Wednesday June 10, 2015

Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Working in Harmony?

Sales and Marketing: they can be the best of friends or the worst of enemies. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find these two teams suffering when their work is siloed. Both teams are working toward the same goal: earning new customers. So why do so many organizations suffer from a lack of insight and communication between two of their most important departments?

How Sales and Marketing Feed Off of Each Other

For many businesses, Marketing and Sales both involve many distinct processes, but their goals can be boiled down thusly:

Marketing: drive leads

Sales: close leads

Back in the days before everyone used the Internet to research businesses, services and products, the timeline of how Marketing and Sales played into each lead was relatively straightforward: Marketing created demand and drove leads; once the leads contacted Sales, the Sales team closed the deal.

With the abundance of information available online, the purchasing process isn’t as linear as it once was. People may skip or repeat parts of the traditional sales process – some may be ready to immediately convert and some may need to be nurtured before they choose to commit. Because the sales process is now less predictable than it once was, Sales and Marketing must rely on each other more than ever.

Unfortunately, many of these teams are still operating as in the old days of Sales and Marketing, where each does the best job they can without coordinating with each other. This organizational structure is no longer viable for organizations. So how can you get Sales and Marketing to work together for the greater good?

How to Get Sales and Marketing to Work Harmoniously

Sales and Marketing should understand that the outcomes of their respective efforts will be more successful if they work collaboratively. Having the support of the other department is akin to phoning a friend on Who Wants to be a Millionaire: you might be able to get the job done without them, but you know the odds of success are a lot better when they share their expertise with you. For example, if Sales clues Marketing in on why the leads they are getting aren’t qualified, Marketing can then recalibrate their efforts to target better leads. More qualified leads will result in more closed sales (and hopefully bonuses all around!).

Not sure how to get your Sales and Marketing to phone (or, more realistically, email) each other to provide support? Here’s how the two can get started:

SALES: SHARE CUSTOMER INSIGHTS WITH MARKETING

One of the most important ways that Sales can support Marketing is by providing feedback about the leads they are seeing. Because Marketing generally doesn’t work directly with leads or customers, they may be unaware of commonalities in the leads that are being sent their way. Information about the quality and types of leads that Sales sees must be shared with Marketing so that they can modify their marketing efforts, need be, to ensure that the best leads are being generated.

Information Sales should share with Marketing:

  1. Are the leads they are seeing high quality? If not, what makes them a poor lead?
  2. Are customers voicing opinions on things they want or object to, in relation to either the sales process or the product?
  3. Psychographic commonalities in strong leads: what is motivating them to buy? Why now? What benefit will it serve them?

If possible, Sales should share conversions directly with Marketing – whether in the form of inquiry emails, contact form submissions or recorded phone calls. Doing so not only helps Marketing adjust its tactics to focus on the best leads and develop stronger lead nurturing strategies, it also helps Sales gain a truer line of sight to the ROI of its marketing channels through lead validation.

MARKETING: CREATE MARKETING MATERIALS TO HELP NURTURE LEADS AND CUSTOMERS

It’s no longer the case that once someone becomes a lead, the work of the marketer ends. While they’ve succeeded in driving demands, it’s often not a one-and-done process for leads at the top of the funnel.

While there are many ways to nurture leads – and the best way to nurture will differ at every organization – email marketing is a great place for Marketing to jump in to help Sales. Marketing can assist in enticing a lead to convert by developing strategically crafted and timed emails. Nurturing emails will look different depending on the organization and the lead: practical information, entertaining articles or special offers are all commonly used in nurturing campaigns. By arming Sales with nurturing materials, Sales can then send the appropriate content to each lead.

These materials can be used for current customers, as well. It’s important to retain customers through similar nurturing efforts; if you don’t aim to keep clients, you risk them being poached by a competitor.

The nurturing process can be made simple by using a joint marketing automation and CRM service, like Pardot Marketing Automation or Hatchbuck. These programs allow Sales to share a CRM with Marketing, who can then nurture or retain leads and clients via email follow up. By using the same software, Sales and Marketing will always be on the same page of the status and progress of leads.

What to Do if Your Teams Don’t Want to Play Nice?

Sometimes the lack of coordination between two teams is the result of egos, company culture or other personnel issues that cause Sales and Marketing to butt heads (or just ignore each other completely). While these situations are complex and differ for every organization, one solution that may help is charging an outside marketing firm with the task of managing the coordination between your two teams.

An outside marketing firm will determine what information your Sales and Marketing teams are currently lacking. With an understanding of what the two departments need from each other, they will then act as an independent ringleader that coordinates the flow of information between departments and helps assist both departments in generating more quality leads and nurturing leads and clients – all while the your internal Marketing and Sales teams are able to continue on with their routine tasks.

Whether you are able to make changes to how your internal Sales and Marketing departments communicate and work together or you need to bring in outside help, having coordinated efforts between the two will lead to more success for Sales, Marketing and your organization as a whole.

Written by Brittney Lane | Tags: Sales

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