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Smarketing Strategies for B2B Marketing Success

The age-old battle between sales and marketing teams has long hindered the potential for success. Silos, the result of disjointed strategies, misaligned goals, and limited collaboration, have often impeded growth. In a landscape where cooperation and alignment are the new currencies of growth, forward-thinking companies are abandoning traditional siloed approaches and embracing the power of synergy.

The marketing world is constantly in flux, shaped by evolving consumer behaviors, emerging technologies, and global events. In a pre-pandemic era, businesses could secure a deal with an average of 17 touchpoints. However, the game has dramatically transformed, and today it takes a staggering 27 touchpoints to seal the deal. The magnitude of this shift cannot be ignored; it demands a new perspective and an unwavering commitment to driving conversions.

The modern buyer is inundated with a barrage of information and choices, making capturing their attention and building trust increasingly tricky. By adopting a closing mindset early on, businesses position themselves ahead of the competition and gain a crucial edge. It means taking a proactive approach to engaging with prospects at every touchpoint, understanding their needs, and delivering relevant and personalized content that resonates.

Achieving success in the current landscape necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey and leveraging the power of data and analytics to inform decision-making. By leveraging insights from touchpoints across various channels—such as social media, email marketing, website interactions, and personalized outreach—businesses can tailor their approach to align with customer preferences, needs, and pain points.

So how can B2Bs adopt a closing mindset to reap these benefits? 

Smarketing—the synergistic integration of sales and marketing efforts, breaking down traditional silos and fostering a unified approach focused on achieving the ultimate goal: closing deals and driving revenue.

We hate to say it, but buyers are hip to most sales tactics—and they don’t trust them. What do they trust? Earned media.

Leveraging third-party validation from a credible source, created through marketing and PR efforts, throughout the B2B sales cycle will go a long way in helping you seal the deal.

Uniting Marketing, PR, and Sales Teams

Whether emailing to schedule an appointment, nurturing a lead, or trying to close the deal, you and your sales team should use the content and earned media that PR and marketing create. 

It could be a podcast featuring a company executive or an article highlighting a new product. Either way, it is a prime opportunity to extract maximum value from the positive buzz generated. Rather than letting these placements remain isolated in the realm of PR, businesses should seize the chance to integrate them seamlessly into sales emails and other sales-related communications.

By incorporating PR placements into sales outreach, companies can establish immediate credibility and capture the attention of prospects. When a sales representative reaches out to schedule an appointment or nurture a lead, mentioning the relevant PR placements right off the bat can serve as a powerful icebreaker and create a favorable impression. It demonstrates that the company has gained recognition and validation from trusted sources, instantly positioning the sales team as more credible and trustworthy.

Prospects are more likely to engage with content that has already garnered positive attention and interest. By leveraging the buzz generated through PR efforts, sales teams can pique curiosity, address any potential skepticism, and enhance the persuasive power of their communications. Including snippets or links to PR placements allows prospects to explore further and reinforce the company’s key messages and differentiators.

Integrating PR placements into sales outreach also bolsters the overall brand narrative and creates consistency. It aligns the messaging across different touchpoints, whether it be through earned media or direct sales interactions. 

In addition to immediate impact, consistently integrating PR placements into sales outreach contributes to building brand equity and cultivating a positive perception in prospects’ minds. As such, leveraging earned media placements can be a powerful tool to shorten the sales cycle and accelerate prospects through the pipeline. By strategically incorporating PR placements into sales efforts, businesses can drive increased engagement and expedite the buyer’s journey.

At the top of the funnel, PR placements serve as valuable touchpoints that attract and capture the attention of potential customers. When prospects encounter positive media coverage or PR-driven content, they are more likely to perceive the company as a credible and trustworthy authority in its industry. This early exposure establishes a solid foundation of trust and interest, pushing prospects further into the sales funnel. By leveraging earned media at this stage, businesses can proactively nurture leads and expedite the sales cycle by building upon the positive momentum generated by PR efforts.

In the mid-funnel, where prospects are actively considering their options and conducting research, PR placements can significantly influence their decision-making process. By integrating PR content into sales materials, businesses provide prospects with additional evidence of the company’s expertise, reputation, and unique value proposition. This reinforcement helps solidify the prospect’s perception of the company as a frontrunner in the market, accelerating their decision-making and moving them closer to the bottom of the funnel. PR placements act as persuasive tools that validate the claims made by the sales team, helping to build confidence and drive prospects toward a purchasing decision.

As prospects reach the bottom of the funnel, evaluating specific offerings and comparing options, the impact of earned media placements becomes even more crucial. PR placements can provide the extra push needed to tip the scales in favor of a particular solution. When prospects come across PR-driven content that highlights the company’s successes, customer testimonials, or case studies, it reinforces the credibility and effectiveness of the offering. This validation can alleviate any remaining doubts and expedite the decision-making process, ultimately shortening the sales cycle.

Additionally, PR placements can act as powerful social proof throughout the entire buyer’s journey. The positive buzz generated by earned media can create a sense of urgency and excitement among prospects. When they witness others discussing and endorsing a company or its products, prospects are more likely to feel compelled to act. By incorporating these endorsements and PR-driven content into sales materials, businesses can leverage social proof to drive conversions and accelerate prospects toward closing the deal.

Leveraging Your Marketing Budget to Drive Sales

When it comes to your brand’s marketing, the temptation to cut the budget and save money can be enticing. After all, in a world driven by maximizing returns on investments, it’s natural to consider cost-saving measures. 

However, doing so can have detrimental effects on your business’s overall growth and success. B2B marketing is not merely an expense; it is an investment in your brand’s visibility, reputation, and customer acquisition. By reducing your marketing budget, you risk limiting your brand’s reach, losing market share to competitors, and struggling to maintain a steady flow of leads and sales.

Rather than cutting the budget, it’s more beneficial to focus on making the most of it. Instead of scaling back, explore ways to optimize your marketing efforts, improve efficiency, and maximize the return on investment within your allocated budget.

Another consideration when determining how to best leverage marketing dollars is the decision between having an in-house marketing team or partnering with an agency. 

If your budget and resources can accommodate it, establishing an in-house marketing team can be an exciting step forward for your business. Having dedicated marketers working directly for your brand offers numerous advantages that can drive sales and overall growth.

With an in-house team, you can foster a deep understanding of your brand, products, and target audience. They can immerse themselves in your industry, becoming intimately familiar with your customers’ pain points, desires, and motivations. This insider knowledge allows them to develop tailored marketing strategies that resonate with your audience and effectively drive sales.

However, it’s important to consider the costs associated with maintaining an in-house team. Building a talented and skilled marketing team requires investments in recruitment, salaries, benefits, training, and ongoing professional development. Additionally, there may be overhead costs related to office space, equipment, and software.

By collaborating with external experts, like an agency, you can gain access to a diverse range of specialized skills and experiences without the overhead expenses of a permanent team. These experts bring a wealth of knowledge from working with various clients and industries, offering new perspectives and innovative approaches to your marketing efforts.

External experts can help you optimize your marketing budget by focusing on the most impactful strategies and marketing tactics. They can provide insights into emerging trends, identify untapped opportunities, and implement effective campaigns that drive sales and maximize your return on investment.

When selecting an external team, finding partners who align with your brand’s vision, understand your target audience, and have a proven track record of delivering results is crucial. By establishing a strong partnership, you can leverage their expertise and benefit from their outside perspective to refine your marketing strategies and drive sales growth.

Setting Goals to Market and Sell Better 

Smarketing relies on mutual goals between marketing and sales departments. 

Marketing and sales teams should collaboratively define these mutual goals, setting measurable targets that reflect both departments’ contributions to revenue generation. For example, the marketing team may focus on lead generation, lead quality improvement, or brand awareness metrics, while the sales team can focus on conversion rates, deal closure, or revenue targets. The mutual goals should be specific, time-bound, and directly tied to the overall business objectives.

Here are four goals you can focus on to market and sell better: 

  1. Invest in your brand.

A strong brand builds trust, credibility, and recognition in the minds of consumers. By investing in brand-building activities such as consistent messaging, impactful visuals, and memorable experiences, businesses can establish a solid foundation to drive sales. A well-defined brand identity resonates with customers, differentiates you from competitors, and lays the groundwork for successful sales interactions.

  1. Proactively create demand and focus on capturing it.

Identify your target audience and understand their needs and pain points. Craft compelling digital marketing campaigns that address these pain points and showcase the unique value your products or services offer. By proactively creating demand through targeted marketing efforts, businesses can attract qualified leads and nurture them through the sales funnel, ultimately driving conversions and sales growth.

  1. Measure your sales cycle.

Analyze the time it takes for a prospect to move from the initial point of contact to becoming a customer. By tracking and analyzing this data, businesses can identify bottlenecks, streamline processes, and implement strategies to accelerate the sales cycle. Shortening the sales cycle improves efficiency, reduces costs, and allows businesses to capture revenue more quickly.

  1. Amplify and distribute your content efforts via earned media. 

Leveraging earned media opportunities enables brands to amplify their content, reaching wider audiences and gaining valuable third-party validation. By integrating earned media placements into sales outreach efforts, such as incorporating PR coverage into sales emails, businesses can increase credibility, pique interest, and accelerate the sales process.

Measuring Synergy Between Marketing and Sales with Share of Voice

By keeping your content consistently in front of your audience and delivering relevant messaging, you can boost brand awareness and measure the effectiveness of your efforts. One powerful metric to consider while aiming for consistency is share of voice (SOV). By tracking your SOV, you can assess your brand’s visibility, industry presence, and overall credibility.

SOV represents the percentage of industry discussions or conversations that revolve around your brand compared to your competitors. It provides insights into how much attention and recognition your brand receives in relation to others within your industry. A higher SOV indicates a stronger brand presence and awareness, while a lower SOV suggests potential challenges in maintaining market share.

Monitoring your SOV enables you to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing tactics in increasing brand awareness and capturing the attention of your target audience. By tracking changes in your SOV over time, you can identify trends and evaluate the impact of your marketing efforts on brand perception and market share.

Strategic PR initiatives, including industry events, thought leadership articles, news releases, and case studies, can generate positive exposure and drive conversations about your brand. By leveraging B2B PR, you can not only increase your SOV but also gain a competitive advantage and establish your brand as a trusted authority within your industry.

Building that consistency and increasing SOV is also how your brand becomes your audience’s default choice. 

Becoming the default choice for your audience involves building a strong brand preference. It requires a combination of consistent messaging, strategic content distribution, and effective communication across marketing channels. By consistently increasing your SOV, you strengthen your brand’s position and influence in the minds of your audience, ensuring that they consider your brand their go-to option.

Becoming your audience’s default choice or a top-of-mind name in your industry is the goal and the ultimate measure of success between marketing and sales departments. 

Want to learn more about incorporating smarketing into your B2B strategy? Reach out today.