3 (More!) Tips to Help Sales and Marketing Teams Align Efforts Effectively During the Ongoing Covid-19 Downtime
A recent 2020 HubSpot study found that email response rates to sales emails fell 27% between February and March this year. However, the same study also showed that marketing email open rates increased by 21% during that same duration. These content consumption statistics show that consumers and prospects are still interested in reading relevant, valuable content that can add to their knowledge base even if they aren’t open to responding to a sales conversation(Sales and Marketing).
But does that mean that salespeople should stop their outbound and prospecting efforts and take a backseat during this Covid-19 downtime? Seeing how Covid-19 has impacted the effectiveness of the usual outbound sales and marketing processes and strategies that tech and SaaS teams were earlier accustomed to; as part of the new normal, one of the main fundamentals that can help drive better business results is a tighter alignment between sales and marketing. Which means that the right steps that can implement this and create a better two-way street between sales and marketing is now integral to overall business.
Work Together to Know What Questions Prospects are Asking and What they Want
As the rules of sales and marketing are being rewritten, one important factor remains- building business relationships during a downtime is more effective than going after traditional outbound efforts. Prospects are mostly working from home and have more time to research on potential tech products and platforms. Moreover, given that now is a time of budget cuts and downsizing in many cases, prospects will always be weary of investing into something or someone with whom they haven’t had any prior business relationship. Priorities for sales and marketing have changed; and priorities for buyers have changed as well.
What your prospects need now is largely different from the solutions they would have been looking at in the first three months of the year. This is where sales and marking can align and work more closely together to access data that shares insight on what content prospects are actually clicking through (on emails, on the company website), are there specifics topics of interest they are looking for, is downloadable content seeing a rise or fall in form-fills / downloads, etc.
Marketing will always have these details captured in their marketing automation systems but if Sales doesn’t have enough real-time updates and visibility into this, moreover, if sales does-not have the required know-how to read the insights from these tools; the data does in fact go to waste.
During a downtime, sharing these insights between teams and tightening both inbound and outbound efforts can be fruitful in creating better results. Now is the time for sales to work closely with marketing to also drill down inbound leads so that they can initiative the right sales conversation at the right time.
Revisiting Prospect and Lead Scoring Together
Most sales and marketing leaders have altered their value proposition and core messaging during this Coivd-19 downtime to suit changing buyer sentiments and market conditions. But doing this without working on your prospect / lead scoring system is an incomplete step.
A target account or prospect that was a high value account in January of this year will have new priorities now and might not be a hot opportunity for the company anymore.
Optimizing efforts requires sales and marketing to work jointly on identifying only those target accounts who are a best-fit for your company’s product and service based on their own business trajectory this year (for instance, identifying their current state of business by asking questions like whether a target account is laying off people or signing more clients, getting new funding or launching new features can help identify companies who are growing from those who may be in difficulty).
Redefining Outbound Communications
When sales and marketing work in a more aligned manner to drive better ROI, it is easier for both teams to have visibility into marketing and sales leads based on inbound and outbound plans.
This is where sales and marketing then need to drive the buyer journey more aggressively by using tactics from the points above to craft messaging based on the kind of theme or topics prospects have already shown interest in, on the company website. Or, if the insights signal that prospects are looking for valuable resources to help them with another specific need, this is the time for sales and marketing to pick up on those behaviors and triggers and use the right outbound communication to get their attention repeatedly.
If you notice a prospect is located in a geographic region that is badly affected by Covid-19, for instance, sharing important information that can help contribute to their health and safety could be a good tactic. If the insights show a certain kind of persona is interacting with the brand, creating more collaterals and content to suit that person as one unit can help drive the conversation forward.
Sales and marketing can in fact transform business outcomes when they align more amicably and a downtime such as the one the global economy is facing currently emphasizes the need for this.