Office romances are almost always a bad idea. Invariably, they’re kryptonite to productivity: starry-eyed lovers spend more time flirting than they do working, the rumour mill has a heyday, and, worst of all, when it all goes south you’re stuck with two employees who can’t bear working together anymore. But there’s one ‘office romance’ that’s well worth nurturing, and that’s the relationship between your sales and marketing teams.
When sales and marketing teams function as separate entities, the sales team wastes hours on cold lists.
Traditionally, things like brand awareness and advertising were the marketing team’s domain, while the sales team was responsible for almost the entire buyer journey. The biggest problem with this setup is that your sales team ends up wasting untold hours on cold lists – with nothing to show but a poorly success rate. This is because cold lists are filled with unqualified leads who either aren’t ready to buy yet – or in fact never will. According to Gleanster Research, “only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales.” That means that a whopping 75% of the leads on a cold list are a total waste of your sales team’s time.
Modern sales and marketing methodologies recognise that marketing should be responsible for 80% of the buyer journey.
Modern sales and marketing methodologies like inbound marketing don’t lump sales teams with reams of unqualified leads. Instead, the marriage of sales and marketing – often referred to as ‘smarketing’ – results in the marketing team taking responsibility for a much larger part of the sales process. This is because modern consumers decide what to buy, and who to buy it from, based on their own web-based research. As a result, they don’t respond to advertising like they used to, and they’re certainly not receptive to unsolicited sales calls or emails. Instead, they use search engines like Google to find informative, educational online content that they can trust. Based on what they learn online – from blogs, social media posts, product review sites, YouTube videos, and more – they make purchase decisions. It’s only at this late stage in the decision making process that they’re prepared to speak to a salesperson.
When sales and marketing are in bed together, the sales team only has to work with hot lists.
When the marketing team takes charge of 80% of the buyer journey, they’re able to use content marketing to nurture cold leads. By creating useful, educational, conversion-driven online content, marketing ensures that potential customers find your website when performing online research. Marketing then turns cold leads into hot-to-buy leads by entering them into lead nurturing workflows that use helpful content to guide leads down the path to purchase. With the help of marketing automation, the marketing team monitors leads’ online behaviour. As soon as a lead does something to indicate that they’re ready to buy, they’re considered qualified, and they’re handed over to the sales team. Qualified leads are every salesperson’s dream; they understand your product, know exactly what they want to buy and – best of all – they’re receptive to sales calls. That’s why, according to HubSpot, “nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.”
When marketing implements lead nurturing, sales numbers rise.
Unlike other office romances, a love affair between sales and marketing, when coupled with content marketing and modern lead management practices, is a very good thing for business. The result is a productive, effective sales team that closes more deals. Don’t just take my word for it, data from CSO Insights shows that “[companies] with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate.”
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