B2B marketing and sales departments are on the same team, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.
Disconnect between the two functions is still an issue in some organizations: a recent survey by Phenomenon showed that 90 percent of B2B marketing executives feel their company has a clear value proposition, compared to only 83 percent of sales execs.
The survey showed that sales and marketing have similar, but slightly different concerns. Marketing executives placed a higher priority on combating the competition’s counter-narratives, while sales execs said their top challenge was knowing their audience and what was most important to them.
Something nearly three quarters of both B2B marketing and sales execs agreed upon was that the buying process has gotten more complex over time, with more decision makers in the mix, making it trickier to craft creative that converts.
This complexity has led to materials sometimes being created on the fly: 61 percent of sales and marketing execs said materials were often created ad hoc, instead of being organized around distinct buying needs.
Better Serving B2B Buyers’ Needs
In the past, Citrix’s marketing efforts were more product-focused, says CMO Tim Minahan. Now, the company is organized around an integrated buyer model that incorporates intelligence from a number of marketing functions from brand development to demand gen, as well as sales enablement.
Sales reps for Citrix are kept in the loop regarding what marketing campaign are in market, and what they should be doing to follow up and help build on the momentum to move prospects through the sales funnel.
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“They know what the dialogue is that they should have,” says Minahan. “For example, if there are [marketing] discussions around employee experience, they know the key things that they should be saying. We get sales enablement and field leads to the marketing table, so they are part of the process.”
To improve its processes, Relation Insurance’s B2B marketing team works in a close partnership with its sales reps to develop digital campaigns, notes Natalie Zensius, senior vice president, marketing communications. These initiatives are heavily content driven to help the sales team accelerate the customer journey, acquire and nurture leads, and close deals faster.
The team recently adopted a new CRM—moving from Salesforce to Microsoft Dynamic—and is doing a series of campaigns to capitalize on the highest value leads. “We want to find the most motivated sales producers who want to work with marketing, and look at those opportunities,” she says.
Relation is looking at early wins, and then going back to sales to show them what marketing can do to help move their bottom line, Zensius notes. “We want to show them that we can do some fluffing for you, and you don’t have to do all of this kind of stuff on your own.”
Zensius also hops on the company’s monthly national sales calls, to talk about upcoming events in marketing pipeline, such as efforts related to Relation’s recent rebranding. Part of that process was a redesign of the entire collateral system.
“It was very fragmented [thanks to numerous acquisitions of other brands by the company], and we wanted to show the impact on branding and marketing, so we took a step back, and now we’re able to focus and look at how we can sell more insurance together,” she says