Marketing and Sales Alignment Strategies That Cut Wasted Time and Boost Business Growth

Marketing and Sales Alignment Strategies That Cut Wasted Time and Boost Business Growth

You know that old saying, “work smarter, not harder”? It’s safe to say that’s an idea we can all get behind. No one wants to spend hours of their day working on a project that won’t produce results.

Unfortunately, in the case of many businesses who do not have aligned sales and marketing teams, the concept of working harder on projects that might not ever see the light of day is an everyday reality.

In fact, misalignment between sales and marketing teams has been shown to cost B2B companies 10% or more of their revenue every year.

This SlideShare from The TAS Group states, “lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget costs companies at least $1 trillion a year.”

Both of those stats offer up compelling arguments for making a change to sales and marketing alignment. Beyond just saving your sales and marketing teams wasted effort and budget though, sales and marketing alignment can actually offer some benefits to your company, delivering pretty impressive returns when implemented properly:

Aligning your sales and marketing teams is one perfect example of working smarter, not harder.  When your sales and marketing teams are aligned, everyone does less work to obtain a higher quantity of better, more targeted clients. Then, you can allocate all of that additional time and energy into inbound marketing and sales strategies that you know will help your company generate revenue and grow.

So, how do you get there?

Sure, sales and marketing alignment sounds nice, but can you actually make it happen, and how much work will it take?

Honestly, it depends on your company.

If you already have both sales and marketing teams onsite, you can get started by just getting everyone in the same room every week or so. If you’re a larger company with sales and marketing teams that work remotely or on different campuses, it might take a bit more effort. And if your company doesn’t really have a marketing team, you could have a still longer road ahead of you. (Or, you can hire a marketing team to help you out. More info on that here.)

No matter where you are, aligning your sales and marketing teams will take work. But with a potential return of 208% more revenue, it should feel like the work is worth it. Click To Tweet

If you’re interested in aligning your marketing and sales teams to boost revenue and cut out wasted time, we support you. In fact, we’re going to give you six sales and marketing alignment strategies to help you do it. Check ’em out:

via GIPHY

Communicate

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: communication will always be the key to successful marketing and sales alignment. The first and best way to get your sales and marketing teams on the first page is to get them in the same room, chatting about their wins and challenges.

Too often, it feels like sales and marketing are pitted against each other. Sales isn’t happy about the quality of leads marketing is sending over, and marketing feels frustrated that sales didn’t follow up with all of the leads they’re sending over.

Getting your two teams in the same room is the first step to getting them to work together. Once you know what everyone is frustrated about, and also what they’re cool with, you can start making a little bit of headway towards alignment.

Consider Cross-Departmental Training or Shadowing

One great marketing and sales alignment strategy is to put each team in the others’ shoes for a day or even a week. When they have the opportunity to see how the other team works, what their day looks like, and what challenges they face regularly, they’ll be able to function together more efficiently.

We get that this is an easy way to disrupt your regular business flow, so start slow. Take one team member at a time, and have them shadow someone from the other team for an afternoon. Make sure the team members you choose are both excited about the potential benefits that alignment can provide, and you’ll find that both parties will learn something from the experience.

When the afternoon is up, your salesperson can report back to their team what they learned, and the marketing person can their team what struggles the sales team is having that they could help with.  

Encourage Sales Input on Content Development

According to Forbes, 60% of B2B content never gets used. Whether the sales team doesn’t feel like it fits their individual client’s pain points, or they don’t even know it exists, sales input is an invaluable resource when it comes to content development.

Your sales team has an intimate, one-on-one relationship with each buyer. They speak to them personally and they understand their specific, unique challenges and goals for the future. This alone should make them your marketing team’s number one resource for content development.  

If you’re not sure how to implement more sales input on marketing content development without seriously slowing down your publishing schedule, start by having the sales team take a look at your content calendar. (You do have a content calendar, right?)

They can tell you which content they’ll really be able to use, and offer a few key points to include for each upcoming post that will help you speak specifically to your target buyer’s challenges and goals.  

Work Together To Establish A Common Language

Marketing and sales haven’t historically worked together all that much, especially in more traditional industries like manufacturing. Traditionally, marketing works to create brand awareness, get the word out there, and make sure everyone knows what your company has to offer. In that older business model, sales either take the leads that come in or (more likely) they go around looking for (read: cold calling) those perfect leads themselves.

This disjointed approach to sales and marketing as separate entities has fostered two different languages for both teams. They have different definitions of leads, they don’t have the same understanding of what makes a good lead, and they have fundamentally different goals.

Sales and marketing alignment strategies start by working to establish a common language that makes sense to both teams. Click To TweetWith that set in place, your marketing team can work to bring in the leads your sales team actually wants, and your sales team can focus their efforts on selling, rather than cold-calling.

To establish a common language that works for both teams, sales and marketing have to come up with the same definitions for these three things:

  • What A Lead Is
  • How You Score Leads
  • A Quality Service Level Agreement

What A Lead Is

It’s important that your sales and marketing teams both understand what makes a lead a good lead. And as you probably know, there are two types of leads: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). It’s possible that you’ve even defined these in the past.

But have your sales and marketing teams defined them together?

Both marketing and sales should offer input on the definitions of MQLs and SQLs, so that both teams understand what qualifications are necessary for both lead types. One clear definition, for both teams, will help with the lead handoff process, and it will help both teams understand which leads and prospects need what specific service or lead nurturing content.

With a solid foundation in place, everyone can move forward more confidently towards a tight alignment between sales and marketing that cuts out wasted time and boosts revenue.

How You Score Leads

Traditionally, the sales team has developed a process for determining which leads might be more valuable to your company than others. This process is called lead scoring.

If your goal is to get sales and marketing teams aligned for better business growth, it’s important to have your marketing team in on the lead scoring calculation. They need to know what makes a lead most attractive to sales, and why.

With that information, marketing can determine which leads could use more nurturing through the marketing process, and they can better streamline their efforts to influence target buyers in the markets that offer the highest return. By bringing the marketing team into the lead scoring conversation, you help them understand what to look for in a quality lead that shows they are likely to close.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

One of the biggest killers of marketing sales alignment is unbalanced reporting and goals. Too often, the sales team feels like they’re under the microscope to close sales, and the marketing team feels that the sales team isn’t acting on all of the leads they’re passing along. A service level agreement, (SLA) is the solution to this reporting imbalance.

A Service Level Agreement is a sort of contract that helps clear up some of this misdirected pressure, while still holding both teams accountable to goals that further your company’s overall revenue and growth goals. For example, with a quality SLA, your marketing team may be responsible for delivering a certain number of quality leads each month. Then, your sales team may be responsible for converting a certain percentage of those quality leads each month.

This agreement makes it clear what each team is accountable for, while still framing it in the light of one overall company goal — to produce more revenue and long-lasting clients for the company by converting highly qualified leads.

Every company’s SLA will look a little different. What’s important is that you get the sales and marketing teams together to agree on an SLA that’s fair and contributes to your company’s growth goals. When both teams understand what they’re accountable for, and that accountability feels fair to both sides, you’ll get a lot more out of everyone.

Leverage Sales Enablement Tools

It’s easy to forget that the sales team can benefit from inbound methodology tools as much as your marketing team can. Many of your favorite marketing platforms and CRMs are designed to help your sales team as much as they are your marketing team.

Encourage your sales team to use tools like email sequences and CRMs that implement lead scoring systems for you. The information they put in the CRM, and the data they generate helps them make better selling decisions, and it offers valuable information for the marketing team to move forward and optimize with as well.

When your sales team is comfortable with enablement tools, it’s also easier for your them to reach out to marketing and ask for content that will help them close deals.

Case studies, whitepapers, and ebooks about your product or service are all assets that are traditionally created by marketing. When sales is empowered to ask specifically for the content they know will help them close deals, marketing can focus their efforts on just the content that sales knows will be powerful and impactful to your buyer personas.

And again, that’s an effort that cuts down on wasted time, while still promoting the targeted lead nurturing tasks that will help your company grow.

Keep a Common Goal in Mind

Finally, one of the hands-down best sales and marketing alignment strategies is to set a common goal. Even though sales and marketing do different things and have different processes, they’re both on the same team. When they’re both working towards the same goal, it’s so much easier to see that they’re on the same team. Make that overarching goal clear to both teams, and you’ll see the results that marketing and sales alignment can deliver.

The more closely your sales and marketing teams are aligned, the more efficient your company will be in identifying qualified leads and closing deals. And when you close deals efficiently, you work smarter, and you grow.

If you’re looking for more sales and marketing alignment strategies, tools, or tricks, we’d love to help. As a digital marketing agency, we often align with B2B sales teams to promote overall company growth, and we also train companies with existing sales and marketing teams how to align for better results. To learn more about what we do, get in touch.

zeeland-lumber-ctas


5 Reasons Why Your B2B Website Isn’t Generating Leads

5 Reasons Why Your B2B Website Isn’t Generating Leads

The primary goal of any business activity is to increase profit, and your digital presence is no exception. Your B2B website exists to market your company, products, and services to potential future customers and convert them into leads. For many B2Bs, those visitors and conversions aren’t appearing. Here are five reasons why your B2B website isn’t generating any leads:

#1 Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly

Teens aren’t the only ones addicted to their cell phones. Nearly everyone is accessing the internet from mobile devices rather than desktop computers. What this means is that people are seeing your site on a variety of different screen sizes, and your website needs to be adaptable to any size screen. If not, your site will be too difficult to access and people are going to quickly navigate away.

#2 Your Website Is Old and Outdated

You’d think that at some point, we could stop saying it, but that day has never come: there are a lot of B2B websites that are old and out of date. Your website needs to be more than just a digital version of your current marketing materials, a few static pages with no way to get in contact except your phone number.

To create a site that generates leads, you need beautiful and functional user-friendly design, mobile responsivity, regularly updated content (get a blog!), and lots of content for visitors and search engines to read. Click To Tweet (Learn more about making your website an actual tool for success here.)

#3 Your Website Doesn’t Have Any Calls-To-Action

If you never ask your website visitors to become leads, you can’t convert them to leads. That’s why you need calls-to-action (a.k.a. CTAs) all over your site. A CTA is often a button or link that asks the reader to do something, to “request a quote” or “contact us.”

These calls to action need to address the content they are surrounded by as well as the stage of the buyer’s journey that your potential lead is in. Some prospects might not be ready to give your sales team a call—but they might be interested in an ebook with more information on the topic you addressed in your most recent blog, and gladly give you their email address in exchange for it.

#4 Your Website Doesn’t Use Any Landing Pages

If your paid search and PPC ads are directing clicks to your website’s home page, you’re missing out on huge opportunities to convert visitors to leads. Landing pages ensure that visitors who click on specific ads are seeing the specific content that is relevant to them.

Additionally, landing pages are essentially one big CTA—they limit options for the visitors to navigate away from the page, offer them the information they want, and include forms for visitors to enter their contact information and convert. They’re also crucial for tracking analytics and gating your content offers. Learn more in our post Landing Pages: Why Your B2B Manufacturing Website Needs Them.

#5 Your Site Content Wasn’t Written With SEO and Inbound Marketing Best Practices In Mind

Like we’ve said before: print marketing copy does not website copy make. Click To TweetYour website content needs to incorporate strategically chosen keywords related to your products, services, and desired clients’ needs. Your site should also incorporate various types of content, including page content, blog posts, and content offers such as ebooks, PDFs, and whitepages. Read here for a more in-depth look at optimizing your B2B manufacturing website page content.

HA Digital Marketing is a growth agency: lead generation is what we do. If you’re looking to generate more leads with your company’s website through proven best practices, it’s time you get in touch.

Not convinced? Read how to make your B2B manufacturing website a lead generation machine, or schedule time with John to hear firsthand how we’ve worked with other industrial manufacturers to drive significant growth. 
heritage-senior-communities-ctas

PPC for B2B Manufacturers: Everything You Need to Know

PPC for B2B Manufacturers: Everything You Need to Know

PPC advertisement is one of the quickest, most efficient, and most effective methods of getting your company name in front of prospective customers, driving traffic to your website, and converting leads. If you’re marketing your B2B in the digital space, you need to have a PPC strategy. Here’s what you need to know about PPC for B2Bs.

First of All, What is PPC?

PPC stands for pay-per-click advertising, which is pretty straightforward: it is digital advertising for which you’re charged every time someone clicks on your ad. Most of the ads you see online every day are PPC ads. There are three major kinds of PPC ads: search network (a.k.a. paid search) ads, digital network ads, and social media (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn) ads. Click To Tweet

How Do PPC Ads Work?

Paid search ads make your site a top result when people search for your chosen keywords—these are the sponsored links you’ve undoubtedly seen before when searching for something on Google. You select the keywords for which you want to be a top search result and the area in which you want to be the top result (local, regional, national, etc.), and your link is in the top results for people using those search terms, which drives clients to your site or landing pages. (New to paid search? Freshen up on the basics in our Complete Guide to Outbound Marketing.)

Display network ads are text and image ads purchased through a specific network (like Google) and are displayed on affiliate sites, garnering lots of relevant views. These affiliates can include local news sites, mobile apps, or other popular sites.

Social media ads are effectively targeted ads, as native advertisements or sidebar ads, on a specific social media platform. Because the users of social media platforms provide so much demographic information, you can easily target your ads to your ideal client type.

For B2B manufacturers, LinkedIn ads are one of the most effective types of PPC ads. LinkedIn a) has tons of users, b) allows you to target users by industry, company, job title, and job function so you can specifically target your ideal customers, and c) provides stats on who clicked on your ads so you can determine whether your ads are effective. (Read more on LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing here.)

How Can I Use PPC Ads Effectively for My B2B Manufacturing Company?

First, know that you should be using PPC ads. Then, develop a keyword strategy. You need to determine the keywords that are relevant to your business and industry, the search terms your potential customers use when looking for your products or services, and the keywords that your competitors are using.

You can use that information to create ad campaigns that take advantage of certain keywords strategically, and to deploy PPC campaigns for those strategic keywords across relevant platforms.

For more manufacturing PPC tips, be sure to check out 5 Easy Ways to Maximize your B2B’s PPC Budget, which has lots of useful information on how to bid on brand, optimize deployment, and otherwise get the most bang for your PPC-ad-spend-buck.

If PPC for B2Bs is too many acronyms for you, HA Digital Marketing can help. We create and deploy optimized PPC campaigns that will generate leads for your B2B manufacturing company and increase your marketing ROI — that’s an acronym we know you love. If you’re ready to expand your digital marketing strategy to include PPC advertising, get in touch.

esafety-ctas

Optimizing Your B2B Manufacturing Website Page Content

Optimizing Your B2B Manufacturing Website Page Content

Last month, we talked about why inbound marketing matters for B2Bs, specifically industrial manufacturers, and in that post, how crucial it is for B2Bs to have digital content that is optimized for search (if you missed Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers, read it here). Your website is your company’s primary representation in the digital world, and it’s important that your content is optimized to best attract future customers.

In case your manufacturing page content could use a little love, here are a few tips to optimizing B2B page content for the clients you actually want:

Website Page Content Is Not Print Marketing Copy

Many B2B manufacturers make the mistake of treating their website like it’s a brochure or flyer. Some even go so far as to directly copy all of the content from their print marketing materials right onto their new websites. While you might be able to gather some useful information and content ideas from your current print marketing copy, you shouldn’t just copy it. It’s not designed for the way people read websites. Click To Tweet

Additionally, digital content has many more capabilities than print, including linking, embedding video, and searchability. These are all capabilities you should take advantage of, as interactive page elements like links and video work well to gain viewers’ attention.

How Do You Optimize Manufacturing Page Content?

Like all digital content, your website page content should use SEO principles, specifically, by including the keywords that relate to that page and your business. These should be words and phrases your ideal customers are typing in when they search for your products or services. (For more on why SEO matters for B2Bs, click here.)

But unlike blog posts, content offers, and other digital content, the purpose and tone depends upon the type of page:

  • Blogs and the like are primarily informative, used to refresh your site’s content, optimize your site for relevant keywords, and provide prospective customers with information they need about your product, service, or industry.
  • Website page content is also informative, but it’s more explicitly promotional—it informs prospective customers about your specific products and services, as well as your company itself. Your page content needs to tell website visitors what you do, what you sell, how you do it, and who you are, and you need to do it in a way that speaks to the kinds of customers you want to attract.

How?

To truly optimize your page content, you need to have comprehensive pages on your products or services. Click To TweetThose pages need to include the keywords your future customers are searching. You also need to segment your customer base and create paths specifically tailored to each type of buyer.

Check out how we’ve optimized our site for our target buyers: in the main navigation bar under “Who We Help” we have each of our client segments— Manufacturing & Industrial Marketing, Developer & Home Builder Marketing, and Professional Services & Small Business Marketing.

who-we-help-evenbound-home-page

For each of those segments, we have page content that addresses how our inbound marketing and growth services will help clients in those industries meet and exceed their marketing and growth goals. These pages include links to relevant case studies, testimonials, and clients who are in the specific customer segment, to demonstrate our experience in the needs of the industry.

If your B2B manufacturing website is outdated or failing to generate leads, your page content could be part of the problem. Evenbound has experience working with B2B and industrial manufacturing clients to optimize page content and implement inbound marketing practices and digital content strategy, and we can create a website that will generate leads and foster growth. Interested in learning more? Let’s start the conversation.

Not ready to chat yet? No worries! Check out the case study below to see how our process delivers legitimate results for our manufacturing clients:

geolean-ctas