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Aligning Marketing Strategy with Sales Strategy

Your Sales and Marketing strategy is your plan for reaching, engaging, and converting target prospects into profitable customers. A marketing strategy is how you will reach your target audience, while a sales strategy is how you will convert them to customers. A marketing strategy sets the direction for how you will find and engage with prospective customers so you can promote your core message and build interest in the brand. Conversely, a sales strategy describes how you will sell to that target audience and turn prospects into buyers.

A marketing strategy is long-term and ongoing. Since it can help inform the sales plan, it should be created first. You should also periodically revisit your marketing strategy to make adjustments based on any changes to your budgets, tools, or team.

A marketing strategy helps a company direct its advertising dollars to where it will have the most impact. Compared with the data from 2018, the correlation between organization and success in marketers jumped from being almost four times more likely to almost seven times more likely in 2022.

Your strategy will include market positioning and messaging. This will guide Marketing activities including advertising and content development, and Sales activities such as email outreach and conversations with buyers. To set up both teams for success, figure out how your company and offering are different and better than the competition. This might even include how you price.

The purpose of a marketing strategy is to capture and define marketing goals. This includes marketing plans for how you will promote your product or service to reach the right customers, as well as for how you will achieve (and maintain) a competitive advantage in the market.

A goal-first marketing strategy aligns the team around what you want to achieve — so you can identify the right programs and advertising campaigns to invest in.

 

The marketing strategy is generally set by the CMO or VP of marketing, but various members of the marketing team help drive it. This is because the marketing team works directly with groups that influence customers — such as product, product marketing, support, and sales.

The sales strategy is generally set by the VP of sales or the chief revenue officer. It is then implemented by sales representatives and new business managers. Rather than interact with the entire audience that marketing targets, salespeople usually focus on a subset. So, the sales team may speak to folks individually or interact with a few qualified leads at a time.

 

How to Create a Marketing Strategy

Developing the right strategy is a process that requires research to discover who your prime sales prospects are, what motivates their purchasing, and how your firm fits in the marketplace. The data your research provides is what will drive your sales and marketing strategy. With the right plan, growth and profitability are predictable and controllable.

A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements.A thorough marketing strategy covers the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.

The marketing strategy usually contains the following: Company vision and goals, Value proposition, SWOT analysis, Marketing goals, Initiatives, Brand essence, Positioning, Buyer personas, Competitive landscape, Marketing channel strategy (e.g. branding, marketing automation, search, and social media)

Creating a marketing strategy requires a few steps. HubSpot, a digital marketing resource, offers insight into how to create your strategy.

  1. Identify your goals: While sales are the ultimate goal for every company, you should have more short-term goals such as establishing authority, increasing customer engagement, or generating leads. These smaller goals offer measurable benchmarks for the progress of your marketing plan. Think of strategy as the high-level ideology and planning as how you accomplish your goals.
  2. Know your clients: Every product or service has an ideal customer, and you should know who they are and where they hang out. If you sell power tools, you’ll choose marketing channels where general contractors may see your messaging. Establish who your client is and how your product will improve their lives.
  3. Create your message: Now that you know your goals and who you’re pitching to, it’s time to create your messaging. This is your opportunity to show your potential clients how your product or service will benefit them and why you’re the only company that can provide it. The marketing team will use online content to attract leads to your company. This type of content can include: Your business’s website, Blog posting, Optimized web pages. Make sure your brand’s story, mission, identity, and language all resonate with your consumers.
  4. Define your budget: How you disperse your messaging may depend on how much you can afford. Will you be purchasing advertising? Hoping for a viral moment on social media organically? Sending out press releases to the media to try to gain coverage? Your budget will dictate what you can afford to do.
  5. Determine your channels: Even the best message needs the appropriate venue. Some companies may find more value in creating blog posts for their website. Others may find success with paid ads on social media channels. Find the most appropriate venue for your content.
  6. Measure your success: To target your marketing, you need to know whether it is reaching its audience. Determine your metrics and how you’ll judge the success of your marketing efforts.

A successful marketing strategy requires constant communication. Everyone on the team needs to understand how the marketing strategy will help to accomplish larger company goals. There should also be a focus on promoting the brand promise to customers, as well as using tools like business models, demographic research, and competitive analysis.

 

Sales Strategy

If you’re in the business of selling products or services to your customers, you need an effective sales strategy. A sales strategy will help you scale and grow your business and learn how to improve your sales

The purpose of a sales strategy is to create the most effective path for turning interested prospects into paying customers. An effective sales plan focuses on how you will work directly with the people who are most likely to make a purchase and how you will help them choose to start paying for your products or services. A sales strategy may also address tactics for turning one-time customers into repeat buyers or referral sources.

A successful sales strategy builds upon the work done by the marketing team by homing in on specific prospects who are most likely to buy. This is usually true unless the sales team drives a significant percentage of its own opportunities. Direct sales organizations are busy following leads, making discovery calls, qualifying prospects, pitching the product or service, building relationships, and converting prospects to customers.

A sales strategy is typically short-term. Because it builds upon the marketing strategy, a sales strategy is typically formulated later. You may need to make occasional adjustments to your sales plan, depending on whether the sales team is hitting or missing sales goals.

The sales strategy usually contains the following: Forecasting, Prospecting, Lead tracking, Channel support, Customer meetings, Discounting strategies, Opportunity tracking

Three variables drive the productivity of a sales model: customer call capacity, close rate, and profit per sale. The relative importance of each differs from company to company. Managers can boost capacity by providing better leads or giving salespeople incentives to make more calls; they can increase close rates by emphasizing the need to select the right customers and match them with optimal products or services; and they can increase profit per sale by lowering selling costs, improving the pricing or product mix, or selling more to each customer

Because content plays a critical role in attracting, engaging, and even converting buyers, make sure you can provide relevant, compelling content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Audit your existing library to identify gaps and opportunities for new, better content. Organize your content with buyers in mind – make it easy to filter for relevant content by topic, challenge, goal, role, industry, company size, solution and whatever other categories make sense.

Integrate Social Media Into Your Sales Strategy

Social media is a valuable tool for driving sales, In 2020, 91% of retail businesses have an active presence on two or more social media platforms.

As a sales pro, you should have a well thought out ideal customer profile. This profile should spell out key information about who your buyer personas are. For B2B companies, this can include the size of the company that would benefit from your product, how much revenue they bring in, and their organizational structure. For companies that sell to consumers, your ideal customer profile should include information such as how old your buyers are, what their interests are, and what problem they are turning to your product to solve.

Once you have your ideal customer profile laid out, use this information to determine what social media platforms they are most likely to be active on. For example, if you work for a B2C company and are targeting Generation X and Millennial consumers, you would be better served to focus your efforts on Facebook than Tik Tok. Conversely, if you sell B2B and are looking to gain direct access to seasoned professionals, LinkedIn may be a more productive platform to focus on than Pinterest.

83% of buyers say word-of-mouth recommendations influence their buying decisions. Make sure you are regularly sharing the stories of happy customers with your marketing team for amplification on your company’s social media platforms to provide social proof that can help drive sales for your business.

Social media can be a powerful tool for prospecting and connecting with new contacts, especially for those working in B2B sales. If your company sells to other businesses, LinkedIn should be a key tool in your prospecting process.

LinkedIn allows you to find and build relationships with potential customers that are a perfect fit for your business. The free version of the tool has a search feature that allows you to filter users by keywords, industry, location, work history, and mutual connections. You can simply tailor your search to include the attributes of your ideal customer to find new contacts to reach out to.

As a sales professional, you’re no stranger to tracking metrics such as the average length of the sales cycle, pipeline velocity, and average lead response time to understand how your business is performing. How many of your leads come in from social media? Of your social media leads, how many of them convert? What percentage of your total sales come from social media leads? This information is helpful to track to understand how to continue integrating social in your sales strategy.

social media is a powerful tool for conducting competitive analysis. Not only can you see what content your competitors are sharing to engage with their audience, announce new product drops, and promote their current product line-up, but you can also access comments and reviews to see how their customers truly feel about their products.

 

Aligning Marketing and Sales Strategy

Defining your marketing and sales plans is an ongoing process. You should revisit strategic plans often to make sure your marketing efforts and sales processes align with business objectives. The best strategic plans incorporate visual timelines to show what activities will be delivered and when. Many marketing and sales teams use calendars, Gantt charts, and templates to build schedules and define plans.

Make sure you’ve allocated enough resources (people and money) to accomplish your company’s goals for the year. The size of your marketing budget will also depend on how much you have available to invest in your sales and marketing strategy, and how quickly you will see results.

Teams must align on these two strategies, and that means understanding both convergence and divergence points. The 2017 Marketing Performance Management Report from Heinz Marketing jibes with this finding, reporting Sales and Marketing alignment as the most important success factor to achieving revenue goals.

Marketing’s number-one marching order is to generate and nurture leads. As a result, they’re focused on sending large-scale campaigns aimed at generating leads and getting prospective buyers to raise their hands and move down the purchase path. The marketing data that indicates success is response rate and an optimal Cost Per Lead (CPL). Sales is focused on developing relationships with buyers to ultimately drive purchases. Sales success is reflected in data around pipeline health, forecasting accuracy, and closed deals.

Sales and marketing roadmaps are useful for capturing strategy and aligning goals to your day-to-day work. No matter how you choose to approach the work, plans should be centrally located and collaborative. Ongoing communication between Sales and Marketing is key to executing effectively on your strategy. Schedule regular meetings to discuss plans, performance to date, and ways to improve alignment and business outcomes.

 

To understand when and how to best engage prospects and customers, map their complete journey with your company from the time they first learn of you until they part ways with you. From acquisition to retention to churn, determine what the experience looks like from your prospects’ and customers’ perspectives.

 

LinkedIn Sales Blog depicts the outcome of a Sales and Marketing strategy as truly coordinated efforts that look like this; imagine that the first time a prospect indicates interest in your company, you start sending timely, relevant content introducing them to your brand and thought leadership on top-of-mind issues. Seeing the buyer’s interest and the content being sent by Marketing, the Sales team personalizes and amplifies those messages through their activities on social channels where the buyer spends time.

 

As the potential buyer continues down the buying path, Marketing shares mid-funnel content that makes a compelling case for change, followed by specifics about your services and products. Again, because the Sales team is in the loop, they get busy reinforcing the key messages with social shares.

 

As you close in on the “conversion” stage, the Sales team connects with the interested buyer who has been fully primed. Marketing reinforces these conversations with highly targeted content, such as ROI studies and success stories. Marketing can even share personalized content that resonates with the buyer’s key stakeholders and incentives the buying committee to close the deal more quickly.

 

An effective sales and marketing strategy is a major element of your overall business strategy. It requires a major commitment, which is why, in larger firms, it’s important that senior management fully buy into the strategy. No strategy will be successful without full management support. But with a proper investment of time, money, and effort, your carefully developed and implemented sales and marketing strategy will yield big results.

 

 

 

References and Resources also include:

https://www.aha.io/blog/marketing-strategy-vs-sales-strategy

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/marketing-strategy.asp

https://www.linkedin.com/business/sales/blog/sales-and-marketing/the-3-b2b-sales-and-marketing-structural-gaps-hampering-business

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/social-media-and-sales

 

About Rajesh Uppal

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