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Sales & Marketing – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers or Oil and Water?
In both small and large organizations, Sales and Marketing functions are interconnected. These two teams have never been more entwined than they are today. As the majority of Marketing efforts goes digital the ability to generate and qualify leads and pass information rich prospects to Sales means a shortened Sales cycle and more Sales. Creating an efficient interface between Marketing and Sales can be accomplished by implementing best practices and excellent technology.
While Sales and Marketing can operate independently, they can only reach the pinnacle of effectiveness when working together towards the common goal of landing new clients. While these two teams travel in the same direction the intersection of Sales and Marketing will always be new leads. Billions of dollars are spent annually by Marketing teams investing in varied tactics to generate coveted leads for their Sales counterparts.
Marketers are responsible for creating content and for publishing that content to receptive prospects. They are also responsible for creating demand and nurturing existing leads through the buying process. Managing advertising, publishing blog content, writing whitepapers, and maintaining their organization’s website should result in leads that the Sales team can close. On the other side of the wall the Sales team is responsible for their process of accepting the Lead, Qualification, Project Scoping, Negotiations and Closing the deals. Each team under pressure to deliver the results their organization needs to be successful.
“More leads, more leads!” is the message that comes from the Sales team. “Where are the leads I gave you last week?” asks Marketing. It is the inevitable debate about the quality of the leads. Sales teams complaining about the quality of leads gives Marketing migraines; putting Marketing in a defensive position, trying to justify their work, and usually under intense scrutiny from senior management.
Advances in technology have brought much-needed insight and a level of accountability to this process. Modern marketers can focus their attention and budget dollars on developing digital campaigns and engagement with their audience. Each component of these efforts is tracked using their CMS and email Marketing tools and synced to the company’s CRM. With tracking in place, marketers can illustrate how they have nurtured leads through the demand process and into the Sales funnel. The conversation between Sales and Marketing can shift to talking about which strategies are effective and bearing fruit rather than debating the definition of “quality”.
There is no doubt the data gathered from prospects behaviors (such as downloading a whitepaper or registering to attend an upcoming webinar) has value to both Sales and Marketing. Sales can use this data to assess the stage a prospect is in on the buying journey while the same data allows Marketing to further segment leads and deliver relevant, targeted messaging. Connecting your CMS to your CRM provides even more information to both the Sales and Marketing teams than has ever been available before. This insight into the prospects’ journey deepens the relationship and provides intimate details to the Sales team; giving them the foundation to nurture and move the prospects through the Sales funnel. With rich insight into the types of content that attracted prospects, Sales can pitch the right message to prospect. Ensuring that initial conversations that are relevant to potential customers’ needs and interests means building trust faster and shorter Sales cycles. Marketing is also rewarded as they are able to see the leads life-cycle beyond their own efforts. This data can be used as the basis for content development, campaign development, Marketing strategy and overall success.
Leads entering the pipeline can be viewed in the CRM by Sales with the details of their journey included. This invaluable data is now available for Sales to harness and used to determine the validity of the leads. Marketing can see what leads are being accepted and what leads are being rejected. T Data gathered through the Demand/Lead Generation and Sales processes create an environment for informed decision-making. Even if we are passionate about what we do, emotions are removed from the equation, and the data speaks for itself.
Through their CMS, Marketing learns the effectiveness of their campaigns and which type of campaigns result in the best leads for their Sales team through campaign analytics. Since they have visibility into campaign metrics; Marketing is equipped with data to optimize effective campaigns and discontinue ineffective campaigns. Reiteration based on real data empowers campaigns. Opportunities can be associated to a specific campaign and lead source, thus alleviating the question – “Where did this lead come from?” Conversations between Sales and Marketing are more meaningful when they are based on metrics driven by both parties’ efforts. We can clearly see where we have succeeded and where we have room for improvement and all of this is made possible by having the right tools in place, including a powerful CMS
Sales & Marketing teams have different day to day tasks. Related but not necessarily dependent, their goals have to be a reflection of each other’s efforts. Marketing launches intelligently crafted targeted campaigns with the ultimate goal of generating good qualified leads for Sales. Sales accepts these leads and continues the nurturing process to a close. It is a carefully choreographed dance that can only be mastered with time, practice and the right tools.