The reasons why your marketing and sales teams go to battle are similar to the reasons two young siblings duke it out. It’s a blame game. Let’s say a baseball mysteriously sails through your window when your kids are playing outside. One pitched the ball and the other swung the bat. So whose fault is the shattered glass?
When things go awry — revenue is down, leads are stagnant — your marketing and sales team often play the blame game. Marketing says sales isn’t closing the high-quality leads they’re passing over, and sales says marketing isn’t sending high-quality leads or enough leads. In reality, both teams need to work together, communicate better, and align their goals.
One way to help facilitate this change of perspective and grow your B2B business is through integrated marketing and sales technology.
Clearer Data = Clearer Goals
In many organizations, marketing and sales collect their data separately, so even if a lead passed through one (or several) marketing campaigns before talking to sales, that lead’s action or inaction is not attributed to marketing’s efforts. This makes it nearly impossible to know which marketing efforts are working and which are not, and the marketing team is likely to invest in the wrong places.
On the flipside, sales isn’t sharing data on why leads fail to convert, so marketing doesn’t know what missing information they could be incorporating into their campaigns to better qualify leads. According to a 2016 study by Deloitte, only 37 percent of American CMOs feel they can quantitatively prove the short-term impact of their marketing efforts.
The top-line goal of both marketing and sales in a B2B organization is to grow more business. But when the two teams aren’t sharing data, their specific tasks become misaligned. The two teams start working in different directions, rather than banding together. Integrated marketing and sales tech prevents this by making data visible in both directions, so the two teams are supporting and learning from each other’s initiatives, rather than working against.
Marketing automation and CRM platforms are two of the most important systems that, when integrated, can support this kind of collaboration and goal alignment, but they aren’t the only options. Depending on your operational model, others might include:
- Business intelligence/analytics
- Email tracking apps
- Content management system
- Account-based marketing tools
- Social media management/marketing
As you purchase these tools or work toward optimizing your existing B2B stack, look for native integrations that let you connect each system by sharing login credentials and specifying data protocols. Ideally, your marketing automation platform and CRM will share lead and customer data in both directions, so marketing can track campaign outcomes, and sales can access critical lead intelligence. In some cases, you may need to work with your IT department to manually configure APIs (application programming interfaces).
In our digital world, a lead could come to your B2B organization from any number of touchpoints — your website, a whitepaper, an email, social media, an event, a cold call, a banner ad — then move through more of those touchpoints before making the decision to convert (or not convert).
In a fractured organization with siloed technology, these touchpoints are nearly impossible to track, much less keep aligned. The message being shared about your product or service on social media is different than the message sales is pitching at a conference, which is different still from the message on your homepage. Beyond that, these competing messages are likely being served to the lead at an overlap, so he/she is inundated with information in a way that feels aggressive and uninviting.
Integrated marketing and sales tech makes it possible to synchronize all of these touchpoints so the messages being conveyed through each fit together like pieces of a puzzle. It also helps your two teams time lead outreach so that no one lead is getting bombarded with information.
For example, a lead fills out a request for more information on your site. Marketing then sends a high-level HTML email that reiterates the value proposition on your homepage, and then a salesperson sends a timely personal follow-up email to inquire about meeting. Integrated marketing and sales tech makes this kind of synchronization possible in even the biggest B2B organizations, without manual effort.
A United Front
The B2B world is getting more competitive every year, with new players constantly entering the market. It’s increasingly difficult for a B2B organization to gain, keep, and grow their market share. One tried-and-true way to outmaneuver the competition is by working together. There is strength in numbers, but only when those involved are working toward the same goal.
In organizations where this is a rift between marketing and sales, this combining of firepower will require a shift in perspective and organizational culture, which can be hard to accomplish. Integrated marketing and sales tech makes it easier by removing tedious manual processes from both teams (thus freeing up brain-space, time, and resentment), aligning and sharing data, and creating a collaborative work environment in which both team’s opinions are equally valued.
Account-based marketing is a perfect example here. Marketing can’t launch any account-specific campaigns unless they know which accounts sales wants to pursue, and sales can’t ride the coattails of a good ABM campaign unless they take cues from marketing. Running these campaigns from an integrated platform and sharing account-based scorecards can make all the difference.
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When sales and marketing work together, they can not only avoid problems (like low close rates and missed quarterly goals), but they can better overcome challenges that inevitably arise. SiriusDecisions suggests that companies with tightly aligned sales and marketing departments see 19 percent faster revenue growth and 15 percent higher profitability, on average. Sharing the same data and the same visibility into the buyer’s journey is a critical, if not the most important, piece of that alignment.