Any sales or marketing professional will tell you that there is often an ‘atmosphere’ between the two functions: a silo mentality that often blocks effective communication, relationships and, as a result, performance. Marketers are seen as ‘day dreamers’, ‘too creative’, with a lack of understanding of the real world; while salespeople are labelled as arrogant rebels with an inflated ego and the gift of the gab.
It is becoming increasingly important that sales and marketing work hand in hand to deliver excellence for their customers. There are a number of drivers for this. This article looks at some of these drivers and then suggests ways to integrate the two functions
Change in the Buying Cycle
It has been highlighted by many that customer buying cycles are changing, with sales professionals getting involved later in the purchasing decision. According to research by CEB, B2B buyers are typically 57% on the way to a buying decision before they actively engage with sales.
Rather than the lead coming over the fence from marketing at a very early stage, sales and marketing need to work together to ensure an accessible and relevant message is out there to generate customer interest.
The impact of Social MediaSocial media is playing an increasingly important role in business development. Companies are keen to establish social marketing as a route to market, and sales have an important role in localizing the marketing message.
This is more than merely taking generating marketing collateral and pumping it out to contacts – salespeople need to communicate an authentic message that demonstrates a good understanding of specific customer issues. The support of a strong marketing team in doing this will improve the customer experience, and increase the likelihood of a sale.
Making sense of the dataWhilst increased digitalization gives the buyer more freedom to make purchasing decisions, this is accompanied by a mass of data for buyers to wade through in making decisions. A key role for salespeople is in helping buyers to navigate the plethora of different options and build their confidence in making the right choice. Marketing, in turn, have an important role in equipping sales teams to provide that insight by providing relevant, timely material.
Integrating Sales & MarketingWe have outlined a powerful case for Marketing and Sales to work together more closely. This type of integration is never easy, but there are a number of things you can do increase the chances of success:
1. Talk to people in each area, working to overcome “preconceptions”
2. Involve marketing and sales leaders
3. Define a business and "customer success" purpose that is motivating and engaging
4. Integrate the Marketing and Sales Plans
5. Define integration processes between areas
6. Choose technologies that help with integration
7. Train all people involved in the necessary soft and hard skills
8. And define common metrics across areas
Watch Helton talk more about aligning sales and marketing in this episode of Chat With Matt