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Marketing and sales teams have the same goal: sell. But too often, they're not on the same page. The content created by the marketing team doesn't always align with the type of conversation the sales team wants to have with a potential customer. And this disconnect holds companies back.
The solution is called “Togetherness,” a concept created by alignment expert Jeff Davis.
Season 2 of J&See: Views on Marketing kicks off with Jeff and Meg Goodman discussing ways to improve communication between these teams. Jeff's award-winning book, Create Togetherness, focuses on how the modern business-to-business (B2B) customer expects more than just “bells and whistles” from a brand. Read on as Meg and Jeff talk about how “aligning” your sales and marketing teams can make a world of difference. And of course, make sure to subscribe to J&See: Views on Marketing to hear a compelling interview like this once a month.
Q: How does the concept of “togetherness” affect a brand’s efficiency?
A: This dysfunctional relationship between sales and marketing has existed for decades for various reasons … What is the reason why this relationship hasn’t changed? ... I realized that we didn’t understand the value our counterpart brought to us being more effective at our jobs … As a sales leader, if you’ve always been in sales and never had a business relationship with a marketing leader, you just don’t have any context about what they should or can’t do for you. For me, that’s when the word togetherness came together. It’s beyond just operating in silos and saying, “Hi, I see you.” It’s “How can we integrate the way we go to market so that I’m always thoughtful about how what I do affects my counterpart — and vice versa?" We’re always having this collective, shared knowledge and that, to me, is what the essence of togetherness is.
Q: What role does data play in togetherness?
A: Data is the foundation of togetherness, without a doubt. And I would argue it’s the foundation of any successful B2B company. Our B2C colleagues have gotten this and they really have a clear picture of who their customer is via data. We are just, for the most part, coming up to speed with that. We are recognizing that, in order for us to perform at the standards that the modern B2B customers are asking us to, we’ve got to have a hold on our data. A lot of companies that I talk to don’t realize the wealth of customer interaction data that they are sitting on. It really tells you a compelling story that allows you to make really great business decisions if you understand the importance of it and if you understand how to leverage it in the correct way.
Q: Talk about the consumerization of B2B marketing.
A: I think it’s happening for a couple of different reasons. B2B buying has become more complex — period — because of a number of different factors. We have to look at the fact that the number of key holders that are involved in the decision-making process is drastically larger than it used to be. We don’t have that one-person decision maker that “writes the check.” Stereotypically, you’re looking at 8-10 people that you have to somehow get into a room and have them all reach a consensus about making a purchase. This is really convoluted, really cumbersome and really tough to do.
Other factors are … the change in the demographics of the buying committee. We’re having more millennials come up, becoming leaders and joining these buying committees … The way in which they look at things is different. Some of them are more prone to want to work in a group setting. Culturally, they just look at things differently. The old-school way of selling where we purely relied on relationships, we didn’t really provide value up front and help people through that process — they’re not really buying it. You now have upwards of 45% of the average B2B buying committee being millennials … What that means is that you now have two very different sets of people that operate in two very different ways and you have to somehow bring them together and sell to them in a way that resonates with them.
Q: So, this is where marketers can do the “pre-se lling recon” for [sales teams] and help you prepare the story that’s important to them.
A: Marketing teams that really understand what sales needs also understand that they have to have their collateral and their content in various different forms. You just can’t rely on a branded website to house all of your content … The modern marketer has to understand that you have to have content across multiple different channels. That content has changed. We have to start helping people be able to understand their problem and give them ways to think about it in a really unique way versus just talking about features and benefits. And that’s a change for a lot of teams. So, we just have to be thoughtful about where our content is and what kind of conversation it’s having with the potential buyer.
Q: What do you think is the biggest problem that companies come up against when trying to increase their sales?
A: I think there are two big problems that we’re seeing … First of which, we have to sell and market in a modern way… helping buyers understand what their problem is and helping them walk through the process and facilitate them making a decision. When you continue to show up and talk about your features and benefits, they’re like “I already found that on the web or a third-party website. That’s not helping me. You’re not adding any value.” So, you have to make sure that you’re talking their language. The average buyer is like “I just need somebody to help me make sense of this.” The companies that are getting it right and really winning are those that are walking in and really becoming strategic business advisors.
Listen to the whole episode to hear everything Jeff has to say about connecting sales and marketing teams. Download J&See: Views on Marketing on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Or you can listen to the episode on Google Podcasts and Simplecast. And make sure you subscribe to get a new episode every month.