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Technology has empowered consumers, allowing them to research and compare brands without ever speaking to a sales representative or setting foot in a store. Tech giants like Google and Amazon have further influenced the digital experience with personalized product recommendations and intuitive search models that display exactly what people are looking for in fractions of a second.
This has led to significant changes in consumer behavior, transforming the buyer’s journey into a self-contained, non-linear journey that spans multiple channels. To keep up, companies must abandon “the old ways” and implement new strategies that put the customer first.
One strategy is to unify sales and marketing teams. Research on the economics of alignment shows that when an organization’s sales, marketing, and product functions are aligned, that organization achieves 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability. But how do we get there?
It starts with a common goal of generating income. As part of a unified approach, marketing and sales teams don’t silo their data in separate departments, but house it in a single source of truth from which they both work. They have a clear and agreed-upon definition of the buyer’s journey and understand that it is not a one-way funnel, but a winding path where buyers move easily from marketing to sales and back when they are considering their purchase options.
With a solid understanding of the modern buyer’s journey, clear definitions of its stages, and a single source of comprehensive customer data, sales and marketing functions are empowered to optimize all stages of the buyer’s journey. This optimization means more effective demand generation efforts powered by shared content, nurtured upselling and personalization strategies.
Related: 3 Ways to Get Your Sales and Marketing Teams to Stop Fighting
Reorganize content to meet shopping behavior
Content plays an important role in today’s shopping behavior. In fact, the average buyer today navigates 60-70% of their buying journey independently, mostly online. This makes content the bread and butter of demand generation. It is a low-entry method of introducing a product or service to an audience while providing them with the knowledge they seek, while building awareness and trust.
But to be effective, the content must be relevant. Marketers, top content creators, traditionally cast wide nets when generating high-funnel demand. There’s a lot of interest in this tactic, but sales will be the first to say that quantity of leads doesn’t equal quality. Salespeople speak to customers who are buying on a daily basis. They have an in-depth knowledge of different buyer wants, needs, and pain points, making them a wealth of information for content development. Under a unified approach, marketing would leverage this knowledge to create content that not only piques interest, but also grabs the attention of those most likely to buy.
Another strategy supported by unified sales and marketing teams is content mapping. This process uses input from both sides to categorize content into the different stages of the buying journey where it would be most effective. This extends the effectiveness of existing content and provides sales with a curated library of reference materials for later-stage buyers while informing marketing of areas of content that could be improved.
Related: Aligning Sales and Marketing Should Be Your Priority
Optimize upsell strategies to existing customers
It is common knowledge that existing customers are a great source of income. Upselling and cross-selling offer lucrative opportunities at lower cost. But, especially in B2B selling, these opportunities often have to wait for next year’s budget or additional approval before moving forward, resulting in long periods between expression of intent and completion. ‘purchase. Instead of letting those opportunities cool off, a unified approach allows sales to recycle that opportunity back to marketing as a lead to nurture with relevant content and keep the mindset going until it’s time to make a decision. This keeps the opportunity engaged while allowing sales to focus on prospects currently in a purchase-ready phase.
Related: Play it right: 3 ways to team up sales and marketing (infographic)
Improve personalization by leveraging data
In today’s consumer landscape, personalization is an expectation, not a benefit. Digital algorithms from Amazon, Google, and Facebook tricked people into seeing personalized recommendations and content without searching for them. Businesses can meet these expectations by leveraging customer data to deliver personalized content, products, and value propositions.
A unified sales and marketing team can boost personalization efforts because it is equipped with consolidated data, providing a complete view of a customer’s unique journey, including all touchpoints such as content, forms, business interaction, etc. This allows both teams to follow a customer’s journey from search to engagement as their journey matures. Armed with this information, they can customize content and interactions based on that customer’s specific needs.
Successful demand generation is essential to maintaining a full pipeline. Unifying sales and marketing teams can dramatically improve efforts by allowing them to leverage their combined knowledge and skills. Together, they can create more audience-relevant content, improve upsell opportunities, and provide a more personalized buying journey.