Why Industrial Sales and Marketing Alignment is Imperative!

Sales and Marketing Alignment ContainedPhoto by Tim Easley on Unsplash

Why Alignment is Now Imperative?

As an industrial supplier (manufacturer or distributor) aligning your marketing and sales has always been important for business growth but the transformation of buyer behavior in this now digital world has made it imperative.

  • Time-crunched buyers do their own research online before contacting sales, and are better informed than ever before. Are your front-line sales people as knowledgeable as the prospects have become?
  • If your digital marketing is succeeding, customers should find you rather than you finding them. Are your online resources (e.g. downloadable product CAD models) making users more productive?
  • When they reach you (or more likely reach your website) are you highly responsive and helpful from their point of view? Are you responding usefully in a shorter window of opportunity?
  • If they consider meeting you, and check you out online beforehand - does your personal online profile make them want to meet you? (Vengresso report that a "2018 LinkedIn study found that 62% of decision makers review a person's profile before deciding to meet with them)

Those are just a few of the significant buyer behavior changes we all need to adapt to and align with. We've written about sales and marketing alignment before, see Why Industrial B2B Sales and Marketing Need Closer Alignment, and the process we outlined then still applies. However, inspired by the Vengreso podcast below we decided to revisit the topic and update our recommendations and conclusions. Please listen to their marketing and sales alignment podcast for yourself - it's an interview with the head of sales and the head of marketing at Kadant Johnson, a manufacturer of mechanical rotary joints that connect machines and piping.

"Buyers are Better at Buying than Sellers are at Selling!"

That's a challenging quote - Buyers, like everyone else are busier, more time-crunched and using technology to do more in less time. If they can quickly research online, select and buy without talking to a salesperson they do. Ask yourself these rhetorical questions:

  • Do you agree that B2B buying has changed? You can't ignore it, but have you changed how you sell? Or are you still selling as you did last century?
  • Are your sales and marketing fully aligned? If not when will they be?
  • Is the majority of your marketing spend now on digital marketing or how soon will it be?
  • Is your website the hub of your digital marketing and everything else is to drive traffic there?
  • Are new customers finding you more than you are finding them?
  • Do visitors use your website as a useful resource to help them succeed or is it just an online sales catalog?
  • Similarly, are the LinkedIn profiles of all your customer facing staff a resource in the eyes of customers? Or are they just a resume? How about the profiles of your executives?
  • Do your sales people do more homework/research on prospects before talking to them so they know what specific value they can add?
  • Do your sales and marketing people engage and prospect on social media?
  • Is your company better at selling than its customers are at buying?

3 Conclusions/Recommendations

1. Close alignment between sales and marketing is essential to successful digital marketing. Not necessarily in one department but certtainly close enough to feel like 'one container'.

2. See the links and suggested process in our earlier sales and marketing alignment blog, Why Industrial B2B Sales and Marketing Need Closer Alignment and consider the following additional thoughts:

3. Social media needs to part of your digital marketing, leveraging it so your company and people get found and contacted and when prospects meet your people they are impressed. Make sure your profiles are resources not just resumes! But Social media is just one of many components that can support your digital marketing, for example, see The Coming Impact of IIoT on Industrial Sales and Marketing.

If you have any questions please ask them by leaving a comment below (or click to ask a question) and, as always, if anything isn't clear or thorough enough please call us.

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