Depending on the size of your organization, your Sales and Marketing teams might get together a few times every year (or just annually in some cases) and the overall sales and marketing strategy and vision will make small or large adjustments to the market.

Working with our B2B clients for the past 10 years has opened our eyes to the huge potential misses a sales and marketing strategy could be making.

Here’s a quick list of what we think the biggest opportunities are for building the absolute best B2B Sales and Marketing Strategy ever!

If you’re working with Sales and/or Marketing in any capacity, or you’re in a leadership role and you need to make sure you don’t make any glaringly obvious mistakes, then this post is for you.

Complete View of Demand Generation Engine

As marketing teams become more specialized in their day-to-day activities, and with technology and consumers constantly changing and adapting to each other, it makes sense why very few people in marketing are really thinking about the complete view of demand generation across all parties.

Someone’s probably thinking about the entire funnel, but even then, the tactics that fall out of them have to work together.

One of the top complaints about sales and marketing strategy is that at the end of the day, it’s not all tied together, and majority agrees that it should be. In the chart below, the top-performing marketing teams across the world agree that having leadership committed to an overall strategy is crucial to success.

 

Not Using Segments When Running Campaigns

What’s also interesting about this chart is the great distinction between top performers, medium performers, and low performers when it comes to “creating personalized omni-channel experiences across all business units”.

Ensuring that level of personalization across all business units is absolutely a challenge, but even just offering personalized experiences across different channels is tough to achieve.

The reason being?

Segmentation. True demographic and behavioral segmentation is still a practice that sales and marketing teams will need to figure out how to adopt.

Not surprisingly, email list segmentation and individualized messaging are considered both most effective and most difficult.

This isn’t exactly a shock, but when thinking about the previous chart, only 19% of moderate and underperforming marketing teams were doing segmentation / personalization compared to the whopping 63% of high performing marketers.

Clearly, there’s money on the table here.

To defend those who are still trying to dip their toes into segmentation in any form, it makes a lot of sense why some larger corporations struggle to achieve any kind of segmentation.

Their databases could be huge because it seems some platforms is constantly pumping more data and it’s not all created equal. There aren’t enough data points that the organization is collecting and that makes it difficult to segment when you’re not even sure of what you have.

For those out there who struggle with the data component, there’s options. You can either focus on cleaning your data in a way that will enable you to achieve segmentation, or you can focus on lead generation and the process of collecting information that helps you make real marketing decisions (think better form captures and digital behaviors).

Lack of True (and Agreed Upon) Buyer Journey

I harp a lot about the importance of a customer journey, but mostly because there’s too much research that supports the creation and involvement of it in the overall sales and marketing strategy.

In fact, new research [download page] from Econsultancy in partnership with IBM suggests that 30% of enterprise companies in North America have mastered their understanding of the customer journey, with these top-performers averaging conversion rates more than double the rest.

Customer journey analysis is also quickly becoming the exact exercise needed to understand conversion optimization.

So why, then, do so many marketing teams still not have a complete view of the customer?

Well, there could be a few answers to that.

For some corporation organizations, there’s several ways to think about the customer journey – especially if you represent multiple sub-brands and segments of buyers. Not to mention the fact that in some giant enterprise companies (and many of them global), it’s virtually impossible to see everything.

Companies who feel like this they struggle with this would benefit from honing in and focusing on one part of the journey for one segment and potentially even one product or brand.

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Lack of Great Reporting & Communication for Both Sales and Marketing

Back to the giant problem of not having a customer journey is not having the bet reporting capabilities and/or communication between sales and marketing.

Even wondered exactly what happens to your leads once you “toss them over the wall” to Sales?

Sales – ever wonder exactly why this bucket of leads was given to you in the first place and why most of them seem to be unqualified?

Yep. You (both) need a feedback loop, and one of the best ways – read: neutral ways – is to setup some type of reporting system. It eliminates the finger-pointing and the shoulder-shrugging when questions are asked.

Typically, this resides in some type of CRM, but there’s a huge possibility that your departments are on entirely separate CRMs or one department doesn’t use it all. In our experience, that’s probably a huge mistake and it’s possible that alone contributes to any dysfunction.

But in the event you are on the same CRM and both parties have access to it, be sure to put your heads together on what dashboards and reports are actually needed to make better decisions.

Once Marketing understands what Sales is looking for and once Sales understands the journey that Marketing’s been tracking, it will all start to click.

It’s not enough, however, to simply setup dashboards and reports. There must be an agreed upon terminology of what metrics you’re both looking for, personas and segments, and exactly what leads, qualified leads, marketing qualified leads, sales accepted leads, and so on even means.

While this eliminates confusion, it also unifies the two teams for the cause – and that’s to both build meaningful relationships, help your customers, and at the end of the day, make money.

Forgetting about Account-Based Marketing

Account-Based Marketing isn’t exactly a new concept when it comes to B2B sales and marketing teams.

The big trend that we’re seeing, however, is the move to having lists of accounts and focusing on marketing to the right people in those accounts. We’ve seen the practice championed and owned by different groups in different organizations.

For example, in some organizations, Sales owns the ABM practice. In others, Marketing does, and it heavily influences how Sales targets new accounts or the same accounts. And finally, in some very rare cases, both teams own the practice and work together to not overstep or duplicate each other’s efforts.

In the end, account-based marketing is actually quite simple: focus your efforts – your multi-channel campaigns, email blasts, segmentation, everything – on the accounts that fit your ideal customer profile.

Thinking about going to that trade show? Only if enough of your accounts are attending. Want to run a huge paid media campaign? Only if you’re able to specifically target the people in your accounts. Want to invite a bunch of people to your webinar? Make sure to consult you target list of accounts first.

See how quickly your sales and marketing efforts become targeted, relevant, and more easily segmented?

ABM has proven to be quite successful for certain markets. In fact, “about one-third have ever tried or are currently engaged in account-based marketing, with a slight majority (53%) of this group feeling that it is effective” according to this DemandWave study.

With any Sales and Marketing strategy, always consider the possibility to be extremely targeted in your efforts.

Got Any B2B Sales and Marketing Strategy Mistakes You’d Like to Share?

We always love hearing from you and would love to know what you’ve noticed either in your own organization, or others. Let me know in the comments below!

 

Asia Matos was the Director of Marketing at ARKE Systems where she oversaw all of the marketing channels and operations for the organization. In her role, Asia managed lead generation-focused content strategy, traffic acquisition, campaign execution, and event planning. She worked daily with content management systems like Sitecore and Wordpress, the analytics platforms of Google Analytics and the Sitecore Experience Platform, and contributed her extensive experience with email service providers like Silverpop and ClickDimensions. Asia was the editor and writer of ARKE’s blog MarketingTechnologyInsights.com. Asia is now the #FlipMyFunnel Demand Generation Manager for Terminus.