In our last article on the challenges of running marketing for B2B we provided some strategies to improve digital marketing performance and find opportunities for growth.
The problem is that digital marketing efforts are only one part of the process. We found that a large part of the struggle in B2B marketing is bridging the gap between the sales and marketing teams.
Why Is Closing the Sales and Marketing Gap Important?
If you’ve worked in B2B marketing for any extended period, you’ve run into the following vicious cycle scenario:
Your SVP of sales calls you in for an urgent meeting and says the sales team is wasting time and money chasing down low-quality leads and, according to the sales team, they are all coming in from paid media efforts. You’re asked to reduce paid search spend immediately. The marketing team pauses most of the non-branded and higher funnel campaigns.
The next week, your SVP of sales calls you for another meeting worried that sales will not meet their sales goal for the quarter because lead volume has trickled. You’re asked to increase lead volume immediately. The marketing team enables the non-branded and higher funnel campaigns.
Pausing and enabling campaigns results in inconsistent performance that negatively impacts everyone:
- The marketing channels are not providing the proper data and insights for the marketing team to make well-informed decisions, especially when using automation
- The marketing team is frustrated by the reactivity of the business which is holding back tests and analysis
- The sales team is constantly surprised and ill-prepared to deal with the sales opportunity flux
How Can Businesses Minimize the Sales and Marketing Gap?
Fortunately, there are several ways to escape this hellish rollercoaster with the end-goal in mind of creating a cohesive link between your sales and marketing teams.
Step 1: Set Up Marketing Tech the Right Way
Whether it’s SalesForce, GA4, Adobe, Hubspot or any other platform, we’ve all heard the adage “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” And yet, in many cases, businesses do not have the right data going to the right places. Or worse than that, don’t have data at all.
Software does not automatically solve all business issues. Each tool needs to be set up appropriately to answer your business needs. Additionally, your business needs to feed the data the platform needs into it, so that the marketing and sales teams can learn from it. If the platform isn’t getting the data, how would we expect the teams to learn, adjust, and grow?
Your first step then is to ask the following questions:
- What is the data we need?
- Is our technology set up to capture the data that we need?
- Is our technology set up to provide reports on the data it is capturing?
Step 2: Make Sure All Teams Have Access to the Same Data
Having the right platforms that fit the business needs is great and setting them up to deliver the data is even better, but to really shift performance, teams must be allowed as much access as possible and have proper training to understand the data to create actionable insights. Both the marketing and sales teams need to see what each is reporting and agree on common goals.
When your business data is able to identify the quality of the traffic and lead (by company name, size, job title) and its sources, the sales team can decide on the appropriate time spent and response type on the lead and the marketing team can decide whether to increase/decrease investment in the source. Want more specifics? See our article on lead validation and using CRM data.
Step 3: Break the Silos
In many cases marketing and sales teams are siloed resulting in inefficient communication:
Replacing silos with a frictionless process for marketing and sales teams to communicate freely with one another helps both teams adjust to changes quickly.
An important step we’ve seen work well is for both teams to have a monthly joint meeting where they share findings and insights and propose new tests or new analyses.
Additionally, the marketing team needs to design incrementality tests in a market match environment. Designing appropriate tests will reduce the time and effort from the sales team to gather data and provide feedback to the marketing team easily and quickly.
The reality is that B2B sales do take time to develop: some sales cycles take months. Marketing and sales often do not communicate directly or use the same data which delays results even further.
For one of our B2B clients, our paid media team spent over a year optimizing the account based solely on conversion volume, without any insight into what ultimately became a bad or good lead.
We highlighted this as a critical gap in the process, which drove a longer-term effort of creating a feedback loop from the client’s sales and marketing teams to understand true SQL volume. The client built reports in their CRM systems that our team was able to access on a weekly basis. Having insight into this critical data allowed our team to strategize and optimize based on knowing exactly which conversions were leading to SQLs, creating a $207k increase in potential revenue. This feedback loop also created an opportunity for the marketing team to coordinate with sales on understanding the paid media sales funnel, which enabled them to provide better feedback about their ideal customer persona. Read more about it here.
A business cannot grow at a pace to reach its goals waiting for feedback on marketing initiatives. The shorter the loop, the faster the business can learn which marketing channels create the best opportunities for sales.
In our next article, we’ll review what is the best media mix for your B2B business and reveal (un)Common Logic’s decision tree matrix.
Contact us to talk about your B2B paid media marketing efforts and how our (un)Common approach can help!