How marketing and sales can accelerate the buyer's journey


Marketing and Sales strategies only work if they successfully engage customers throughout the buying process. Buyer demand and interest might be through the roof, but if consumers have trouble making a purchase, revenue will suffer.


To avoid confusion during the buyer journey, Marketing and Sales should check off these key tactics from their strategy lists.


What Marketing Can Do

When planning the strategy for the year ahead, it’s crucial that the Marketing team makes key decisions with the buying process in mind. Armed with solid choices about which channels to invest in and why, Marketing can not only set up the Sales team for success but also make the buying process as easy as possible for the consumer.


Specifically, here are three steps Marketing can take to smooth the buyer journey.


  1. Target specific personas
    When planning new campaigns, it’s easy to get caught up in budgets, activities, and metrics. But Marketing leaders can only make the smartest decisions about these campaigns if they know which personas they’re targeting.For each campaign, Marketing should clearly outline which buyer personas they’re trying to reach. This way, the team can choose the content assets and market messages that will compel these buyers to respond.


  2. Identify trigger events
    According to SBI’s new report, world-class Marketing teams should be able to source 30 to 50% of the Sales pipeline. This can be accomplished by engaging prospects during trigger events that put your buyers in the marketing. Outline these events with an editorial calendar and then deliver timely, compelling content to attract these buyers.


  3. Nurture relevant pathways
    Often unqualified leads are handed off from Marketing to Sales too early. Sales learns to distrust the quality of the lead, putting less effort into follow-up or even neglecting the lead entirely. As a result, opportunities slip away.


To avoid this conflict, Marketing should nurture and qualify early-stage prospects into Sales-ready leads. One of the most effective ways to do this is to identify nurture pathways and use Lead Development Reps to connect with consumers throughout the buyer process.


What Sales Can Do

Even if you are supported by a world-class Marketing team, the reality is that Sales will still need to source at least 50 to 70% of your opportunities. The sales process must match the way buyers turn their initial interest into a decision to buy and be prepared to continue nurturing these buyers across their journeys to the purchase stage.


Specifically, here are three steps Sales can take to smooth the buyer journey.


  1. Ease the prospecting process
    Sales should begin by prospecting to generate early-stage buyer interest. This way, the team can fill the sales funnel with enough opportunities to make the revenue goal.


    One of the biggest obstacles to successful prospecting is getting the reps to do it, especially since traditional methods like cold-calling or batch-and-blast email have sharply declined in their effectiveness. As a result, Sales leaders must help the team execute modern prospecting techniques and track results.


  2. Enable partner channels
    Select, sign and enable partners with whom you can secure the greatest share of resource commitments. Most importantly, figure out how to best allocate the channel mix to control costs and assure customer needs are satisfied. This involves ensuring proper coverage across the channel network, creating plans to resolve channel conflict, and figuring out how competitors are using each channel.


  3. Optimize sales support
    Even when Sales has great rapport with customers, the supporting departments may be bogging down the relationship. Contracts take too long to get through legal, and credit checks and price approvals delay important deals.


    With proper support, the Sales team can remove its non-selling responsibilities and streamline those that can’t be off-loaded. Implementing automated operations can not only make internal communications smoother, but it will also make it easier for customers to do business with your company.


Setting Up Your Organization for Success

Once Marketing and Sales are prepared to effectively engage with consumers, company leaders must be sure their other teams are on track to beat the estimates. This involves setting each department up with a solid strategy checklist and outline.


So, what exactly would those strategies look like? SBI can answer that in our “How to Make Your Number in 2016” workshop. Register for the consultation workshop today, and we’ll combine our research with your organization to put you on the path to success.




Mike Drapeau

Makes data and analysis come alive so clients can understand the “what” and “why” and design solutions that fit the environment.
Learn more about Mike Drapeau >

Once the leader of SBI Delivery, Mike is now head of the firm’s internal talent development, so he has had the fortune to help some amazing sales and marketing leaders. He starts by earning their trust. Much of this comes from his deep base of experience. With more than 25 years in sales, sales management, pre-sales and sales operations, he’s never met a challenge he didn’t like. And with backgrounds in sales leadership, marketing, and sales operations, he shuns the idea of being a desk jockey and relishes the idea of living in the field.


Mike maintains, develops, and leverages SBI’s library of emerging best practices for sales and marketing, which leads to evidence-based solutions, custom-fit to each client. Maniacally focused on execution, Mike does not believe in giving clients fancy deliverables with no operational details. He knows that field adoption is key. After all, if behavior doesn’t change, the lift doesn’t come. Likewise, if those closest to the field adopt the solution, the client wins.

Read full bio >