Are You Aligning your Marketing Effort with Sales?

lego-estherIn risk management services and solutions marketing, making the connections between marketing and sales is a critical, but often overlooked step in building a business.  A risk management solution can be extremely complex – whether it is a set of services or new software.  Making a sale in this arena requires a deep relationship with the end user.

Historically, organizations have considered the relationship-building piece of creating a sale to be the responsibility of the sales group.  However, as the Internet becomes a strong buyer resource in the early stages of the buying cycle, the model for success has been changing.  Marketing messaging and programs have become essential to moving a buyer through the various stages of the buying process.  Here are some things to consider:

Relationship Building Begins Early

Buyers are relying more and more on the Internet to help understand their problems and determine how to address them.  To make a connection, companies can build trust by providing information about risk compliance, pending legislation and other issues, such as ratings, that influence purchase decisions.  Marketing can help to initiate and build the relationship through webinars, email campaigns, thought leadership and social media.  The results of these programs have become easier to track and connect to sales through CRM and marketing systems.

Lead Nurturing is Marketing’s Core Activity

New tracking tools have made it easier for marketers to nurture and score leads, as well as to make a hand-off to sales.  Lead hand-off and management was rated the least challenging activity in the funnel process by 1,745 marketers in the MarketingSherpa B2B Benchmarking Survey.

Marketing and Sales Still Need Better Connections

In the same survey, converting qualified leads to paid customers, however, was rated the most challenging demand generation activity.  This finding may point to a need for marketing and sales to work more collaboratively on messaging – in presentations, meetings or proposals – at the later stages of the buying cycle. To close a deal with an intangible solution, clients need to feel they are buying a solution that addresses their specific problems.  The messaging needs to fit with the client needs.  In your organization, does marketing step out of the process after a lead has been handed off to sales?  If so, it may be time to consider ways that marketing can support sales in connecting all the dots and presenting a cohesive, tailored solution.  Many companies are beefing up their sales enablement functions as well as instituting account-based marketing processes to ensure that once a lead is qualified, everything is done to make the sale.

Is your organization challenged with converting qualified leads to paid customers?