B2B Lead Generation: Aligning Marketing and Sales
B2B lead generation for marketing and sales plays an important role, both standalone and together, when increasing business revenue. It is for this reason that there is now more emphasis aligning marketing and sales plans to generate and close leads in order to scale. With the B2B market getting progressively more saturated and competitive, prospects have more choice than ever.
However, marketing and sales alignment isn’t a new method. HubSpot invented the term “smarketing” in the early 2000’s. With each having their own respective funnels, successful cross-functionality between both can drive your lead generation efforts.
In today’s blog, we’re going to investigate the importance of the role of marketing and sales alignment for business success. Furthermore, we’ll provide you with a clear understanding on what misalignment can do, and how to avoid it.
What is the role of marketing and sales in B2B lead generation?
The alignment of marketing and sales is defined as the ongoing communication between both departments in order to make lead generation and conversion more efficient and effective. It is imperative for businesses to achieve a healthy balance which in turn, can generate a healthy pipeline of high-quality leads that can be converted much easier.
These funnels illustrate the roles that marketing and sales play in generating B2B leads.
The marketing funnel differs from the sales funnel in that it plays a part introducing the prospect to the brand. Marketing aims to capture the attention of prospects by being in the right place at the right time. For this to be possible, marketing teams need to understand who their customers are, and how they can offer a solution to their needs.
In this case, having a clear marketing plan can help take prospects through the buyer journey; from awareness, all the way through to action.
The main objectives of the marketing funnel are:
- Lead generation;
- Lead nurturing.
The sales funnel differs from the marketing funnel in that it delves deeper into understanding the intent behind the prospects decision. From there, sales teams can evaluate and better understand the needs of the prospect to the point they can make, or negotiate, an offer. If successful, sales can convert that lead without any real push-back.
In this case, having a clear sales plan can help make the profiling of prospects a lot more thorough, enabling them to feel more confident that what they’re getting is the best deal possible. From that point onwards, sales teams can use follow-up techniques to strengthen the relationship and even generate referrals.
The main objectives of the sales funnel are:
- Lead qualification;
- Lead conversion;
Why marketing and sales alignment is vital to B2B lead generation success
Now that we’ve covered the role marketing and sales play independently, it is evident that if both teams conduct their responsibilities well, then B2B lead generation and conversion is a lot simpler. However, that’s only half the battle. According to the Harvard Business Review, it was estimated that marketing and sales misalignment could cost businesses approximately £818 billion pounds a year in 2021. Fast forward to 2023, and the case still remains the same for many businesses. Below are just a few benefits of how aligning your marketing and sales efforts can help your business.
Efficiency within any business is a must. By understanding the roles and responsibilities of your marketing and sales, you’ll have a clearer picture of how your business is currently functioning. By streamlining your funnels, will ensure there’s a seamless process between your marketing and sales teams. This will reduce the chances of wasted leads and capitalise on lead generated by marketing, and in turn, converted by your sales team.
Improved Lead Quality
Generating B2B leads is important, but even more so, is the quality. For your business to have the greatest chance of success, leads that are high in quality, will have an increased chance in converting. But how do we achieve lead quality? By marketing and sales communicating and shadowing each other, will provide valuable insight into your ideal customer profile (ICP). As a result, your efforts can be more targeted and marketing can share more information on customer behaviour that sales can capitalise on.
In some cases, you may have the ideal customers, but they aren’t ready to buy – yet. In this case, having a well-planned lead nurturing strategy can nurture potential customers until they’re ready to buy. The aim is to provide relevant content to prospects so they can become more-informed about your company, and its services. Working in this way will ensure leads passed from marketing to sales are of the highest-quality.
Strategies for Aligning Marketing and Sales
Aligning your marketing and sales efforts doesn’t just happen overnight. By investing time and effort into creating a plan to bring your teams on the same level will provide results. Depending on your business, there are a number of strategies you can implement to align your marketing and sales efforts.
Communication and Collaboration
To get your teams on the same page, constant communication and collaboration is key. From sharing feedback, brainstorming, and providing updates will ensure each team knows where they are at. This is important, especially as messages from sales and marketing need to be consistent. Otherwise, the difference in messaging will confuse, or even alienate your target audience.
Shared Goals and KPIs
KPIs are vital to both, individual and business goals. By clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of each team and their members, will highlight what they need to do to be successful. For example, if KPIs aren’t being met, your sales and marketing team can come together and pinpoint the reasons why. This can help teams identify potential obstacles in your current strategy that could be optimised to achieve better results.
Training and Skill Development
With the B2B business landscape constantly changing, keeping up-to-date can be challenging. However, by investing in training and providing the necessary tools for skills development will put you in a good place. In this case, providing training where sales can understand more about marketing and vice versa, will provide a clear overview of how the business should operate as a whole when sales and marketing align. An example of this could be organising cross-departmental workshops that gets your teams in one place and learn at once.
In conclusion, the alignment of marketing and sales is not a new concept, but it remains a crucial factor contributing to success. In a highly competitive and saturated market where prospects have abundant choices, the synergy between these two departments becomes paramount.
It’s evident that misalignment can cost businesses significantly. By investing in both marketing and sales teams to help align their efforts, is a strategic move that can yield substantial returns in B2B lead generation and overall business success.
To find out more about our B2B telemarketing and lead generation services, contact us today at 0330 808 0866 or head to our website to get in touch.