3 Ways CSOs Can Partner with Marketing to Accelerate Sales Performance

3 Ways CSOs Can Partner with Marketing to Accelerate Sales Performance

The need for sales and marketing to be closely aligned has never been greater. Rapidly shifting buyer preferences, more complex buying journeys and increasing buyer expectations require a more sophisticated and orchestrated approach to collaboration. Let’s unpack three specific areas for sales and marketing to focus collaboration efforts to drive strong commercial growth. But first let’s explore why collaboration needs to be prioritized in the first place.

Creating Intentional Collaboration

Most organizations don’t excel at collaborating to deliver better buying experiences, and we are seeing high levels of dysfunction even in shared marketing/sales initiatives. Sales and marketing leaders agree they should be collaborating more, but they are getting burned out in the process. This has led to organizations falling into “collaboration drag.”

When collaboration efforts turn into collaboration drag due to too many meetings, conflicting priorities and confusion as to how decisions get made, organizations experience drag instead of lift.  Organizations need to encourage saying “no” more often to low-value initiatives so they are able to focus collaboration where it really matters. By reducing nice-to-have collaboration in favor of must-have collaboration, teams and leaders will be able to hone in on the specific areas where collaboration matters most in driving revenue growth.

3 Ways Sales and Marketing Can Accelerate Growth

Organizations that focus collaboration efforts around creating a customer engagement strategy will enable strong, purposeful growth without needing to collaborate across every initiative.

There are three ways to accelerate growth via collaborative customer engagement:

1. Understand Buyer Challenges

Organizations are already heavily invested in this area, however, most still aren’t very good at it. We still think about B2B buying from the seller perspective and we don’t think enough about where else buyers go to learn and educate themselves, leaving a large gap of not being able to pinpoint where buyers are at any given point in their journey.

Understanding the buyer’s journey has evolved over time and while it may seem a natural place for marketing and sales to collaborate – it isn’t. Unfortunately, journey mapping is usually led by a single function or done independently. Yet recent Gartner research has found that organizations that collaborate on buyer journey mapping are 2.7 times more likely to exceed expected profit growth when compared to organizations where marketing and sales work independently.

Journey mapping collaboration is only part of the solution. It’s more than just mapping the journey that buyers take to find solutions – there must also be journey sensing or a real-time analysis of where buyers are in their journey and what they’re trying to accomplish in order to personalize their experience. The more marketers and sellers understand the customer journey, the more they are able to prioritize where to focus their efforts.

2. Enable Seamless Buyer Collaboration

Buyers have growing expectations for their digital experience and sellers are struggling to deliver. And B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur more predominantly in digital channels.

This means digital is here to stay and organizations must get good at it, and quickly. Quality digital engagements are hard for sellers to create on their own – think back to clunky emails with attachments and links to uncustomizable web pages. This user experience was lacking and needed a marketer’s touch to help sellers bridge the digital gap.

For seamless buyer collaboration, there must be:

  • Easy digital content sharing that enables seamless connections for sellers to connect and more easily collaborate with buyers virtually in digital channels
  • Personalized experiences with adaptive digital content experiences that sellers can directly influence or control
  • Flexible and convenient customer experiences for buyers where they can navigate on their own or via live interactions with a seller

3. Create Valuable Digital Experiences

Creating valuable digital experiences is where organizations need to focus collaboration efforts. Poor marketing and sales collaboration creates disjointed, high-effort experiences, leaving buyers with the burden of deriving value from digital content and applying it to their unique situation.

Organizations should create interactive buyer enablement tools and resources that center around relevancy, ease of use and credibility to better improve the buyer experience and allow buyers to navigate on their own without a seller.

If there’s one takeaway, it’s collaborate where it matters the most – give buyers the options and sellers the tools they need to have a seamless digital experience by understanding buyer challenges, enabling smooth buyer collaboration and creating valuable digital experiences.

Greg Hessong, a senior director analyst in the Gartner Sales Practice, is presenting live on this subject and others at the Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference, taking place May 21-22 in Las Vegas.


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