In a rapidly changing business and economic environment, companies face even more urgent pressure to boost sales, strengthen customer engagement, and diversify opportunities. This “all-hands-on-deck” moment requires close collaboration between sales and marketing teams to ensure that limited resources are leveraged properly to drive sales outcomes.
Simply put, without alignment between sales and marketing, businesses cannot be successful as priority misalignment, poor lead quality, and infighting reduce organizational effectiveness.
Economic Downturns Exacerbate Inefficiencies and Misalignments
Economic disruption exposes inefficiencies and missed opportunities. As the sardonic expression goes, “when the tide goes down, you find out who is swimming without clothes on.”
In other words, inefficiencies and misalignments that were covered when business was booming are exposed when things slow down. This includes:
Misalignment between marketing goals and sales realities. There must be parity between the solution and vision being marketed by the marketing team and the ones that sales feels they can realistically sell. This requires effective communication and agreement between the executive team and the product, marketing, and sales teams to ensure the business is successful.
Misalignment between messaging and target audience. Product marketing teams must collaborate with the sales team and even customers to get feedback to ensure they are crafting the best possible message. For instance, if marketing messaging targets company CEOs but the sales team is most successful selling to mid-level decision-makers, the organization will have difficulties driving new business. Companies need to clarify their market segment and target audience so marketing and sales teams can work together to support critical outcomes.
Misalignment between lead generation and sales initiatives. Poor lead quality can negatively impact pipeline and revenue potential. If marketing and sales are not aligned, marketing leaders are more likely to miss the mark in securing the right leads, ultimately diminishing sales potential.
As businesses grapple with shifting operational realities, it’s especially important to align marketing and sales initiatives, proliferating growth through unified investment and resource deployment.
Product Marketing Drives Sales Results
Product marketing is essential to the success of a business. Unfortunately, product marketing teams are chronically understaffed, something that is even more apparent as companies contend with persistent hiring challenges in a tight labor market.
According to a recent survey of senior decision-makers, 67 percent of product marketing teams say they need to add personnel or reduce projects to sufficiently support sales enablement goals.
Most importantly, this reduces their capacity to develop a solid Go-to-Market (GTM) plan, which should include:
- Determining market segments
- Crafting an ideal customer profile (ICP)
- Identifying buyer personas and pain points
- Assessing value propositions and messaging
- Analyzing competitive differentiation
- Producing a marketing execution plan
If product marketing isn’t fully staffed, an organization will find it immensely or even prohibitively difficult to achieve its business objectives.
In response, nearly 90% of surveyed product marketing leaders say they plan to leverage external expertise and strategic partnerships to support product marketing initiatives. This is especially important when companies have a fast-approaching product launch or campaign, requiring sales teams and channel partners to be fully trained and ready to drive sales.
Launching a new product to the market has critical components, including a product launch plan and strategy to ensure its overall success. These efforts produce messaging/positioning for the product, understanding of the target buyers, SWOT analysis, competitive intelligence, and program management of the launch. Without product marketing, it will be difficult to have an effective product launch. It is a similar issue with campaigns, where product marketing helps the marketing team target the right buyers with relevant messaging and content which help generate quality leads.
Ultimately, when product marketing teams have the right personnel and financial resources, they are best positioned to support sales enablement and content marketing. Sales enablement ensures that sales teams understand the product, target audience, personas, value proposition, objection handling, competitors, and more.
With a looming economic downturn, it’s even more important than ever to have sales and marketing in sync for optimal outcomes.
Working Together to Promote Sustainability
Product marketing is one of the main functions within marketing that helps salespeople succeed. As companies battle shifting economic realities and novel operational challenges, aligning sales and marketing teams can be a competitive differentiator, separating agile companies ready to meet the moment from those left vulnerable by misalignment and poor prioritization.
Simply put, sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin. Discerning leaders will ensure that both are well-resourced and closely connected to help their business thrive in any environment.