“Marketing is eating sales.” “Death of a B2B salesman.” We’ve heard this rhetoric again and again, attempting to predict the future of B2B sales and marketing. Whether these statements will come to fruition or not is very difficult to predict. And while the lines between sales and marketing are blurring, one thing I can say with confidence is that the most successful B2B companies will view sales and marketing as one single team, not two separate entities.
Enter the Revenue Team
The revenue team should be comprised of the individuals who control the functions that are directly and, to a degree, indirectly responsible for generating revenue. Sales, marketing, customer success / account management, and sales enablement are all revenue generating functions; they should all be under the umbrella of one team, and should be under the guidance of a Chief Revenue Officer.
The Only Way to Create True Alignment
An all too common theme among B2B organizations is the quest to create strong alignment between sales and marketing. Without the direction of a single leader (the CRO) most companies will always struggle to create true alignment between sales and marketing. For true alignment to exist and be fully integrated into day-to-day work and processes, there must be one leader steering the ship with one core mission, philosophy, and approach to revenue growth. And that person should be the CRO leading one unified team - the revenue team.
Revenue Enablement – Not Sales Enablement
When considering alignment and the emergence of a single “revenue team”, enablement must be viewed not simply through the lens of enabling and supporting sales. It should be supportive of all departments under the umbrella of revenue: sales, marketing, and customer success.
A growth enablement function can support the revenue team through: training (yes, marketing and customer success needs training too); building consistent messaging that spans the entire buyer journey and customer lifecycle; and ensuring effective digital and person to person interactions.
The Three Elements That Tie Everything Together
There are three elements that help bind sales, marketing and customer success. Messaging, interaction, and data are all components that a revenue team must recognize as the key levers that play a critical role throughout the entire buyer journey and customer lifecycle, help drive effectiveness, and ultimately drive growth.
1. Messaging: Building impactful and consistent messaging has a substantial impact on the effectiveness of nearly every member of the revenue team. Strong messaging improves the quality of marketing collateral, digital assets, person-to-person interactions, and even onboarding and training. Well-built messaging can aide in disrupting buyers’ status quo and improve the ability to influence buyers towards the top of the funnel who are in a self-discovery phase.
2. Interaction: Fostering a great buyer experience that is personalized and delivers relevant and valuable insight can separate you and your offering from that of your competitors. But if the major part of the buyer journey is occurring before engaging with a sales person, building effective interaction must be accomplished for both person-to-person and digital interactions. The onus is on revenue leaders to ensure that there is an organizational emphasis on continuously measuring the effectiveness of these interactions and constantly improving them.
3. Data: Data lies at the foundation of any great growth strategy and it should serve as a revenue team’s north star. Data can be used to shape target markets, measure and optimize effectiveness and efficiency, and improve buyer and customer interactions.
Everyone Must Have a Number
In the past it’s been the sales team whose performance has been measured in terms of numbers and quotas. Only now are we starting to see an increasing number of marketing teams carrying a quota of sorts.
In a modern B2B buying environment where digital interactions are becoming increasingly important, and where metrics like net promoter score and expansion revenue carry a significant weight in driving growth, everyone on a revenue team must carry a quota. Revenue must be viewed not as a single interaction of acquiring a new customer. It must be viewed as a series of ongoing interactions that are all equally important.
From the time of inception when buyers are moving from “unaware” to “aware”, through customer acquisition, all the way to retention and expansion of a customer relationship, all members of a revenue team play a critical part. Their ability to ensure success at those different phases of the buyer and customer journey must be measured.
The evolution of B2B sales and marketing, and more importantly the emergence of the modern B2B buyer, have placed an entirely new set of demands on sales, marketing, and customer success teams. The ability to create exceptional buyer and customer experiences, rich with insight and meaningful interactions, will be a tremendous advantage for those who are able to deliver. And that will never happen in silos. It requires one team under the guidance of one leader.