Getting sales and marketing to talk to each other may feel like torture, but it has never been more critical – especially for the more than 5 million mid-market industrial and B2B companies in the U.S.
The digital age and a host of technology developments have exposed four major flaws in traditional B2B marketing practices:
• Lack of coordination between brand, sales/marketing and digital activities
• Dedication to sales at the expense of marketing
• The slowness of firms to focus their online voice
• Failure to recognize that the internet has changed the sales dynamic
B2B companies are struggling to leverage the internet to sell and grow. Unlike consumer product companies, they’ve been slow off the mark in the digital race due a traditional but flawed rationale that branding and digital communications can’t really help their ‘relationship’ style of selling.
What’s become glaringly obvious is that three core marketing functions – brand, sales/marketing and digital communications – don’t behave as if they have anything in common. Worse, they don’t work together to build equity, share of mind, customer loyalty, or sales for B2B enterprises.
The open secret always was that sales and marketing were never really very integrated. In some firms, they didn’t even like or talk to each other. Not to mention that in many B2B firms, ‘sales and marketing’ actually means ‘sales.’
But because the internet has made company ‘walls’ ever more transparent, there are few secrets. Employees complain, whistle blowers whistle, bloggers gossip, e-mails get forwarded, the news media investigates, and your customers actually know all about you – your product benefits and even your prices – before you ever hit their door. So what are you actually selling?
When a company’s brand, its sales force, and its digital activity aren’t in lockstep, customers notice. At best, customers scratch their heads at this lack of coordination; at worst and more commonly, firms are losing credibility, customer satisfaction and opportunity because they can’t get their act together.
In 2014, Forbes Insights published, Breaking Down Marketing Silos: The Key to Consistently Achieving Customer Satisfaction and Improving Your Bottom Line.