pave the way for an informed sales conversation once sales becomes engaged.
Aligning the great content marketing is producing with the same value message the sales team is articulating in front of the customer creates a powerful engine that moves a customer toward your solution. Without this alignment, the customer isn’t clear on the value you provide and the sales conversation is much more difficult. A defined process that helps sales organizations leverage marketing’s content will help drive consistency and repeatability with the customer.
Social Media Use
Studies show that 74% of salespeople who beat their 2014 quota by 10% or more say they have an excellent understanding about the use of social media for prospecting, nurturing relationships and closing deals. They were over 6x as likely to exceed their quota than sales peers with rudimentary or no social media skills. (Forbes) When you consider how the connected buyer is now leveraging the web to make their decisions, it’s not surprising.
Why does social help connect your salespeople to the buyer?
The customer expects you to be connected. They want to reach your sales team on their time. Are they able to? If your customer wants to find a salesperson on LinkedIn and their profiles appear, what does the buyer see?
Part of our connected world means that a potential buyer can also see your connections and who you may have done business with in the past. The customer expects to see references and referrals, even proof points. Studies have shown that you’re more likely to do business with someone that has been recommended to you or someone you share mutual connections with. If your sales team makes a conscious effort to build a network of connections, you deliver on customer expectations of a connected buyer.
Right Place, Right Time:
Social also gives you the opportunity to meet your buyer where he/she is at any given time. It allows you to stay top of mind – consistently.
Any successful sales organization keeps its customer front and center. This shift to the connected buyer means organizations need to ensure not only their sales organization, but their entire company is ready to respond to an increasingly informed buyer.
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