The sales team exists to make sales. Their main role in the company is to bring on new accounts that will help the company to grow revenue.
The marketing department exists to make the sales process easier so the company can make more sales.
These two are like peas and carrots and should be two of the most tightly-knit departments in any company. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. And, this misalignment often rears its ugly head when goals are missed.
The marketing people blame sales for not taking advantage of all the leads they generate and the content they create. The sales team, on the other hand, thinks that marketing is not producing enough sales-ready (as in ready to buy right now), good quality leads.
However, in companies where sales and marketing work closely together, not achieving their goals is rarely a problem. In fact, according to research done by the Aberdeen Group, companies that optimize the sales and marketing relationship will grow revenues 32% faster! Also, companies with aligned sales and marketing teams realize 38% higher sales win rates, 36% higher customer retention rates, and generate 208% more revenue from marketing, this is according to a study completed by MarketingProfs.
I think it’s safe to say that there’s a huge upside to tightly integrated sales and marketing.
3 Most Common Stumbling Blocks
According to DemandGen’s survey of 995 sales and marketing professionals across the US there are three common stumbling blocks to achieving integration–Communication, Broken Processes, and Misaligned Metrics
In companies where each department operates in its own bubble, Marketing focuses on metrics, and sales focuses on having conversations that can advance the sale. As a result of this, one hand doesn’t talk to the other. If marketing is seeing engagement with a particular piece of content but not sharing that data with sales, opportunities will be missed. A few weeks ago, here at Haley Marketing, the marketing team saw an uptick in engagement with our recruitment marketing content. As a result, the team partnered with sales to deliver some content on behalf of the sales team. The timing of this content was impeccable and it resulted in more meetings scheduled than sales could fit on their calendar!
In DemandGen’s survey, they asked sales to prioritize what they need most from marketing and vise versa. The top 2 needs from sales were lead quality and lead quantity for marketing it was lead follow-up and consistent use of systems.
I believe that this disconnect can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and lead to the next stumbling block.
A Broken Process
Pipeline growth and movement through it are where the true integration between sales and marketing occurs. But if sales and marketing cannot agree on some basic fundamentals (what is considered a qualified lead, definitions of each stage of the sales funnel, and lead scoring criteria) there will be a massive disconnect that will make it nearly impossible to align. Once the process is defined, it needs to be implemented consistently.
The next area relates to how each department measures the success of its efforts.
In order for sales and marketing to feel that they are working towards the same goals, they need to share the same goal. Sales is typically measured on quota attainment, win rates, and renewals, yet none of those show up on marketing’s radar, because marketing is traditionally more focused on leads. With both teams focused on different metrics and aspects of leads and accounts, it’s no wonder there is conflict.
This is a good Segway to turning things around…
Starting with Metrics. I think Sales and Marketing need to match some of their metrics.
I propose that both sales and marketing make their number one most important metric revenue growth and view all others that are specific to sales or marketing as metrics that exist to measure their movement toward the top-level goal.
The second area is one that may have the biggest impact. Meet on a regular basis. Annual, quarterly, or even monthly meetings aren’t going to cut it when Sales is talking to customers and Marketing is analyzing data every day of the week. A standing weekly meeting will allow the teams to compare notes and plan accordingly.
Next, work together to decode your customers and understand what makes them tick. What does their journey through your company look like? How can you have an impact along the way?
Fourth, once your process is fixed and defined make sure that it carries over to your CRM. And use these TOOLS to stay on the same page. Sales should always know what campaigns Marketing is working on and Marketing should be able to draw a clear line between their efforts and revenue growth.
Finally, Work to create content together. One of the key takeaways from a study done by the content marketing institute is that only 25% of all respondents with low alignment of sales and marketing said they discussed how to use the content to advance a sale. On top of it, a mere 19% discussed when to use the content. Without a doubt, these are the two most important areas to ensure effectiveness. If salespeople don’t know what to do with all the content, what’s the point in making it?
A few months ago, at Mamu Media, we realized that many of our clients were not using our content effectively at a time when getting a foot in the door for new business sales is getting harder and harder. As a result, we started to deliver a very detailed plan with each of our content packages that give the sales team a step-by-step guide on how to use the content to open new doors.
Content really is a great integrator and can play a major role in bringing sales and marketing together since the most effective content understands the customer through the lens of both marketing and sales.
These stats about today’s buyer does a great job of emphasizing the importance of content as part of your integration process.
According to research from Forrester.
- 92% of buyers start with an information search online
- 53% find that going online and researching is superior to interacting with a salesperson
- 75% of buyers depend on social networks to learn about different vendors
- AND…..90% won’t take a cold call
The same study from Forrester compares how companies that have loosely integrated sales and marketing teams and ones that have tightly integrated teams discuss how and when to use their content in the sales process.
Only 25% of all respondents with low alignment of sales and marketing said they discussed how to use the content to advance a sale. On top of it, a mere 19% discussed when to use the content.
By Contrast 8 out of 10 marketers in highly aligned companies show their salespeople how and when to use the content that they are creating for them.
According to Forrester Principal Analyst Mary Shea, lead author of the study B2B Buyers Mandate a New Charter for Marketing and Sales:
“The empowered B2B buyer is neither concerned with how your organization is structured and who’s responsible for the content on your website, nor are they interested in talking with a sales rep simply because they downloaded a white paper. Your buyers want contextual interactions with both human and digital assets across a holistic, but non-linear journey.”
The bad news is, this customer journey is happening with or without your sales and marketing teams. The good news is, all of this online information is accessible to everyone in your organization. It’s time for the sales and marketing teams to work together and take control of the online conversation.
If you’re looking for help or need additional ideas, contact us today!