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Essential Guide To Better Sales & Marketing Collaboration

by David M. Raab, Raab Associates.

In my whitepaper, “Bridging the Gap from Marketing to Sales,” that True Influence recently published, I describe how companies can be sure that sales departments take full advantage of leads generated by marketing. What I’d like to talk about here is why closing the “marketing to sales gap” is now more important than ever.

It’s not that good leads are getting harder to find. In fact, I’d argue the opposite: reaching good leads is now easier than ever. Back in the pre-Web dark ages, the only way to identify a new lead was to entice that person to give you her contact information. This was an active step that many potential buyers avoided for fear of being pestered by aggressive sales people. Marketers spent great ingenuity finding ways to overcome this reluctance.

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Today’s marketers don’t need to be so persuasive. Search-based advertising and retargeting put marketers’ messages in front of qualified prospects without the prospects’ agreeing to interact. Rich data harvested from the Web and social media build lists of companies that match buyer profiles and individuals whose behaviors show they are actively considering a purchase. In short, marketers can find good leads without convincing those leads to raise their hand.

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But if it’s easy for you to reach potential leads, it’s equally easy for your competitors. Prospective buyers are now flooded with messages – much in the form of truly superb “content” that provides real business value. In fact, there’s so much useful content available that buyers can’t possibly consume it all. This means that today’s battle is to grab and hold their attention, effectively blocking your competitors’ messages by making buyers run out of time before they can read them. Of course, every marketer is pursuing exactly the same strategy, resulting in an endlessly escalating “content race”. So, while good leads are easier to find, they’re harder than ever to catch.

The explosion of content also educates buyers in ways that were formerly handled by sales people. This lets buyers defer contact with sales until they are much further in the purchase process. The widely recognized result is to put a greater burden on marketing to build a relationship and advance the sale. The less recognized but equally important corollary is that salespeople have less time to engage successfully before the final purchase is made. And they’re dealing with buyers who demand immediate response, in part because automated marketing systems have conditioned them to expect it and in part because they only contact sales when they have a specific question they need answered.

It’s this change – the need for immediate sales response – that makes an effective marketing-to-sales transfer process more important than ever. Read “Bridging the Gap” to make your company’s process the best it can be.
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David M. Raab is principal of Raab Associates, a consultancy specializing marketing technology and analytics. He is author of the B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool (VEST) and the Customer Experience Matrix blog.

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