The Value of a Strong Industrial Sales and Marketing Alignment
As an industrial marketing agency, we hear this and similar questions often from manufacturing companies who are in the early stages of digital transformation:
I already have strong industrial sales. Do I really need marketing, too?
Typically, they’ve built a strong sales practice and haven’t traditionally invited marketing to the table, instead relying on their marketing team to fulfill sales requests and provide sales support deep into the sales process.
While a solid sales team is arguably one of the most important factors in predicting success in a traditional industrial company, industrial sales has completely changed. Buyers are relying less on suppliers for information during the purchasing process (and engaging less with your sales team as a result).
The emergence of digital technology has fundamentally shifted the communication dynamic between B2B business and customer, and relying solely on a stellar sales department to generate, engage with, and close the most qualified leads is no longer the name of the game.
To stay top-of-mind for current and future customers, a strategic marketing and sales alignment in manufacturing is becoming more necessity and less luxury. Let’s explore some of the reasons why.
The Personalization of Industrial Sales
As the digital ground beneath our feet continues to shift, industrial sales has to become increasingly personalized to remain relevant and be effective. Most buyers are more willing to schedule a meeting or take a phone call from someone with whom they are familiar, and marketing can play a critical role in creating that individualized awareness before sales engages. A goal of industrial marketing is to foster that familiarity through various communication channels prior to a rep picking up the phone.
Creating awareness through consistent, targeted messaging and valuable sales enablement content develops an early rapport between your company and a buyer. When a buyer has an initial connection to your company or has already shown genuine interest in your industrial products and services, they will be more likely to engage earlier in the process. Personalized marketing not only creates more leads, it creates more valuable leads for your sales team.
By providing the opportunity for connection through content, marketing sets the stage for this developing customer relationship with an introduction, rather than requiring the sales rep to show up for a blind date. In turn, this allows them to spend their time courting more qualified leads.
Brand Reputation Will Bring Industrial Buyers to You
Your brand reputation is a critical building block in establishing the trust your business needs to sustain growth. With the right support and collaboration, developing a brand identity helps to solidify your company's reputation. This is an area in which marketing can really shine, giving your sales team a credible foundation to work from and making their job of finding qualified leads a lot easier.
Clearly and consistently communicating your overarching brand promise can help to solidify loyalty with current customers and forge stronger connections with potential buyers. With a solid brand reputation in place, prospects will increasingly enter the process further down the funnel. Investing not only financial resources, but also time, into brand development can add more depth, breadth, and longevity to your company’s marketing efforts and shape perceptions that drive industrial buyers to your door.
Industrial Marketing and Sales Must Speak the Same Language
As communication in the digital age becomes more and more distributed, ensuring messaging alignment between all of your client-facing teams is vital. This alignment provides some expected outcomes, such as a more customer-focused industrial sales experience and smoother transitions between sales and marketing. But, did you realize that message alignment also creates internal efficiency as well?
One of the byproducts of a solid brand identity and messaging alignment is more valuable content that focuses on customer needs. When sales collateral is designed to uniformly reflect the key messages that speak to the right audiences about how you can help them achieve their goals, your sales team isn’t forced to reinvent the wheel every time an existing customer or potential buyer has a question or request. Additionally, it is more likely that your industrial sales and marketing teams will work together to deliver a consistent communication experience, which is a clear path to a more meaningful buying experience.
Whether you’re an owner of a small-to-medium manufacturing business or an enterprise executive at a billion dollar industrial company, you can no longer afford to keep marketing waiting in the wings. Industrial buyers are as educated about their needs today as they are empowered to find potential solutions with as little friction as possible.
The failure or success of your industrial sales strategy is no longer a solo venture. Even armed with the most capable sales team on the planet, you need marketing to create and nurture the right message to customers at every touchpoint in the sales process.
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