Meetings and sessions are the lifeblood of the B2B sales and marketing process. No matter the industry or goal, direct engagements are key to converting potential customers into bonafide buyers — or, in some cases, donors and investors.
Whether your organization’s goals is to meet prospects at a trade show or inviting them to a session, these opportunities come at critical stages in the customer journey. In turn, they may be the greatest chance you have of nurturing target accounts down the sales funnel and achieving business objectives.
However, appointment scheduling isn’t so simple and it is not a siloed activity. To achieve the best outcome, marketers must provide a simple and effective process and tools to enable the scheduling, managing and tracking of all face-to-face engagements with prospects and existing customers. In fact, if sales teams and marketers aren’t aligned, it can become exceptionally complicated. Luckily, there are plenty of ways organizations can close the gap and start aligning sales and marketing strategies for long-term success.
In this blog, we’ll walk you through the significance of sales and marketing alignment, how it boosts business performance and the tactics you can use to achieve it.
The Importance of B2B Sales and Marketing Alignment
In brief, to align marketing with sales is to enable both departments to work seamlessly together, thereby increasing efficiency.
Despite being two halves of the same coin, sales reps and marketers are an imperfect union. They often have different goals, metrics, technologies and strategies in place — some of which may be counterproductive to the other. This divide is what’s known as sales and marketing misalignment.
Simply put, misaligned sales and marketing teams are bad for business. In fact, according to HubSpot, more than half (52%) of sales professionals agree that they lead to lost sales and revenue. Altogether, it’s widely believed that sales and marketing misalignment costs companies worldwide a combined $1 trillion every year.
By contrast, aligning sales and marketing strategies can actually energize performance and optimize costs. For example, research shows that alignment can help B2B sales organizations reduce customer acquisition costs by 30% while simultaneously raising lifetime value by 20%.
How Alignment Impacts the Scheduling Process
B2B event marketing is one of the most effective ways to accelerate the sales cycle, advance pipelines and stimulate long-term revenue growth. However, it’s also an increasingly costly endeavor.
According to the annual ICE report, event costs are rising by as much as 83% in 2023. Not only has this taken a toll on event ROI, but it’s also pressuring marketers to maximize the value of their investments. Ultimately, it boils down to one objective: booking more customer meetings, thereby driving positive business outcomes.
This is much easier said than done when you’re working with a misaligned sales and marketing team. Both departments play important roles in facilitating the scheduling process, which means they absolutely must stay on the same page.
Of course, scheduling is only effective when team members agree on who they’re targeting. Sales reps and marketers may have different definitions of “qualified lead” and may not even agree on an ideal customer.
Even if they are aligned on target accounts, they may rely on an inadequate scheduling workflow with minimal collaboration and too few integrations. This not only hinders your ability to book meetings, but also makes it needlessly difficult to demonstrate success and calculate ROI. Which appointment led to revenue? From which marketing campaigns did that lead originate? Questions like these are almost impossible to answer when sales and marketing efforts aren’t aligned.
By contrast, sales and marketing alignment will unlock the potential of your event marketing program. When teams are in sync, they know exactly which attendees are of the greatest value. More importantly, they understand which engagement types will generate the most impact and maximize their chances of conversion.
Tactics for Aligning Sales and Marketing
Aligning sales and marketing strategies can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can strengthen synergy throughout the appointment scheduling process:
- Share goals and metrics: Ultimately, teams must agree on at least one common goal to guide their sales and marketing strategy. In the case of B2B engagements, that might be to maximize as many high-quality meetings and sessions as possible throughout an event. Moreover, teams should share metrics to measure performance, such as win rate, number of meetings held or pipelines advanced.
- Define buyer personas: Clarify your ideal customer and buyer persona, then map where they are in relation to your sales funnel. Chances are your target accounts have multiple personas (i.e., influencers and decision makers), so create profiles of each stakeholder. This process will help sales reps and marketers understand who they’re scheduling, what they care about and how to help them.
- Establish roles and responsibilities: Ensure everyone knows what part they play in the appointment scheduling and/or event marketing process. For sales, that means reaching out to contacts and requesting outbound meetings. Marketers must focus on driving inbound requests, as discussed below.
- Use integrated marketing campaigns: A demand-gen marketing strategy can help the marketing department register prospects for sessions and pre-schedule attendees ahead of events.
- Create a feedback loop: After a roadshow, conference or webinar session, it’s best practice to debrief team members on their performance. Salespeople and marketers should be present to gather feedback, share insights and identify areas for improvement, thus strengthening efficiency.
- Align technologies: Integrated solutions that bridge the gap between customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and marketing automation tools allow all teams to leverage rich customer data throughout the sales and marketing process. Better yet, fill the holes in your tech stack with a robust scheduling tool that streamlines and simplifies appointment booking for sales teams, marketers and customers alike.
Strengthen Alignment With Meeting Scheduling Automation
Booking meetings and sessions may seem easy on the surface. In reality, there are many moving parts that need to be managed — both by the sales team and the marketing department.
Generally, there are two workflows: the inbound and the outbound scheduling process. Whereas marketers are responsible for driving inbound requests from existing and potential customers, sales reps use their connections to book outbound sales call appointments, product demos and so on.
Both processes rely heavily on cohesion between one team and the other. Internal participants need to be prepped with the necessary context and information so they can perform well during the meeting and ensure it’s worth their time and effort. On the other hand, external stakeholders (i.e., target accounts) must be mapped to the product expert, executive and sales rep most relevant to their topic of interest.
These variables are further complicated by a high volume of calendars, time zones, meeting types and topics. Without a robust and automated scheduling platform, it’s almost impossible for sales teams and marketers to manage the mayhem while staying on the same page.
Meeting Scheduling Automation
Traditionally, organizations use one of two methods for managing their scheduling workflow:
- Ordinary spreadsheets.
- Basic appointment scheduling apps.
The problem? Neither of these are fit for purpose. They’re insufficient for the needs of a modern enterprise, especially when it comes to B2B marketing campaigns and events. As manual tools, they generate costly, time-consuming inefficiencies and require constant back-and-forth communication. Worse yet, they’re riddled with mistakes — an estimated 88% of spreadsheets contain errors.
Avoidable mistakes like double bookings and miscommunications simply can’t happen when you’re on the verge of a multi-million dollar sale. Fortunately, Jifflenow found a way to eliminate them.
With the innovative capabilities of meeting scheduling automation software, organizations can streamline appointment booking and maximize their customer engagements. Solutions like Jifflenow’s eCampaign and eEvent platforms allow teams to reduce scheduling efforts at scale.
For example, sales and marketing teams can:
- Accelerate inbound scheduling by enabling prospects to request appointments mapped to specific topics, engagement types and meeting locations.
- Eliminate unnecessary emailing in the outbound booking process by allowing sales reps to offer multiple meeting types (also mapped to topics and internal experts).
- Enhance collaboration by sharing meeting data in a centralized hub.
- Integrate CRM and marketing automation software, empowering teams to track and prove ROI.
Bottom line: No more scheduling headaches and missed opportunities. With Jifflenow at your side, you can take sales and marketing alignment to the next level.
Continue Your Sales and Marketing Transformation
For more insights on how Jifflenow can support your journey to sales and marketing alignment, check out our latest eBook: The Comprehensive Guide to Event Budgets and ROI Strategy.