A marketing analyst and a sales manager fist bumping to celebrate a success project
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For decades, sales and marketing departments have been famously disconnected. Historically, these teams have been separate and siloed, each with different goals and metrics and, often, little understanding about the other’s efforts. However, this hurts businesses. In fact, experts say organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing have higher customer retention rates, sales win rates and annual growth rates.

However, the latest generation of marketing technologies is bringing sales and marketing teams closer, offering functions that are helpful for marketing and beneficial for the sales process. With the popularity of strategies such as account-based marketing (ABM), in which sales and marketing are aligned against specific accounts, more sales teams are using martech — including marketing automation — in addition to CRM and CDP platforms to coordinate programs across the entire sales funnel and to help leverage the full breadth of content created by the marketing team.

“Marketing automation allows marketing to design programs, content and light campaigns for sales to use with prospecting and client communications,” says Bruce Culbert, partner and chief service officer at The Pedowitz Group. “These scripted communications make it easy for a rep to customize and track, and it ties in seamlessly with the other marketing and sales data.” Good collaboration between product marketing and sales through sales enablement tools also give everyone involved in a sale access to the most up-to-date and accurate messaging and offers, he says. “There is transparency and collaboration on all parts of the development and delivery process and the teams are aligned to a common outcome.”

Insights from martech, particularly through artificial intelligence (AI)-powered predictive analytics derived from firewall data and third-party data sources, can be an important source of sales and marketing alignment, adds Jim Regan, CMO of MRP, because they provide a much more nuanced picture of customer demand and make it simpler to determine which messages will best resonate with target accounts. “They mitigate siloes between the two departments by delivering more qualified leads,” he says.

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Using Martech to Support Sales Has its Challenges

But there are plenty of challenges on the path to using martech to support sales. One essential item is unifying data: The martech landscape is so fragmented that these three pillars often operate in silos, says Peter Isaacson, CMO of Demandbase. “This can hold marketing and sales back from getting complete and timely insights needed to best engage the right accounts,” he says. “The game changer is when organizations can integrate CRM, marketing automation and ABM technologies to start to share data across these applications.”

Also, for sales to use these programs, tools and solutions provided by marketing must be easy to use, cautions Culbert. “Think mobile, AI and one-click, that shows a direct correlation between effort and results,” he says. “Specifically, sales will want to have visibility into direct sales and compensation impact — otherwise they won’t do it.”

Finally, the proliferation of thousands of different marketing products can, in the short term, add to the disconnect and confusion between marketing and sales, says Noah Jacobson, SVP of strategy at TapClicks. As consolidation continues to evolve, the boundary line between marketing and sales will disappear. “Then, I expect we will see the collaboration between marketing and sales expand as the roles become more integrated together and teams understand the data sources and cross-team KPIs,” he says.

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Martech Improves Communication Between Sales and Marketing

The bottom-line is that martech can help sales teams communicate more strongly and bridge any gaps in understanding the “why”  through access to the same data, says Pete Sena, founder and chief creative officer at Digital Surgeons. “The shift in cloud technology enables both teams to capture and collect data to jointly solve problems and best meet the needs of their consumer,” he says. There are many technologies with the ability to change the sales/marketing relationship, he explains, delivering a series of systems that allow smarter CRM. “Tracking leads, capturing data and analyzing text are just a few ways teams can best understand what patterns and behaviors make a good lead.”

Success in incorporating martech to boost the sales/marketing relationship will come when organizations understand there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, he adds.  “The best idea could be as simple as a monthly or quarterly workshop so teams can better understand the effectiveness of the tech and how important these solutions are for achieving optimal results,” he says.

A closer relationship between marketing and sales comes through building empathy for each other, rather than viewing each other as competitors, even when it comes to martech. “They should leverage the platforms in place and collaborate on tactics, taking a tandem, synergistic approach,” says Sena.