Marketing and sales share one basic goal, which is to enhance the company’s revenue. However, sales and marketing are often not aligned, resulting in wasted efforts and ineffective attempts to increase sales or attract customers.
This lack of alignment results from use of legacy sales CRM and marketing tracking systems that don’t integrate well with each other. Data becomes compartmentalized with each department claiming ownership thus creating data silos. The lack of integration also makes it difficult to view the data in a meaningful manner that can help improve company’s profitability.
Achieving alignment requires transparency and accountability, and a SaaS software — such as Salesforce — can help bring sales and marketing into alignment. Salesforce offers solutions that help automate sales and marketing tasks, while providing necessary data integration so that both sales and marketing teams have visibility into prospect and customer activity – the data that they can then use to further generate interest (marketing) or close more deals (sales). Salesforce also easily integrates with other cloud software such as HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, etc. to offer a seamless experience to your sales and marketing teams while allowing them to use the software of their choice for their day-to-day activities.
Driving sales and marketing teams towards getting this alignment, however, can be tricky and needs a planned strategic approach. This blog lists the basic things IT can do to guide the sales and marketing departments into alignment with Salesforce, thereby breaking those data silos and improving company’s revenue.
- Get sales and marketing teams to support the move to Sales and Marketing Cloud. Moving to the cloud can impact many different business processes, and the concept can be unsettling for some. Explain what Sales and Marketing Cloud can do for them specifically as well as the benefits for the company as a whole. You might want to emphasize statistical evidence that demonstrate the effectiveness of alignment, such as:
- According to Forrester Research, poorly aligned companies experienced a decline of 7 percent in annual revenue growth, while aligned organizations reported an average increase of 32 percent.
- MarketingProfs reported that companies with highly aligned marketing and sales had sales win rates that were 38 percent higher and customer retention rates that were 36 percent higher.
- Educate sales and marketing teams to make the transition easier for them. Train team members in how to use the software most effectively. Point out features that can make their tasks easier, provide better insight or automate routine tasks.
- Help sales and marketing define terms so that each term means the same to both departments. A few terms or conditions that may need to be addressed are:
- Target Buyer: Both departments need to agree on the answers to the following questions: Who is the target buyer? How does the target buyer spend his or her time? What do target buyers care about? Why do they buy?
- Buying Process: The buying process is a series of phases that the customer goes through before making a purchase. It is important to understand the information buyers will consume, where they will obtain their information, from whom will they seek information and which methods of communication they will use to access the information.
- Qualified Lead: This is one term that can mean very different things to marketing and sales. Does the lead need to be in the final stages of the buying process, or is an initial inquiry sufficient? How important is the source of the lead? That is, was the lead generated by an action the buyer purposely took, or through an indirect action?
- Define service level agreements. In every organization, spoken and unspoken agreements exist between sales and marketing. For alignment, these agreements must be formalized, defined and committed to by both departments. For example:
- Marketing agrees to generate X qualified leads.
- Sales agrees to follow up on qualified leads within a specific time period by doing A, B or C.
- Sales will provide timely feedback on lead quality and follow-up efforts.
- Both departments agree on what the lead hand-off process will be.
- Set up and optimize feedback loops. Sales and marketing need accessible data to determine whether a marketing campaign is working, leads are being handled properly and budgets are being met. Salesforce offers the ability to give both teams the type of in-depth, timely information they need. IT can show them how to use all of the tools available with the software.
- Facilitate communications through Salesforce. The metrics that can be accessed and analyzed can provide much-needed answers. With the data, sales and marketing can have departmental meetings to review what is and is not working. Interdepartmental meetings can focus on solutions, rather than attempts to assign blame. A content hub provides consistent, easily accessible assets that can be leveraged and evaluated for effectiveness.
Salesforce helps streamline operations, monitor budgets, track goals and manage leads. Collaboration is greatly enhanced, both for departmental and interdepartmental efforts. It is not an exaggeration to state that IT plays a critical role in successfully aligning sales and marketing to get the most out of Salesforce implementations.