When you read the statistics on the benefits of aligning marketing and sales for B2B organizations, you can’t help but sit up and take notice. Here are a few that caught my attention recently:
Companies with aligned sales and marketing generated 208% more revenue from marketing. (MarketingProfs)
B2B organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales achieved 24% faster revenue growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period. (SiriusDecisions)
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year.
When sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies became 67% better at closing deals. (Marketo)
Knowing that marketing and sales alignment is crucial, leads to the question: What opportunities exist today to bring the two together in a way that will lead to higher sales and ROI?
According to Liz Gelb-O’Connor, VP of Inside Sales Strategy and Growth at ADP, “Reps who use social selling are 50 percent more likely to meet or exceed their sales quota.” In addition, “anywhere from 57 percent to 90 percent of B2B purchase decisions are made by the time the buyer reaches out to a specific vendor.” Buyers are finding information online before they reach out to vendors. If buyers are searching online, many doing so on social media, it makes sense that the place to focus our marketing strategy is on social media. Enter – social selling.
B2B firms need to develop social selling strategies that will bring marketing and sales together in a way that gives both of them ownership of the process and results. So, the question becomes, what would that process look like?
Social Selling University defines social selling as using “the power of social media to understand your prospects’ needs, and actively seek the right person, with the right message at the right time.” This definition inherently involves the alignment of marketing and sales. Marketing creates the message and content based on their research on prospects’ needs and buyer data. Next, sales and marketing are both accountable for delivering the message on social media. Sales is then responsible for attracting and seeking out buyers on social networks who fit the buyer profile and developing relationships with them.
Social selling involves attracting the right buyers through an online presence on social media by publishing useful content. Several key areas for marketing to focus on here are:
Research by IDC determined that when buyers were asked “How did social media improve your purchase decisions?” the following results were revealed:
Social media and the process of social selling, if done right, enhances the buyer experience and helps develop relationships with buyers. It builds trust as buyers get to know the company and sales staff on a more personal level. Social media makes it easier than ever to position your business in the midst of your buyers online, attract them through useful content, and connect with them through social networking. B2B firms who are taking advantage of social selling have the upper hand. Aligning marketing and sales is imperative to the success of a firm’s social selling strategy.
We know that “highly aligned organizations achieve an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less-aligned companies reported an average of 7% decline in revenue.” (Aberdeen) So, how does this alignment happen? There are several factors that will increase the success of marketing and sales alignment in social selling.
If done right, social selling adds value to prospects by meeting them where they are online and offering valuable information that serves their needs. As a result, a level of trust and credibility is built which can lead to developing relationships with buyers and ultimately to an increase in sales. When aligning marketing and sales in the development of a company's social selling strategy and their efforts to carry out that strategy, higher revenue is the likely result.
How does your firm meet the challenges of aligning sales and marketing in social selling? We'd love to hear what is working for you.
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