Sales and marketing teams can often disagree with each other, exist in silos, and miss crucial opportunities for collaboration to maximize how content and messages resonate with buyers. Through synergy and alignment between sales and marketing, companies can create more seamless experiences for their customers, from the 1st interaction throughout the entire customer journey.

How-to foster strategic alignment between sales and marketing? That is what I covered in a recent keynote for SalesEnablement Pro in Paris. You can take a look at the replay below, if you understand French 😉 , and I intend to cover it in a series of posts.

Keynote Replay on YouTube

Who is changing faster: Markets or Organizations?

Three revolutions are at work today for businesses, all accelerated by the sanitary crisis:

1. Digital transformation: acceleration evidenced by McKinsey’s observation: “Digital adoption has jumped 5 years forward in just 8 weeks of lockdown”. This impacts the strategy and reputation of brands both in their market and as employers, but also companies business processes.

2. The advent of the Experience Economy (for customers and employees) with significant changes in behavior during the crisis:
👉🏻 60% of consumers have changed suppliers and purchasing behaviour during the lockdown – which has pushed brands to transform their customer experience but also employee experience,
👉🏻 The Great Resignation (or tsunami of resignation in the US), where the resignation rate exploded in March and April 2020 with more than 22M resignations or nearly 16% of the workforce in just 2 months, while it is traditionally 2.4% per month,
👉🏻 The increased importance of millennials, individuals less than 40, who already represent in my industry (Big Tech) 60% of decision-makers. They are digital natives vs. the Digital immigrant I am, and 67% of them want their company to integrate CSR/ESG into their DNA and business model,

3. And finally the Impact Revolution: Returns on investments and Risk can no longer be the only two indicators of a company’s valuation. A third indicator to decide and act is the environmental, social and societal impact, now taken increasingly into account materially by shareholders and investors, not to mention banks to lend you money or insurance to cover your risks. This gives rise to new governance forming the G of ESG (Environment, Social, Governance). The material value of externalities at the bottom of the balance sheet, , such as fossil fuel consumption, came to remind us of the current conflict in Ukraine for those who still doubted it!

These three forces combined in a very short period of time must undoubtedly profoundly change our relationship to the agility, adaptability, and resilience of our companies and its management, starting with sales and marketing, but more broadly all the driving forces of the company serving customers.

The buying journey has dramatically changed – B2B or B2C Altogether

The traditional funnel — TOFU/MOFU/BOFU — has shattered: today the customer is in control of the relationship and drives it on the channel and point of interaction of his choice, not the other way around.

It is no longer linear at all, and customers tap into the different parts of the vendor’s organization such as Digital Estate, Marketing, Sales, (e)Commerce and Customer Service.

B2B Sellers have little opportunity to influence customer decisions

The ready availability of quality information through digital channels has made it far easier for buyers to gather information independently prior to getting in touch with your salesforce. It means that sellers have less access and fewer opportunities to influence customer decisions. In fact‚ Gartner research finds that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase‚ they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. When buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with anyone sales rep may be only 5% or 6%.

COVID impacted the buying cycle forever: trust, simplicity, and empathy

Digital adoption + focus on value and emotions during COVID, transformed B2B and B2C buying journeys alike

Like the refocusing on value, going digital is both an accelerating B2C consumption trend as well as a B2B buyers’ one.

If 60% of consumers have tried a new way of buying during the pandemic, do you think the discovered easiness is going to be abandoned? Now that many obstacles to teleworking and click & collect have been removed, decision-makers in both their B2C and B2B buying journeys, have developed habits of control, ease, and immediacy that are their new reference. What distinguishes a buyer in his chair at home when making a purchase decision for his business or his household? The boundaries have become more than porous, the dam has actually blasted.

Yesterday they bought online or in person, today they want to buy online AND in person, and tomorrow they will want to buy at any time, from anywhere on the easiest channel at that time. It’s up to us to simplify the buying journey for them. As an example, I choose in-store and buy on my mobile app: why queue at the checkout!

In other terms, we need to revisit the entire Customer Experience Lifecycle.

Great customer experience is the sum of ALL interactions

An excellent customer experience is the sum of ALL interactions to infuse it with simplicity, empathy, transparency, authenticity, and responsiveness while maintaining throughout the journey coherence and relevance. Customers want to be served, before and after the purchase, in hyper-personalized mode, infused with emotions and context at each step of the journey.

It’s as if your segmentation should target segments of … ONE. A crazy concept for marketers.
It is no longer about B2B or B2C, but what I call B2ME!

And to top it all off, we’ve gotten into the habit of being very impatient! At any time of the day, we draw our mobile phones to make a decision: it’s referred to as micro-moments. This impatience calls on brands to move towards real-time customer journey interactions.

We must therefore get closer to offering our customers a real-time B2ME experience, taking down all internal silos in our businesses, and putting the customer at the very center!

Long answer to a simple question: yes markets are changing way more rapidly than our organizations, so we must adapt fast: first step of our Tango


2 thoughts on “Sales & Marketing Alignment: It takes two to Tango! 1st Step: Markets change faster than Organizations

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