Awards case study: Vodafone aligns sales and marketing teams to engage senior decision-makers
Discover how Vodafone created new levels of alignment between sales and marketing to reach its audience of c-suite decision-makers
Vodafone is one of the world’s largest communications companies delivering services in more than 150 countries.
Traditionally Vodafone is known as a mobile phone operator but with its ‘Ready Business’ positioning it can now help businesses become more agile and better connected, improve talent retention, and get closer to its customers with innovative technology and solutions.
The most important job was to shift perceptions of Vodafone:
- From mobile operator to total communications provider.
- From tactical price-driven supplier to trusted strategic partner.
- From discussion with procurement/facilities/IT to discussion with senior business executives.
- From outbound and ATL product push to inbound and relevant.
- From product-led to business issue focused.
The target audience
B2B customers are changing the way they buy. To earn their consideration it's important to be relevant and helpful: from showing strategic understanding of their business issues, through to offering practical advice, and value in the sales conversation.
- Customers are increasingly resistant to traditional approaches.
- They’re increasingly averse to being given the hard product sell.
- They want a partner who understands the issues and trends affecting their business.
Working with key stakeholders from sales and marketing, an initial workshop was organised to gather:
- Sales intelligence into customer issues, trends and personas.
- The sales team’s view of customer perceptions of Vodafone.
This provided the insights to identify:
- What customers in that vertical/industry are thinking about.
- What sales enablement pieces would help the sales team guide conversation.
- What promotional assets would be needed to help with a successful inbound campaign.
This led to:
- A strategy based on sales insight.
- Messaging that really resonates with the audience.
- Sales enablement tools to support a consultative sale.
The content framework
Customer-facing: A suite of content assets, mapped against the three key buying cycle stages (awareness, consideration, purchase). For use in inbound and outbound marketing and sales engagements.
Sales enablement: A key piece was the 10-minute sales expert – a guide to consultative selling in a particular vertical/industry – making it easy for sales people to pick up and use all the customer-facing assets.
Marketing support: Promotional assets supporting specific content – helping marketing teams easily amplify the content across digital channels. Includes pre-written social posts in a calendar. Plus guides on content marketing, social media and marketing automation.
Social media amplification
The content was heavily amplified across social channels – made easy by the campaign having ready-made social posts and links for local teams to activate.
A critical part of this was the sales team engagement: helping and encouraging them to use social selling to assist credibility, relevance and dialogues with prospects.
Enabling the sales and marketing team
Different countries are at different levels of maturity with their marketing capabilities, so as part of this programme everything the sales and marketing teams needed to activate the campaign were created:
An execution checklist: A 10-point to-do list for in-country marketing teams to follow – and highlighting the need to bring sales teams in at the very beginning.
A content marketing guide: Practical information on why and how to use content – including a ready-to-go eight-week campaign blueprint for marketing teams to follow if they wish.
The execution checklist
The content marketing guide
Upskilling: Setting a new sales and marketing best practice
A suite of practical guides and tools to help supercharge the campaign were created – from measurement dashboards to social selling guides:
Content marketing execution guide: Ensuring marketing teams understand how to use the different content and create a successful inbound campaign.
Social media guide: Ensuring both sales and marketing teams understand the role and importance of social media for an inbound campaign.
Buyer persona insight guide: Giving sales people guidance on how to use personas with account planning, segmentation, research through to sales engagement.
Automated marketing guide: For the more advanced countries, this guide gives and overview of how to use marketing automation and lead nurturing as part of the inbound campaign.
The campaign plan: media, channels and techniques
Pulling it all together – integrated sales and marketing campaigning:
Integration: The campaign was truly integrated – a consistent, joined up approach across web, email, search, PR, social, ATL, events, telemarketing and direct sales conversations.
Buyer-focused: The campaign was aligned to the buyer journey – from initial awareness right through to actual face-to-face sales conversations.
Time to set up first vertical package
Immersion: three weeks
Content strategy and framework: two weeks
Content development: eight weeks
Go-to-market guides: six weeks
Ongoing vertical packages
Immersion, content development: 12 weeks
- Sales teams became a channel for marketing by sharing content with their contacts.
- Fully engaged sales teams are 100% behind the campaigns.
- Marketing teams benefitted from the outset from sales perspective on customer.
- Sales and marketing teams worked collaboratively throughout.
- Sales and marketing teams gained valuable insights from each other.
Sally-Anne Burwell, senior marketing manager, large enterprise, Vodafone,
"Without exception, colleagues across our business – in marketing and sales – are impressed with the approach and quality of the content. And now we’re seeing business generated as a result - the domino effect is working!"