Marketing has changed -- we all know that. But the business goals remain the same: to acquire and retain customers.
Well into 2015, marketers are more than ever contributing to that goal by discovering new prospects, filling sales pipelines and driving revenue. Part of accomplishing goals and objectives means all departments within the organization work as a joined force. Most importantly, CMOs must ensure marketing is in lockstep with sales.
Like Peanut Butter and Jelly
Marketing and sales can learn and benefit from each other. While marketing may own 60 percent of the customer acquisition funnel, sales is needed to finish the race. Consider the following:
- Sales can help marketing gain actionable information used to continually increase marketing’s success and business value
- Marketing can benefit sales by informing reps of all the initiatives they’re working on, repurposing marketing content for sales enablement, and basically giving sales ways to leverage marketing initiatives
- The sales-marketing relationship can and should generate far more value than the sum of its parts
However, the relationship between marketing and sales often struggles due to miscommunication, system limitations, misaligned objectives and most importantly, inaccurate perceptions they have of each other.
In order to help drive marketing effectiveness and sales performance, CMOs need to ensure marketing understands sales’ objectives. This requires CMOs with a strong background in all areas. They must strive to remain abreast of sales processes and strategy, common rep challenges and requirements, sales technology systems, nuances of lower-funnel messaging, pipeline forecasting and far more.
Setting the Tone
Here are a few ways CMOs and marketing leaders can maintain a strong sales game to get the most out of the marketing-sales team:
By developing an understanding between sales reps and marketers, they can see how complementary their agendas are. CMOs set the tone that instills a high level of respect for each individual in the company, regardless of their department.
This can be achieved, along with transparency between each department, fortified by the growth in communication-enabling technologies. Provide a visible layout of the sales and marketing divisions. Sales teams feel pressured by a quickly moving pipeline to achieve monthly and quarterly numbers, while in marketing, projects may not see results for months.
Establishing the overall objectives for both sales and marketing will add perspective and assist in finding common ground.
Create a communication strategy with the sales team. Setting up weekly sales-marketing calls does a remarkable job in providing this bi-directional communication.
Another tactic is to include marketing on sales calls with prospects. Larger organizations might have more difficulty in executing these tactics, but nothing is impossible -- it just requires more discipline and a set agenda for each call.
A good place to start is by outlining what each team needs from each other and what their main priorities are for that week. Marketing can request and suggest ways for sales to help promote marketing content and achieve media coverage objectives. Sales can present customer and prospect feedback and request content to address specific challenges.
Setting up a watering hole for marketing and sales to exchange ideas, questions and strategies allows for collaborative, two-way communication.
Approach Technology from a Joint Marketing-Sales Perspective
CRM systems have been a primary driver for CMOs to bridge the relationship between marketing and sales. CRM and marketing automation systems act as a centralizing hub of bi-directional data flow, contributing to organizational transparency and helping to generate leads more effectively.
But CMOs be warned -- do not allow sales and marketing to become complacent in their pursuit of a closer relationship because of these technologies. Technology influences processes just as much as processes influence the technology we choose. If the organization is built upon stacks without any consideration for adjacent departments, it won’t be long before each team has unique vocabularies, disconnected systems and misaligned processes.
The CMO should lead the charge to ensure the entire customer acquisition funnel works in unison. This is only accomplished through open communication and shared data between a strong marketing and sales team.