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Many B2B marketing and sales teams—and even company leaders—agree that their overall sales efforts could stand improvement. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “not effective at all,” results from an October 2015 survey of B2B professionals in North America from Influitive and Heinz Marketing found that 40.0% of respondents ranked their sales efforts a 3. Over a third ranked their efforts a 4, but only 7.5% gave themselves a 5.
As explored in a new eMarketer report, “B2B Sales Enablement: Driving Strategic Efficiencies Along the Path to Purchase,” some of these issues may arise from departments failing to share information needed to get their jobs done well. Marketing is responsible for one-to-many engagements with buyers; sales continues that conversation within a one-to-few format. The conversations, then, should be part of a continuum, heading from the top of the funnel to the bottom. “Marketers understand what salespeople do because marketers have to start that conversation,” said Ellen Williams, co-founder and CEO of digital marketing research consultancy B2B R&D Inc. “They get that salespeople continue the dialogue, even if they are not necessarily aware of the specific challenges. Salespeople also need to understand the value that comes from those marketing conversations at the beginning of the buyer’s journey.”
Just about all B2B marketers agree that getting a potential customer to buy is the responsibility of sales. An October 2015 Demand Metric study of B2B marketers in North America sponsored by Pardot found nearly 80% of respondents confirmed that the sales team owns purchasing, and therefore the bottom of the customer journey funnel. Awareness and consideration, two higher-funnel stages preceding purchase, were deemed the marketing department’s responsibility.
“The entire organization should be supportive of sales and their goals,” said Michael Reynolds, president and CEO of SpinWeb, a web design and app development agency.
Marketing’s role is to provide a service to the sales team so that they can close more frequently and efficiently. “The job of a marketing department in a B2B company is to enhance and improve sales productivity at a lower cost than the sales team can do themselves,” said Ruth Stevens, president of eMarketing Strategy, a B2B marketing consultancy.
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