If your marketing and sales teams are working at cross purposes, the resulting disconnect can eat into your company’s financial well-being. These two departments should function as opposite sides of the same coin, but it’s not always easy to know how to initiate effective collaboration. Research cited by SiriusDecisions found that B2B organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales achieved 24% faster revenue growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period.
Establish Stronger Communication Channels
Almost half the respondents on an InsideView survey stated that there is a chronic communications breakdown between the sales and marketing sides. Furthermore, 42 percent see that communication breakdown as being a systemic problem, created or worsened by company policies. InsideView observes that “Leading companies are gaining a competitive edge by addressing misalignment,” and gives some suggestions as to how this can best be accomplished. Essentially, sales and marketing each rely on each other for unique information, so an ongoing feedback loop needs to be installed.
When the feedback loop is broken, poor alignment occurs which ultimately leads to missed opportunities and conflicting priorities. Only 14% of sales and marketing leaders reported that their organizations have integrated sales and markeBng planning processes. (Click to Tweet)
Ask Marketers to Provide Context and Depth
What do salespeople want most from their colleagues in marketing?
According to the survey, the top two types of information desired by sales respondents were better leads (55 percent of respondents) and more of them (44 percent). However, 39 percent of salespeople also stated that they want competitive information, and 37 percent of them were interested in gaining a clearer sense of brand awareness. These secondary items are not incidental: they can make a big difference in eventual sales.
HubSpot’s Marketing Blog states, “Marketers usually have a deep and nuanced understanding of your company’s products and services — not just your differentiators, but where you fit into your industry as a whole. This perspective can go a long way in the sales process.” Salespeople will be more effective when they can step outside of the transactional mindset and provide customers with a long view of the product.
Work on Appropriate Lead Follow Up
When marketers were asked what they most wanted from the sales force, “Better lead follow up” was at the top of the list, with 34 percent of the vote.
Lead scoring is an important ongoing process that can help meet this need, because the sales team depends on the nature of each lead when allocating time and deciding on approach. According to the InsideView survey, 63 percent of salespeople said that they don’t participate with marketing in any form of lead scoring. Scoring isn’t the full story, however — every lead calls for some type of sales response. Dan Kennedy, writing in Entrepreneur.com, notes that salespeople have a habit of only following up on the “hot” leads, while the warm ones are neglected and become ice cold. When sales and marketing alignment is effective, both teams can collaborate on the best responses to specific types of leads. Often the “cooler” or “green” leads that salespeople might be tempted to postpone are tomorrow’s hot prospects.
Use Technology for Good Collaboration
Nearly one-third of marketers in the InsideView survey stated that they wanted the sales force to use systems more effectively. Today’s growing selection of digital CRM platforms and various collaboration systems offer unprecedented options for marketing and sales alignment.
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