Even the B2B industry, which has historically been more resistant on the front of innovative and technological business tools, has surrendered. Data confirms that the number of companies allocating more than 5% of their turnover to digital marketing investments has doubled since the pandemic.
In short, although the digital transformation has already been underway for several years – at least a decade – it has undoubtedly been the last two years that have acted as a watershed, particularly in the B2B industry, between the past and the future.
Traditional sales tools are thus being set aside in favour of more technological solutions such as Lead Generation and Account-Based Marketing. The figure of the salesperson himself seems to have realised that the application of these new techniques and strategies represents a valuable ally for acquiring new contacts of potential customers, which, if managed and followed up correctly, can turn out to be interesting business opportunities.
Social media also become a tool to be integrated into B2B marketing strategies. The search for new contacts and the management of relationships with current and potential customers are led through the company's professional and personal profiles on social networks such as LinkedIn, making it essential to maintain and complete them. Knowing how to use these tools professionally also becomes essential for the sales network. Even better if supported by an integrated database available to the whole team. Thanks to the use of advanced CRM – Customer Relationship Management – and Marketing Automation software, it is possible to keep track of the results of a lead generation activity or the status of a negotiation.
The competitiveness between sales and marketing, which very often led to counterproductive results even though both acted with good intentions towards the company's business, thus seems to be a distant memory – or at least, work is being done to make it so. The division is being dissolved in favour of a 'new' way of doing business, which combines more traditional sales techniques with innovative tools and technologies that enhance their effects. At last, the two departments find themselves talking to each other and collaborating on clear and shared objectives, which they both agree to achieve.
It is true, then, that the world of sales is completely changing and, on closer inspection, not only that. It is no longer enough to use marketing to do lead generation and then pass the contact to the sales department. What is needed, first of all, is the realisation of ‘smarketing' – the combination of sales and marketing. So make way for well-defined objectives and KPIs – Key Performance Indicators -, Account Based Marketing and Inbound Marketing strategies to convert leads into customers, integrated CRM and Marketing Automation systems, and reports and data to measure the performance of all activities, accompanied by a new mindset and working methodology, which requires the commitment of all team members.