Contract manufacturers used to working behind the scenes often grapple with the challenge of standing out in a crowded market.
While sales teams have traditionally been the driving force in filling the pipeline, it's becoming increasingly clear that they can't shoulder this responsibility alone.
The rapidly changing market conditions and the threat of commoditisation necessitate a more integrated approach.
This is where the power of marketing comes into play. Marketing not only helps build a unique brand identity and foster customer loyalty but also plays a pivotal role in generating leads and adapting to market disruptions.
The key to success in contract manufacturing lies not in sales or marketing in isolation but in the harmonious collaboration of both.
This blog post explores how your sales and marketing teams should work together to drive growth and profitability.
Sales versus marketing
Both sales and marketing play important roles in filling the pipeline. Each team brings different elements of value and has a clear role across the customer journey. But they are far more powerful when they are aligned and working together.
According to LinkedIn research:
- 87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between sales and marketing enables critical business growth.
- 90% of sales and marketing professionals believe that when initiatives and messages are aligned, the customer experience is positively impacted.
Misalignment between sales and marketing can cost B2B companies 10% or more of revenue loss annually. Yet 1 in 4 businesses describe their sales and marketing as misaligned or rarely aligned.
Either they don’t fully understand the impact of misalignment, or perhaps they have no idea where even to begin to start the process of working together effectively.
A tale as old as the hills
Companies have been trying to align sales and marketing for decades - with varying levels of success.
Although both share the same goal - to drive revenue and growth for the business - sales and marketing are fundamentally different and attract different types of people.
Way back in 2006, Harvard Business Review ran an article titled ‘Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing. In it, they addressed the key differences between the two teams:
"Marketers... are highly analytical, data oriented, and project focused. They’re all about building competitive advantage for the future... Salespeople, in contrast, spend their time talking to existing and potential customers. They’re skilled relationship builders… They want to keep moving… They live for closing a sale.”
It’s hardly surprising that it isn’t always easy for these two groups of people to work well together. Finger-pointing and blame are not uncommon. Sales want marketing to bring in more and better quality leads. Marketing wants sales to follow up better with leads.
How to get sales and marketing working together effectively
Aligning sales and marketing won’t happen overnight. There need to be clear processes in place to ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction, and this takes time. There also needs to be an open feedback loop between the two teams and a genuine understanding of what each other needs.
Here are some key first steps to get your sales and marketing teams working better together:
1. Invest in a good CRM
A good CRM like HubSpot will give your sales and marketing teams a birds-eye view of the entire sales funnel. Every interaction you have with an OEM is logged and visible to both teams. Marketing can easily see if sales have reached out to a lead yet, and sales can engage with a warm lead when they’re ready to progress to the decision stage.
A CRM like HubSpot also makes it easy to measure and track your activity so you can carry out analysis to inform strategy.
Perhaps you already have a CRM, but people aren’t using it in the same way. Training could help ensure everyone is doing things the same way and making the most of the tool.
2. Collaborate on buyer persona development
Buyer personas help to create a common language across your sales and marketing teams and ensure everyone is on the same page. They help marketing teams create messaging and content that will resonate with the OEMs you want to attract. And they help sales teams to know who they’re selling to and what they care about.
Both sales and marketing should be involved in developing your buyer personas. Your marketing team will have data on where your current online visitors are located, how they found your website and details about their demographics and roles.
Meanwhile, your sales team strongly understands the types of OEMs your business attracts, what they want to achieve by investing in a service like yours, and their objections to purchasing.
If it’s been a while since you looked at your buyer personas, why not set up a meeting for marketing and sales to get together to review and refine them?
3. Put a content creation process in place
Your sales teams are talking with prospects all the time. They know what questions they have, what will get them to choose to partner with you, and what major objections will stop deals from closing. All this information is great material for content. For example, knowing that supply flexibility is important to your buyer personas means you can create content that highlights how you respond to changing requirements.
So when it comes to brainstorming content ideas, it’s a good idea to get your sales team involved too. Why not set up a quarterly content club where you all get together and share ideas?
Not only will this help your marketing team to create more relevant content, but sales teams will also have a better idea of what content is being published. And with a good CRM in place, sales teams will be able to see what content has been read by a prospect and use it as a conversation starter when they engage with them.
4. Make efforts to understand each other
One of the biggest reasons for sales and marketing misalignment is down to a lack of empathy. Neither group really understands the trials and tribulations of the other.
The only way for sales and marketing to really understand each other is to join each other’s meetings and observe what they do daily. Focus on understanding how each other’s roles complement each other and contribute to a shared sense of customer value. And make sure to celebrate each other’s successes.
Sales and marketing working together effectively can help contract manufacturing companies close more deals, boost revenue, and drive growth. It can result in shorter buying cycles and fewer wasted leads.
Alignment between sales and marketing isn't just idealistic. It creates a positive competitive and go-to-market advantage. So why wait? Start bringing your sales and marketing teams together and hit those revenue and growth targets.
If you want to learn more about how to get your sales and marketing teams working together effectively, or you want specific advice tailored to your company, get in touch now to book a free consultation.
Editors note: This blog was originally published in June 2021 and has since been updated for optimal accuracy and relevance.