What’s the next chapter in the advertising tale inside the sales dating?


Ever wish you had a crystal ball to see what the rest of 2022 has in store for us? As we reach the halfway point of this year, it’s important for business leaders to consider what the next chapter in the sales and marketing story will look like.

The relationship is often unclear and can cause tension to the point where sales and marketing simply don’t click. Sometimes their relationship can be downright adversarial, and it’s important for the two teams to work together because they have a lot in common, including the roles they play in customer engagement, revenue growth, and overall organizational growth. A strong relationship within the two departments will enable effective collaboration and is often known to accelerate growth rates, help close deals and more. While predicting the future may seem ominous, it is a necessary part of preparing to unlock potential business growth and success.

By 2025, Gartner expects that 80 percent of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and customers will take place within digital channels. This makes sense given that B2B buying behavior is moving towards a digital, customer-centric model, a change that has accelerated over the past few years and is sure to continue to evolve as a focus for both sales and marketing leadership .

A recent research from Marketing Profs found that nearly half of B2B marketers said their sales team doesn’t understand what’s important to the marketing team, and 31 percent of B2B salespeople said their marketing team doesn’t understand what’s important to the sales team. Although sales and marketing have different functions, when they work together, companies see significant improvements in key performance measures: shorter sales cycles, lower go-to-market costs, and lower cost of sales.

We all know that the push and pull of sales and marketing can be very blurry, sometimes causing tension and stress – my advice is to focus on how these two functions can work better together and measure future success. This starts with providing the right tools to improve the future relationship between sales and marketing.

Work is changing

Not surprisingly, the way work is changing. According to Drift’s 2021 Status of Conversational Sales, 65 salespeople say their sales productivity has increased, which makes sense—there’s less travel and distractions in the office, so there’s more time to focus. It’s not like someone comes into your office and asks you out for coffee. For marketers, it was more of a mix. About half said working remotely made them more flexible, with 41 percent having to incorporate new tools and 39 percent new talent.

How can sales and marketing leaders best navigate this changing landscape and better embrace the hybrid work model? It requires flexibility—adopting the right technology to support collaboration, creating a recruiting strategy that fits the new way of working, and creating achievable, realistic goals for employees to set them up for success. It requires open and consistent communication. The more communication you can enable between sales and marketing management, the better. For example, overview emails and weekly touchpoints have been very effective for my teams.

Lean into the ever-changing martech landscape

Marketing and sales teams tend to be the biggest users of technology. Ultimately, they are responsible for managing customer relationships and reporting on how activities support overall business goals. We’ve come a long way with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as two of the biggest trends in 2022. But as every leader knows, there is still no single ruling platform for sales or marketing.

With this in mind, sales and marketing leaders are looking for simple integration tools that provide the right dashboards and drive better person-to-person interactions. Like many of us, I am constantly bombarded with sales emails offering me better solutions, LinkedIn messages telling me about process improvements and more tools. Like CMO it’s important to step back and ensure my team is properly leveraging the martech tools we already have before adding new ones.

There is a big focus on the evolving martech landscape, especially when you think about process design and how to think about approaching it. I was recently at an event where someone asked me how I know if our campaigns are working. I mentioned that I always look at the overall marketing and sales plan with a bird’s eye view of all the systems and a flowchart that covers the entire landscape. I often ask my team to outline the marketing tools at our disposal and focus on how they all work together to ensure that using our marketing technology solutions to the greatest extent. In the beginning, my team struggled to explain how it all worked, and it was clear that there was an opportunity to use and improve our martech environment to improve the impact we were creating.

Focus on campaign planning and ROI and metrics

Tracking metrics has become an essential part of marketing and sales for all businesses. According to a Nielsen report, the average ROI is just under $0.70 for every $1 spent on marketing channels. This represents a marketing budget that yields less profit than it costs to execute. To mitigate this, an increase in return on investment is required. As you begin planning your campaigns and support investments, it’s important to map out success metrics for both sales and marketing, and ensure you have the people available, a realistic timeline, and a sense of what the desired results look like for all parties.

Throughout my career, I have found that identifying the most important metrics for sales and marketing performance can help build more effective and successful campaigns. I found that the campaign reporting and executive dashboard helped uncover new media opportunities, pricing options, messaging approaches, or other aspects worth considering.

The future must prioritize quality

Although marketing focuses more on building a competitive advantage for the future and sales on building customer relationships, there is definitely an overlap. When brands evolve around what customers want and need, it’s a win-win for both teams.

So what’s next for sales and marketing? In my opinion, the topic of the next chapter is quality. Even though we are busier than ever, are we as productive as we could be? And are we doing the highest possible quality? When sales and marketing align their efforts and focus on achieving key goals such as improved customer service and engagement, your business will be in a much better position to reap the benefits of marketing and sales success.

Katrina Klier is a successful marketing executive, chief digital officer, board director and industry speaker. As Director of Marketing at PROS, a leading provider of SaaS solutions that optimize the buying and selling experience, Katrina rebuilt the marketing organization to drive efficiency and scale. She is also a founding member of Chief and an advocate for women in technology.

Prior to joining PROS, Katrina led the digital transformation of Accenture’s marketing and brand functions, nearly doubling brand value and increasing revenue by over 50%. Katrina also built and led global digital, channel marketing and e-commerce organizations for Microsoft’s OEM business. Katrina is a board member of the Croton Harmon Education Foundation and several industry organizations.

You can find Katrina on Twitter @KatrinaKlier.

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