Driving more revenue is the top reason to focus on sales and marketing alignment, but improving lead quality and messaging to prospects are other important benefits. There is also a need to better understand the role of content in moving prospects through the sales pipeline.
These were some of the key takeaways from a study titled: Sales Enablement: Fulfilling the Last Frontier of Marketing-Sales Alignment. The research, which was based on responses from 260 sales and marketing professions surveyed by Aberdeen Group, was presented by Corporate Visions.
“It is getting harder and harder for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” said Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Corporate Visions, said in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “They are asking themselves: What’s next? The corporate alignment that you see happening in order to create a better message is the corporate awareness that what their selling is no longer the distinguishing character. It is now how their selling, and what they’re saying when their selling.”
Respondents were also asked what the top business pressures are that motivate their company to focus resources on marketing and sales alignment:
- 53% said to improve positioning/differentiation in messaging and sales presentations to tell a better, unique story;
- 36% cited a need to better understanding of which content to use, when to use it, who to target and how to present; and
- 27% noted to increase marketing’s visibility into sales pipeline and deals closed from marketing-generated leads.
“In the era of the hidden sales cycle and content marketing, the days of marketing and sales working in isolation are long gone,” said Peter Ostrow, VP and Group Director of Sales Effectiveness at the Aberdeen Group. “The integrated demand funnel demands that marketing designs programs and content that shape the buyer’s vision, and that sales understands the context of that buyer’s journey and how to engage it effectively.”
The lack of communication between the marketing department and the sales team can greatly affect a customer’s experience, according to Riesterer. “Companies are discovering that they need to build their messages and stories in a way that is consistent with the skills that are being taught sales people in terms of having conversations with customers. The transparency helps define how the company wants to build the stories and teach the skills in the exact same way.”