Companies with good sales-marketing harmonization in place are reported to be generating 208 percent more revenue from marketing efforts. Another report has it that 56 percent of aligned organizations met their revenue goals and 19 percent beat their goals. Among organizations that are not harmonized, by comparison, 37 percent met their revenue goals, and just 7 percent beat them.
According to Forrester Research, however, only eight percent of B2B companies say they have tight alignment between sales and marketing. That means that 92 percent of organizations have a marketing and sales harmonization problem.
What this actually means is that the marketers go about creating leads without carrying sales along and eventually, sales do not follow up on the leads generated — no harmonization. This is absurd. It amounts to a colossal waste of resources.
The whole practice sucks to high heavens bearing in mind that B2B buyer is no longer an entity without a face. They have become savvy, informed, and abundantly intelligent. It has practically become more difficult to get new customers while retaining the existing ones is becoming another tough nut to crack.
While organizations are idling away, B2B buyers are acquiring more knowledge and power than ever before, search online to compare the growing number of available alternatives, and are desirous of proofs that your product or service is really the best choice for them.
If for any reason, your business is among those that have refused to embark on harmonization of sales and marketing, you are shortchanging yourself of the following benefits.
- Better customer retention rates
Customer retention refers to the activities and actions companies and organizations take to reduce the number of customer defections. The goal of customer retention programs is to help companies retain as many customers as possible, often through customer loyalty and brand loyalty initiatives.
It’s hard to overstate the value of customer retention for any organization, as research shows that a modest 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase profits anywhere from 25 percent to 95 percent. In addition to this fact, generating revenue from loyal customers is considerably less expensive than acquiring new customers.
It’s a fact that the losses you incur at the early stages of customer acquisition may be high but repeat customers spend more than twice as much in months 24-30 of their relationships than they do in the first six months. This is a big plus for any organization that embarks on harmonization.
For any brand that wants to be relevant in the highly competitive global market, the Customer Retention Rate is one of the most important KPIs (if not the most important KPI next to the New Sales KPIs), because it impacts (1) recurring revenue, (2) customer satisfaction levels (which impacts account expansions and referrals), and (3) the growth of the business.
- Higher sales win rates
Increasing your win rate makes a whole lot of difference for you and your brand. A survey conducted by the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research found respondents had an average win rate of 47%. The survey involved 472 companies with the sales team that range from ten reps to over 5000 reps.
Win rate represents the result of your total sales efforts and is a much more effective measurement to track. As it is, you simply cannot predictably or increase the traction of your sales efforts if you haven’t clearly, sustainably defined and understand who you are trying to attract.
Without harmonization between marketing and sales, it’s absolutely impossible to do this. It’s the business of marketing to attract the customer through the different types of campaigns and for sales to “go for the kill.” Gleanster Research reports that only 25 percent of the leads you generate are ready to buy, while 75 percent need nurturing.
- Shorter buying cycles
Customers usually don’t create long sales cycles rather, salespeople do. The biggest contributor to dragging out the selling cycle is salespeople prematurely presenting solutions to customers who may not believe they have a problem, or even if they had a problem, didn’t understand its impact on their business and what it’s costing them to stay the same.
This is where marketing comes in to play a role. It’s the business of the marketer to ensure that the customers clearly understand the solutions they are about to present before sales take over from there. Presenting a solution to someone who doesn’t believe they have a problem is sales suicide.
Customers refuse to buy because;
- They do not believe their problem is significant enough to take action if they recognize any problem at all,
- they do not believe the solution will work and need convincing.
Uncertain customers will delay or defeat the selling process, but clarity will defeat that uncertainty. When we bring clarity to our customers by harmonizing sales and marketing, we effectively shorten the sales cycle. It’s absolutely necessary you make customers understand it when they have problems,
- Less wasted leads
Forrester Research discovered that less than 1% of leads in B2B ever become customers. A recent research reports that companies don’t respond fast enough to leads. In fact, they take 46 hours and 53 minutes to pick up the phone and respond to a lead.
It continues that the sales rep who does call only makes 1.3 call attempts before giving up and moving on, whereas it takes an average of 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer, however, a handful of companies have started making amends, but only slightly.
A research reported by Forbes shows that an increase from 27 percent to 92 percent in response to leads translates to an increase of 341 percent lift in sales and eventually to ROI. This amazing result can be attained just by responding immediately and persistently to leads.
The handicap in the harmonization of sales and marketing is that while sales are typically measured on closed deals, new accounts, and revenue earned, marketing is measured on brand awareness, campaign metrics, and top of the lead funnel. To achieve the much sought after harmonization, measures for both teams should point to the same end goal — higher ROI.