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The Sales Process has Changed in Industrial Marketing | Manufacturing Marketing

The Sales Process has Changed in Industrial Marketing

industrial marketing

Sales and marketing must align their efforts in order to succeed.

Sales and marketing have typically been separate efforts for industrial manufacturers. Successful sales people are usually outspoken, outgoing and driven. Successful marketing people often have the exact opposite personality, introverted and non-confrontational. Distrust and misunderstanding have traditionally been considered normal for these two essential aspects of a healthy industrial business.

The world has changed and so must sales and marketing.

As part of a recent global study conducted by SiriusDecisions, an industry analysts and best practices research firm, 300 senior salespeople were asked how they see the buyer’s journey impacting their ability to sell.

Here are a few nuggets of insight gathered from their answers:

1. The top third of the sales cycle has gone away.

Salespeople believe that the beginning of the traditional sales process has evaporated and that buyers are self-servicing their needs instead of engaging with salespeople.

The result: Salespeople are relying more on marketing generated leads, want marketing to provide them more programs they can launch themselves and use provocative thought leadership to get the attention of the buyer.

Meanwhile, buyers agree that they navigate at least the top third and, at most, the first two-thirds of the sales cycle without sales. The result? Marketing, in most instances, is making the first sales call.

2. Buyers are more informed than ever before.

Buyers’ ability to access content, data and peer networks has been a game changer for salespeople. While they used to be able to craft the view of their market category and solution, they now walk into their first meeting with prospective buyers who have already positioned the product for themselves.

The majority of salespeople say that, before the meeting, the buyer has read relevant content provided by a peer network and discussed the vendor with internal colleagues.

3. It’s not just leads.

When asked what sales needs from marketing, participants clearly indicated a need for something beyond just “more leads.” In fact, the top three requests are:

  • Better leads
  • Programs that salespeople can launch themselves
  • Programs to accelerate their pipeline

This highlights the progress many organizations have made in sales and marketing alignment, with sales relying more on marketing for lead generation and fueling the next generation of marketing programs.

Sales and marketing must work together in industrial marketing, sharing input and feedback throughout the entire cycle. Neither can exist without the other.

Marketing must generate qualified leads through content marketing programs. Sales must be involved in these programs to understand what the buyer knows and expects. The entire effort must be tracked and continually refined by sharing successes and failures. There is no going back and no alternative on the horizon.

John Neeson is Managing Director and Co-Founder of SiriusDecisions. Read John’s report, “Sales to Marketing: “I Need Help With the Buyer’s Journey”

photo credit: teachernz via photopin cc

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