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Aligning Marketing and Sales Around the B2B Buyer’s Journey
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April 20, 2020
Aligning Marketing and Sales Around the B2B Buyer’s Journey
Mark Shevitz
Mark Shevitz

This is part two of our series about how marketing professionals can demonstrate to their sales counterparts and the rest of their organization that they bring real value to the table as an equal partner in the marketing-sales relationship.

When it comes to ways that marketing can demonstrate value to sales and their organization as a whole, the most important thing is contributing to revenue generation. And that means helping to facilitate sales. Doing so allows marketers to work closely with their sales counterparts and foster a stronger – and more equal – partnership.

But frequently, and especially in B2B organizations, there’s a disconnect between marketing and sales. This often stems from a lack of an organizing principle that both functions can align their efforts around. At CBD Marketing, we encourage our clients to use the buyer’s journey as the thing that both teams can come together and agree on a cooperative approach to. Aligning marketing and sales around the buyer’s journey not only creates a real partnership that fosters better dialog and more effective overall efforts, but can also boost sales results and increase revenue.

Where to Start

Alignment begins with marketing and sales leaders agreeing on outcomes:

  • What the sales goals are
  • How many qualified leads it will take to generate revenue targets
  • How taget audiences make their decisions about what products/services to buy

Having a detailed map of the buyer’s (or multiple buyers and key influencers) journey can enhance marketing/sales cooperation. And while mapping the buyer’s journey will be covered in a future blog post, alignment can happen even without a granular understanding of the process.

Here are some basic steps to help get you started with mapping out the buyer’s journey in order to ensure that marketing and sales efforts are working toward common goals.

How to Align Marketing & Sales Efforts to the Journey

Start with a discussion between marketing and sales about the steps your prospective customers take, from awareness through close, loyalty and evangelism. In B2B buying, this often consists of:

For each of these steps, the following things should be identified:

Don't miss the rest of CBD's Marketing in the Service of Sales series:

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  • Buyer's Disposition

    Is the buyer:

    • In-market
    • Not yet in market
    • A current customer
    • A former customer
  • Buyer's Intent

    Is the buyer:

    • Passively listening
    • Researching
    • Evaluating
    • Purchasing
    • Using
    • Sharing their experience with you
  • Buyer's Disposition

    Is the buyer:

    • In-market
    • Not yet in market
    • A current customer
    • A former customer
  • Marketing & Sales Objectives

    • What is it that these teams need to do in order to get the buyer to the next step in the process?
    • If the prospect is researching your and your competitors’ offerings, what will it take to get them to the evaluation stage?
    • What does evaluation look like for your industry and prospects (trial, online demo, sales call, plant visit, etc.)?

  • Marketing & Sales Objectives

    • What is it that these teams need to do in order to get the buyer to the next step in the process?
    • If the prospect is researching your and your competitors’ offerings, what will it take to get them to the evaluation stage?
    • What does evaluation look like for your industry and prospects (trial, online demo, sales call, plant visit, etc.)?

  • Channels & Tactics

    • How should the marketing and sales teams deliver what’s necessary to move the prospect to the next step in the buyer’s journey?
    • How do buyers get their information at each step?
    • At any given step, what is the role that marketing can play, and what can the sales team do?

  • Marketing & Sales Objectives

    • What is it that these teams need to do in order to get the buyer to the next step in the process?
    • If the prospect is researching your and your competitors’ offerings, what will it take to get them to the evaluation stage?
    • What does evaluation look like for your industry and prospects (trial, online demo, sales call, plant visit, etc.)?

  • Buyer's Intent

    Is the buyer:

    • Passively listening
    • Researching
    • Evaluating
    • Purchasing
    • Using
    • Sharing their experience with you

At any given step, what is the role that marketing can play, and what can the sales team do?

Use these steps and questions to create a baseline map of the buyer’s journey and what the marketing and sales teams agree it will take to move buyers through it. When complete, it might look like this:

CBDMarketing_Buyers_Journey_Infographic_1200px

With a buyer’s journey map like this, it’s easy for marketing and sales to understand and agree on where each team can contribute to moving buyers through the purchase process. This creates the foundations of alignment between marketing and sales that will ultimately enhance the efforts of both teams, close more business and generate increased revenues.