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Aligning Sales and Marketing for the Evolving Buyer’s Journey

Customers never buy B2B products or services on a whim. In fact, one study found it can take 6 to 10 touches just to connect with a B2B buyer and even more to finalize a purchase.

The buyer’s journey outlines the path someone takes when buying your products or services. Understanding it helps determine when and how to talk to customers throughout each stage. 

But the buyers’ journey doesn’t live in a silo. Sales and marketing teams need to join forces to tackle today’s buyer journey, including social media, online reviews, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Read on to learn more about aligning your sales and marketing for the ever-evolving buyer’s journey so generate more sales and more happy customers.

Understanding the evolving buyer journey 

The traditional buyer’s journey is often considered in three stages:

  • Awareness: When a prospect has a problem, and anything can be their solution 
  • Consideration: When a prospect actively identifies and evaluates solutions to their problem
  • Decision: When a prospect finds a solution to their problem and is ready to buy

As you can tell, that’s a pretty linear and simple explanation of how people buy. But looking deeper, when was the last time you bought something in three easy steps?

Probably not anytime recently.

The traditional journey doesn’t consider today’s buyer’s fragmented and complex process. In fact, one Gartner study found that 77 percent of buyers described their recent purchase as very complex or difficult.

Gartner also discovered that, for the most part, the B2B customer journey isn’t linear. B2B buyers loop around different stages multiple times before landing on the right purchase decision.

Take a look at a more accurate illustration of the B2B buying journey below:

b2b buying journey Source: Gartner

For example, leads at the top of the funnel aren’t simply reading a generic blog article and converting anymore. 

In the new buyer’s journey, there’s no clear distinction between sales and marketing. They aren’t going into a 30-minute Zoom meeting to discuss buying your product. They’re coming in more informed and require more personalized content from brands. 

The journey is starting earlier

A survey by Bain and Google of over 1,200 B2B buyers found that 80 to 90 percent of buyers have a list of vendors in mind before they start researching solutions. And 90 percent of those buyers typically purchase from that list.

Similarly, a recent LinkedIn survey found that 90 percent of B2B sellers engage in warm calls, contacting people they already have a connection with. That’s contrasted with less than half (46 percent) saying they conduct cold calls.

Building a network and making connections before a sale is even a consideration is becoming an essential part of the sales process for both buyers and sellers.

You want to ensure that your business is on that day-one list. This requires networking from your sales team and a strong marketing strategy.

Buyers are looking to social media for advice

Not only are B2B professionals more active than ever on social media, but this medium is becoming one of the more popular ways for B2B buyers to reach out to sellers. Almost half (46.5 percent) of B2B buyers prefer to reach out to B2B sellers on social media, third to email (72.1 percent) and phone (55.8 percent).

According to the same source, nearly half of all marketers say that social media is now the most effective channel for top-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel strategies.

LinkedIn found that 75 percent of B2B buyers also use social media to help make buying decisions. Another study found that half the people who share their experiences with businesses do so on social media.

Buyers are browsing social media to check on others’ experiences with a company, to get advice, and to learn more about the companies they’re looking to buy from.

Read more: Social Selling Training Essentials

Buyers are reading online reviews

B2B buyers are also looking at your reviews. With sites like G2 and Capterra, it’s easy for potential buyers to get a good idea of how other customers like working with your business.

In fact, the vast majority of respondents in BigCommerce’s B2B Buyer Behavior Report indicated that their purchasing decisions have been greatly influenced by a company’s ratings and reviews.

Challenges in aligning sales and marketing teams

Although aligning your sales and marketing strategies is key for reaching B2B buyers where they want to be reached, that doesn’t mean this process doesn’t come with its challenges.

Siloed approaches and consequences

When teams don’t often collaborate, it can cause something called silo mentality.

Silo mentality is when teams purposely (or maybe even subconsciously) keep information from other teams, causing issues when it’s time for those teams to work together.

Essentially, your sales and marketing teams may have created their own silos, their own ways of doing things, and even more harmfully, their own messaging directives.

Getting your teams to work around this can be a major challenge and is the first thing you must address as you align them.

Misalignment and messaging

As mentioned, another challenge can be misalignment across your team’s messaging. While the gist may remain the same—all messaging points to your business’s solution—if your sales and marketing teams are pushing this messaging in two different ways, it can be confusing for your potential customers.

It can also mean that sales can’t use the content that marketing creates because it doesn’t align with how they sell to customers, leaving them to recreate new content, leading to wasted time.

Retrain these two teams on how you want them to promote your business and its solutions to potential customers. This can help get the teams back on the same page. Plus, you may be able to pull messaging from each team’s playbook, helping to further improve everyone’s understanding of what your business does.

Duplication of efforts/inefficiencies

If your sales and marketing teams aren’t talking to each other, they can run into a number of inefficiencies, including discovering tasks that they’re both doing that should otherwise be streamlined.

We mentioned one example of this in our last point—marketing creates content. If sales can’t use that content because it doesn’t align with their messaging, they’re stuck replicating it in a way that does.

These inefficiencies waste time that could be spent communicating with customers and making sales.

Gaps in data sharing and utilization

Another major challenge and symptom of silo mentality is inadvertent gaps in data sharing. If a misalignment in messaging isn’t an issue, you might discover that marketing simply isn’t sharing their content in a place that sales can access.

WorkRamp CMS

WorkRamp’s LMS + CMS can be a great solution for challenges like this. Creating a centralized location for sales and learning content helps prevent teams from gatekeeping materials—even if they may not have intentionally done so.

Benefits of aligning sales and marketing

Now that we’ve outlined some of the challenges teams may face, let’s talk about benefits. 

Obviously, overcoming those challenges is one side of this coin. But there are a number of other benefits your company will see from aligning sales and marketing for the buyer’s journey.

Seamless customer experience

When your sales and marketing teams are fully aligned, it helps to create a more seamless customer experience. As mentioned, the buyer’s journey is evolving, and it includes a lot more touchpoints in your marketing team’s domain.

B2B buyers are looking at your company’s social media platforms, reading reviews, and becoming familiar with your business before they’re even in the market for your solution.

“Aligning sales and marketing teams is crucial for driving business growth and ensuring a seamless customer experience,” says Daniel Nyquist, CMO, Crosslist. “These two functions are interdependent–marketing generates leads and builds brand awareness, while sales converts those leads into customers. Without alignment, there’s a risk of mixed messages, missed opportunities, and inefficient use of resources.”

Ensuring that buyers get the same experience from your marketing team and its messaging as your sales team and its messaging creates a more trustworthy cohesion, helping you to solidify the sale.

Personalized interaction

With sales and marketing tools like a CRM, you can learn more about these customers, allowing both teams to create personalized experiences.

Your marketing team can tailor messaging to its different buyer personas. Once someone has entered your CRM, you can see the content they’ve interacted with, such as reports or eBooks downloaded and ads they’ve interacted with.

This enables your sales team to create a more personalized approach to the prospect, warming up the lead before your salespeople have even had the chance to connect with them.

“When marketing and sales are misaligned, both teams suffer,” says Noel Griffith, CMO at SupplyGem. Marketing wastes budget on leads sales can’t convert, and sales wastes time chasing unqualified leads. This drives friction between teams and hurts the customer experience. With alignment, marketing nurtures and delivers the right leads to sales, who can then close more deals faster.”

Read more: 3 Sales Enablement Tools for Your Sales Team

Consistent messaging across channels

Creating consistent messaging across all channels—regardless of whether they’re controlled by sales or marketing—helps fuse even more cohesion into your buyer’s journey. 

There should be no confusion when your customer moves from marketing channels to sales channels, or it can cause unnecessary disruptions.

Improved lead quality and conversion rates

Because your teams can work together well, sales can access information about potential leads earlier in the process. This means these leads are automatically warmer than those they know nothing about.

Having a warmer lead helps to personalize the process, improving the quality of the lead and the likelihood that the lead will convert.

Effective lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of fostering relationships with leads who may not be ready to buy. This can include tactics like email marketing, content marketing, or even regular calls with your sales team.

Because many lead nurturing strategies fall under the marketing umbrella, you need those teams to be on the same page about how they talk about your business. If someone goes from reading content that says one thing to jumping on a sales call to hear a completely different thing, they’re going to lose trust in your business.

Having these teams aligned provides a much more effective lead nurturing strategy, helping to further increase your conversions.

Accelerating the sales cycle

Finally, this alignment can help accelerate the sales cycle. A Gartner study found that 75 percent of B2B buyers prefer a rep-free sales experience. However, a self-service experience can also more easily lead to buyer’s remorse.

By ensuring your marketing team is spouting the same information as your sales team, you can give B2B buyers more confidence in their buying decisions by ensuring they’re fully informed about how your business can help solve their problems.

How WorkRamp can help align teams and drive sales performance

With WorkRamp’s LMS + CMS, teams have a centralized location for sales and learning materials, so they always know where to go for the most up-to-date materials and messaging.

Discover how WorkRamp can help you boost sales velocity and win more deals. Contact us for a free, personalized demo. 


Complete the form for a custom demo.

Michael Keenan

WorkRamp Contributor

Michael is a SaaS marketer living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care most about. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and Xoloitzcuintles.

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