With over half of B2B buyers making purchase decisions based on buying experience there’s an clear opportunity for competitive advantage.
by Theresa O’Neil, VP of Marketing
With more than 250,000 manufacturers in the U.S. alone, the industry is highly competitive. And as technology continues to advance, there’s been a sharp decline in product differentiation. In this environment, how can manufacturers compete?
There’s one mantra that should guide all manufacturing marketing and sales efforts: the best buyer experience wins. According to CEB, more than half of B2B buyers are making purchase decisions based on the buying experience – which means there’s a clear opportunity for manufacturers to gain a competitive advantage by selling on the way their buyers want to buy.
The best buyer experiences are a result of a strong partnership between marketing and sales. Each department represents the two parts of the buyer journey that establish the value of a product, support it with research and other content, and leverage that content in a dynamic way to engage buyers and leave them little to no opportunity to say no.
When marketing and sales are perfectly aligned, the buyer experience is vastly improved. Buyers are excited to buy because they can see the value of the product through content that is lively, informative and perfectly tailored to what they need to be successful.
Here are five ways to get your sales and marketing departments working together to drive more revenue:
Create a common vision. Your marketing and sales teams should be focused on the same goal – driving revenue. Make pipeline and revenue contributions key metrics for your marketing team. A shared goal between these teams inherently builds trust and alignment.
Make it easy for sales to find the right content. Time is money, especially in the manufacturing industry. Your marketing team invests countless hours developing content, so ensure your sales team can find it. Evaluate how you deliver content to your sales team and ensure they don’t waste time searching for or creating their own content. According to CSO Insights, having content in multiple repositories is the least effective way to enable your sales team and can lead to lower quota attainment. Companies that deliver content to sales through a single platform are more effective and more likely to reach their revenue targets.
Invest in analytics. Marketers have come to depend on detailed data and analytics that inform their investments in digital channels – but when it comes to sales, marketers have little to no visibility into how content is performing in the sales channel. Invest in a platform that opens this black box. Marketers can use these insights to invest more in the content that impacts revenue and sales can identify the best content to share with prospects.
Harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to make content recommendations to sales. Serving up the right content at the right time to the right customer makes it easier for sales to get a buy-in from a customer. But what is the right content? Leveraging data to understand what content has been successful in certain selling scenarios, AI and machine learning can make recommendations to better arm sales with the right content for the buyer at the right time.
Empower sales to create non-linear, personalized presentations. Sales is used to traditional methods of interacting with customers: one-dimensional slide presentations and email to share additional content. But these presentations fall short when the conversation shifts from the planned storyline. Give your sales team the tools and flexibility to deliver a unique, visually engaging buying experience that’s tailored to the prospect.
Combine these points into a strategy that your company can invest in over the long term. Not just through dollars, but though a way of thinking. Changing the culture is big part of what’s needed to get these two departments in sync. Create a timeline, set markers, and track your success. At the end of this journey you’ll see happier buyers and a boost to your bottom line.
Theresa O’Neil is the VP of Marketing at Showpad, the industry’s only sales enablement platform that combines sales content, readiness, and engagement. Theresa is responsible for leading Showpad’s global marketing team in increasing awareness, generating leads, and supporting all channels to grow revenue. With a proven track record of developing brands and growing revenue in companies of all sizes, her true passion is fueling high growth SaaS companies with creative and pragmatic data-driven marketing.