Bridging the Great Divide: Building Partnerships That Last
Wining, dining and one-way conversations are no longer the ticket to achieve commercial success in the B-to-B realm. Prospects are turning to their personal networks and publicly available information to form an opinion about organizations, products and services, often well before making a call to a sales team. To compound the challenge, recent joint research from Sparks Grove and eConsultancy found that outreach marketing within B-to-B organizations is steadily becoming less effective as the fragmentation of media — and a seemingly never-ending supply of new content — is affecting even the most niche sectors.
The way businesses research, evaluate, source and purchase goods and services has changed forever. Today's B-to-B customers believe (and trust) in content and perspective they source themselves, whether recommendations from a personal or professional network or content delivered and produced by B-to-B marketing organizations. But no matter the industry, marketing messaging touting the benefits of a product or service won't drive results if the sales and marketing functions aren't actively operating in the most predictive model for B-to-B success: true partnerships.
The illusion of partnership
The report "A Reinvention of B2B Marketing" reveals that approximately 90 percent of B-to-B leaders feel that marketing can play a larger role within their organization, including gaining and sharing insights into the mind of the customer, developing growth strategies, and, most of all, increasing revenue and lead generation. However, out of the nearly 60 percent of organizations that state a strong relationship exists between sales and marketing at their company, survey results reveal only 28 percent actually operate under a true partnership.
This surprising central finding shows that many organizations are simply putting a Band-Aid on the challenge of partnership, rather than harnessing the full capabilities of sales and marketing expertise to enable company growth.
New thinking = new results
Without question, it's always going to be easier to talk about transformation than actually "walking the walk." Companies that fall under a false partnership may appear to be transforming by implementing minor organizational tweaks here and there; however, when the marketing department is operating at half-speed because it still hasn't been given accountability for key functions, it's like trying to build a bridge without nails. Organizations where marketing and sales are partnering together to drive revenue and growth strategies are the ones enjoying sustainable growth.