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B2B Sales People: Why Does Your Marketing Suck?

Sales and marketing are two of the most important aspects of running a successful business. If you are a b2b sales organization, your marketing is a bigger part of your revenue equation. 

However, these two departments often operate independently of one another, with little communication between them. This can lead to inefficiencies and a lack of coordination that can hurt your bottom line.

In fact, one study has found that before customers ever pick up the phone to talk with a provider, 57% of choices are already made. This means that nearly all the groundwork for a sale is done long before salespeople even become involved. 

How can marketing help your B2B sales? Let’s take a look.

What Is B2B Sales

B2B sales is the process of selling products or services to other businesses. This could be anything from office supplies to software licenses. Usually, B2B sales are done with direct interaction between the customer and the company.

B2B companies have some important differences from their B2C counterparts.

  • B2B sales are usually done through a direct sales force.
  • The decision-making process is often more complex than B2C sales.
  • The products or services being sold are usually more expensive than those in B2C sales.

This means that the stakes are often higher in B2B sales and that your marketing department can play a vital role in the sales process.

B2B Sales Has Changed

In the past, the vast majority of B2B sales were done in person. This meant that the sales process was often very long and expensive, and it was difficult to reach potential customers. However, times have changed, and the internet has transformed the way that businesses sell to one another.

Nowadays, a significant portion of B2B sales are done online. This means that there are more opportunities for marketing to influence (and even own) significant stages of the sales process. 

There is more pressure on marketing to perform. After all, if potential customers cannot find your company online, they are unlikely to do business with you.

It used to be easy to get away with having a poor website and an inactive social media presence. However, this is no longer the case in today’s digital world. If you want to succeed in B2B sales, you need to have a strong online presence.

Your Sales Cycle Isn’t Your Customer's Journey

While you may be concerned about where the customer is in your sales cycle, good B2B marketing respects the customer’s journey: the process that a potential customer goes through when considering a purchase. 

Marketing has always played a role at the beginning stages of the customer’s journey. But once the lead is handed off to the sales team, marketing is often relinquished to providing collateral, and that’s about all.

b2b sales man hiking

In today’s digital world, you need your marketing to raise awareness of your company and its products or services at the beginning of its journey. This journey includes becoming aware of a need or want, researching different options, user behavior, and decision-making support.

Marketing needs different messaging for each stage. The customer starts to research their options, so marketing needs to provide them with information that will help to build trust and confidence in your company.

This is where marketing begins to work to hand off the conversion. 

After sales engages further and the customer is making a decision, marketing can provide that final push the customer may need to choose your company over the competition. 

The customer’s journey is important because it provides a framework for understanding how customers make decisions. By understanding the journey, you can tailor your marketing efforts to each stage, and you can ensure that you are providing potential customers with the information they need, when they need it.

How Marketing Helps Your B2B Sales

1. Lead Generation

b2b sales man fishingMarketing can help your B2B sales in a number of ways.  

Depending on your business and targets, marketing should be using a number of inbound tactics, including content marketing, search engine optimization, social media, ads, and lead magnets. 

Once your lead is in the right stage for sales, you can add them to your 30-60-90 plan.

2. Nurturing Leads

Before a lead hits your funnel, marketing needs to nurture these leads. Nurturing leads is the process of developing relationships with potential customers and providing them with information that will help them make a buying decision. 

b2b sales bread crumbs on trailIn today’s online world, nurturing leads needs to be done through a number of channels, including email marketing, content marketing, social media, video, and webinars. 

Marketing’s goal is to build trust and credibility so that when they are ready to buy, they will choose your company over your competitors. This can take time, but it’s a part of the funnel salespeople don’t always want to deal with. 

3. Cooperation and Communication

The days of us vs. them need to stop in order for these two revenue-generating departments to do their jobs well.

b2b sales black and white photo children walkingBoth departments should be aware of each other’s goals and objectives. There should be regular meetings to discuss areas of overlap. And both departments should work together to create a strategy that will help the company reach its goals. 

These isn’t a top-down methodology. Communication needs to happen in the trenches where the customers are engaging with each department.

4. Closing the Deal

Marketing can provide sales with the information they need to close a deal, such as product specs, demo videos, and pricing. 

Bottom-of-the-funnel content is unique to your customer’s needs, so if you haven’t worked out #3, you need to fix that so marketing isn’t flying blind to the type of things they need to help close deals.  

B2B Sales Without Marketing?

What do you do when you are a product/sales focused company that has relied on DIY outbound marketing (conferences, emailing purchased lists, hustling on LinkedIn) in today’s digital world? 

You could hire an entire team – probably takes too long and is expensive.

Try to find a unicorn marketer – one individual that says they can do it all. Unfortunately, these rare talents do not usually get into the trenches to execute. They usually want a title and money to match. 

Maybe you can hire individual freelancers for each skill you need for a marketing campaign, but you will need a strategy first and then a project manager who can herd the cats.

b2b sales cowboy lassoing catYou can hire a marketing agency if you can find one that understands B2B marketing and sales. Many agencies started as advertising agencies or public relations firms and rebranded themselves as marketing agencies when digital marketing became the new standard. 

Our agency falls into both Unicorn Marketer and true Marketing Agency categories with the added benefit of outsourcing!

B2B Sales Needs a Sales Marketer!

Very few marketers have worked in a sales job where they carried a quota. My background and experience took an unusual track, but resulted in a marketing agency that’s truly different. 

  • Degree in marketing 
  • Rose up through the sales ranks of very large companies (F100 telecoms). 
  • Moved over to corporate marketing at more large companies. (Both B2B and B2C F100s)
  • Started Pollock Marketing Group to be a sales-focused marketing agency (2003). I wanted to streamline the marketing strategy and execution needed to fill all the roles that sales needs to generate leads. 

If your organization is not getting what they need from the marketing you are doing today, let’s talk. I consult and offer marketing strategy a la carte. If you need full or partial outsourcing, we can help you too.  Contact us today to see how we can help your business.