Three things your agribusiness can do right now to shorten the sales cycle
In many traditional B2B agribusiness companies, the sales and marketing divisions are just that: divisions. Each has their role to play, and the two rarely collaborate. Both tell their version of your brand story, often using different language, imagery and data points. Your marketing team might think of your sales team as renegades who will continue to do their own thing, no matter how good the marketing materials are. The sales team might think marketing is out of touch, producing materials of no value to them.
In many agribusiness companies, the sales and marketing divisions are just that: divisions.
The above model shows the divide that naturally builds when marketing and sales operate in their own silos. Marketing will toss a prospect over the wall and sales will close the deal, with no back and forth. A recent survey of sales associates revealed 65% couldn't even find marketing materials to send to prospects.
A slight shift in perspective can have surprisingly productive results. When you approach marketing and sales as interlocking parts rather than separate divisions, the two start to work together seamlessly. Your customers' journey as they move from interacting with marketing materials to interacting with sales staff also becomes seamless.
A recent study revealed 65% of salespeople could not find appropriate marketing materials to send to prospects.
While the process of aligning marketing and sales is ongoing and multi-faceted, with endless opportunities for improvement, following are three things your innovative agribusiness company can do right now to smooth and improve your customer acquisition workflow:
When your sales and marketing teams get out of their boxes and into the same room on a regular basis, that's half the battle. Schedule time to talk specifically about what's working and what's not on the marketing and sales fronts. What marketing tactics and messages are snagging prospects? How are sales folks closing the deal? What specific language, data or emotional appeal is resonating? Are there disconnects between the aspirational approach of marketing and the practical approach of sales? Marketing often shoots for the stars, while sales picks off the low-hanging fruit. How can you better align the two approaches?
Now step back and look at both from a holistic perspective. How can the successes of each department inform and improve how the other performs? How does the messaging conveyed by marketing and sales align with the overall company goals, brand ethos and existing brand equity?
Marketing might be shooting for the stars while sales is after the low-hanging fruit.
Identify measurable and objective ways that you can talk to your customers on a regular basis. Work to distill what it is they love about your brand, uncover needs they might have that you can address down the line, and identify threats and/or opportunities your competition's positioning might pose.
An objective third party can often uncover deeper insights customers may not freely share with their salesperson. How do they feel about all the interactions they have with your company? Do they love your salesperson but hate interacting with your support team? Do they love your newsletter but hate your contracts? Every interaction adds to your overall brand equity score, positively or negatively. Effective listening helps you identify areas where you can bump up your score and increase customer satisfaction.
Once you've assessed and documented what's working in sales and marketing and what customers love about your brand, you can now work to amplify their voices. It's all about word of mouth. It always has been. As the next generation of farmers grows less brand-loyal and more susceptible to social influence, the power of word of mouth will only increase. The question is: how can you start and moderate the right conversations and influence what words come out of what mouths?
It's all about word of mouth. It always has been. The question is: how can you influence what words come out of what mouths?
Build brand love
Sales and marketing alignment shortens sales cycles, makes marketing more accountable and builds brand love. Brand love is your most powerful sales and marketing tool. When you can identify, celebrate and replicate what it is customers love, you harness the power of that love to spread the good word and grow your brand.
Sales and marketing alignment is not a pass/fail test. Think of it as a spectrum. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, there's always room for a tune-up.
About Toolbox Creative:
Toolbox Creative is a B2B Brand Engineering firm, helping the 3D Printing, Ag Tech and Clean Tech industries change the world. We distill complex technologies into powerful identity systems, websites and marketing tactics that align sales and marketing efforts, create lasting impact and build brand love.