Driving revenue has never been more critical—or more challenging. These five best practices can help marketing to partner with sales to close more deals.
The direct and residual effects of COVID-19 have impacted businesses in every way—from travel bans to employees working from home to budget cuts across the board. B2B companies that previously relied primarily on in-person marketing and sales tactics, such as meetings and events. Today, most companies are in the process of pivoting more than ever to digital and virtual programs -- and still seeing great (sometimes better) results!
Savvy B2B marketing leaders will bring their organizations closer by creating tighter alliances with sales as they rationalize what is likely to be a reduced budget for 2020 on programs that are directly tied to revenue. The first step in shifting marketing resources to better support sales is an understanding of how the pandemic is impacting their organization.
“The COVID-19 outbreak is the latest reminder that sales organizations have unique challenges that arise during large-scale disruptions to business,” said Steve Herz, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “Handled appropriately, such crises—whether health pandemics, natural disasters or other uncontrollable acts—represent tremendous downside risks, but good decisions made now can position the organization to thrive in the long term.” – Gartner
During a crisis like COVID-19, marketing and sales must partner tightly and function in lockstep in order to continue to deliver on the brand promise of a satisfying omnichannel customer experience (CX). Below are five best practices that marketing can implement immediately in order to strengthen the alliance with sales and drive business in 2020:
Review and tighten messaging and communication channels. Consistent messaging, transparency and communication discipline are more important than ever before for businesses that need to maintain customers’ confidence in the brand and to support ongoing sales activities.
Give sales the insights that will help them sell and manage their sales process by including rich sales data in their CRM that will give them a quick snapshot of the prospects’ engagement, interest level and fit. Also, include play-by-play access to what the prospect has been provided by marketing. **If you have specific data from analysts or other research about your prospects’ current disposition, possible willingness to buy, drivers, etc., make sure you incorporate this into your sales plays and content immediately.
Help salespeople be more accessible than ever by providing additional, easy to spin up, communication channels. Perhaps you can start using Slack and let them invite all of their prospects in so that a prospect can reach out to them with any need; maybe it’s a new chatbot platform than enables immediate access to common questions as well as a way to advance to a ‘human’ when needed.
Get creative with your programs to replace in-person sales meetings, keeping in mind that many professionals are currently working from home. It’s likely to be a while before things are ‘back to normal’ so look for ways to support sales’ ability to get a prospect’s attention. Start using video in your outreach programs, create personalized landing pages for each prospect that will set your company and the salesperson apart. Try out a ‘virtual care package’ or ‘virtual lunch meeting’ (no one wants to actually watch a salesperson eat their pastrami on rye via video -- so choose your meal wisely).
Put customer needs first by educating your salespeople on empathy and arming them with the tools that will serve the prospect before the salesperson. They may not win as many deals or get as many calls, but when things pick up again they will be remembered as the ones that cared more about other than themselves.
Need some help in getting creative and revising your marketing and sales enablement programs? Schedule a Discovery Session today.
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