In an ideal world, sales and marketing should work in complete harmony with a business’s overarching goals as the driving force behind everything they do.
The reality is, though, although not enemies, they aren’t exactly as close as we’d like them to be. At least that’s the case in most modern organizations.
In one corner of the business, marketing gurus whip up the latest and best strategies to generate leads. In the other, the sales team is working on making phone calls and sending emails to turn leads into conversions.
That’s all very well and good in principle, but the fact is, that these teams often don’t communicate as they should do.
This is even more troublesome when you consider that almost any business’s biggest challenge is generating traffic and producing more leads to help drive revenue.
Without a strong link of communication between your teams, you’re missing a trick. After all, while you can’t make consistent sales without a sales team and can’t create leads without a strong marketing campaign; you can’t drive revenue without both.
In this article, we’ve put together a guide on just how to drive revenue by integrating your sales and marketing teams.
Best Practices to Align Sales and Marketing
1. Start by Fostering a Pleasant and Authentic Environment between Sales and Marketing
Some workplaces can become lifeless if managers aren’t actively helping to promote healthy relationships between employees, especially between sales and marketing teams.
In fact, there are many benefits to allowing your employees to form relationships with each other. And rather than killing productivity, science tells us that the exact opposite is true.
In fact, employees with a close friendship are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work.
But how is this relevant in a sales and marketing context?
Well, the best way to have these two teams come together in harmony is to create an environment conducive to intermingling, so sales and marketing teams come to view each other as the same. Businesses that foster an environment that makes happy employees will, on average, outperform their competition by 20%.
The more effort you put into creating an atmosphere that keeps your sales and marketing teams happy, the more prosperous your business will become.
If you treat your employees like adults and like they matter, the happier they will be, and therefore the harder they’ll be willing to work.
We’ve all been in jobs with management that cared little for employee happiness. And if you look back at these jobs, were you motivated to work as hard as you could for these bosses?
In fact, it’s a safe bet to assume that you did the bare minimum possible to get through the day.
On the other hand, if you have a boss that is kind and considerate of your needs, you’ll be more motivated to work as hard as you can.
This is especially important when it comes to salespeople. Happy and contented sales professionals will produce nearly 40% more sales than those who are unhappy. That’s certainly enough of a reason to make a real effort to push a healthy, relationship-centric workplace.
The first stage of successfully integrating marketing and sales is to begin to allow and encourage your two teams to mingle and interact with each other. Without giving these individuals the chance to get to know each other, your ongoing strategy going forward has little chance of succeeding.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, whether it’s
- Arranging a seating plan that allows everyone to sit together
- Organizing inter-team meetings
- Setting up meals
- Nights out
Be sure to give the sales and marketing professionals the space to cooperate.
2. Gaining 360* View of Customer
Mingling the two teams is a significant first step, but it is just the first step.
It’s also imperative to share data between the teams by combining all sales and marketing data sets.
It’s often the case that marketing and sales teams will utilise multiple tools for CRM, data entry, telephony and chat, which will lead to a scattering of information across multiple platforms.
To ensure productivity and avoid toggling between tools, you must adopt a unified view of all client and business information, which is where the Freshsales can come to the rescue.
By merging these multiple customer data points, sales and marketing teams can get a single view of the customer and can plan their strategy around the same shared data.
Without this, gaining a clear idea of how each team is hitting their objectives is pretty much impossible.
This is super important since according to Smart Insights, 20% of marketers rated Big Data as their most valuable marketing technique.
This is because, with the right data in front of you, you can
- Measure effectiveness of your sales and marketing techniques
- Be in a better position to pivot strategy
- Develop solutions to pain points
- Gain a leg up on the competition
It’s also a good idea to consider making your data available to everyone in sales and marketing.
You never know where the next great idea will come from, so by giving everyone access to the data and trusting them to innovate, one member of the team may formulate something that could change your business for the better.
Trust, transparency and visibility into data go a long way toward driving revenue and innovation within your organization.
3. Incentivize Sales with Commissions & Marketing with Bonuses
In many smaller organizations, it’s an unfortunate reality that bonuses, raises, and ultimately any incentive to keep people motivated are becoming less frequent.
This is unfortunate because even the most motivated employees will need a bit of a push now and then.
Commissions are the most obvious way to do that for your sales team.
When commissions are involved, you’ll generally begin to see an increased desire to convert sales.
Although different perks and commissions will appeal to each individual, so it’s certainly worth doing a bit of digging on this front.
Plus, each salesperson will prefer to sell differently – some may prefer smaller deals, whereas others will choose to chase the bigger opportunities.
If someone on the team is performing exceptionally, consider making them the team leader and allowing them to train those around them to perform as they are.
A quality salesperson is never an easy find, so once you find them, treat them in the right way, and they’ll never have their head turned.
Now let’s turn our attention to the marketing side of things by asking how you can incentivize the marketing teams to perform to the best of their ability?
After all, if they aren’t driving traffic that ultimately creates leads for the sales team, there won’t be a pipeline full of quality leads.
That being said, pinpointing the impact and effectiveness of a marketing strategy and figuring out who is responsible for that success is by no means a simple task.
This is why you need to put a series of KPIs into place to determine how bonuses should be shared and distributed.
But what KPIs might you use to measure how effective your marketing team is performing?
Begin with traffic as your first KPI metric.
Start by asking how much traffic is the marketing team driving to the website?
Blogging is an essential part of driving traffic, so you should encourage the marketing team to write regularly.
If you’re wondering about the relevance of starting a blog, consider that long, in-depth blog posts are nine times more likely to generate quality leads.
Is that something your business could afford to miss out on?
Set an objective for this and distribute bonuses based on the numbers as you see fit.
There are numerous ways to measure visibility, such as social mentions, inbound links, and organic search visibility.
How many likes, shares, and comments is your content receiving? These should be directly attributed to the individuals in your marketing team.
With a unified CRM, your marketing team can:
- Spot your top conversion sources, be it ads, social or emails, and replicate your efforts to experience higher ROI from your marketing efforts.
- Identify the campaigns that generate maximum engagement by measuring open, click, and reply metrics, engagement over different geographies, devices, and more.
- Track how your email lists are performing over time. Quickly identify the lists that drive more conversions and bring in the maximum revenue.
Consider all of your social media updates, video content, blogs, and any other content that the team is creating in this process.
Lastly, consider lead generation as your final marketing KPI.
This could consist of email subscriptions, webinar signups, form completions, or phone calls. However, this will vary according to what your business is trying to achieve. Whatever the case may be, set objectives for lead generation and pay bonuses to the team based on how many leads they’re generating in accordance with business goals.
With a unified CRM, you can easily track leads generated from campaigns, and provide visibility to sales teams as well. You can also create custom reports from scratch or use our readily available curated reports to measure your campaigns’ success
Once you roll out incentives, you’ll start to find that your sales and marketing team will not only be motivated to work much harder, but they’ll also begin to see the value of working together. They can achieve far more when they are united than they can apart.
4. Decide on How the Sales & Marketing Teams Will Share Leads
At some stage, a generated lead must move from the marketing team across to sales.
In many cases the lack of a unified view of all business information can often lead to miscommunication in terms of revenue attribution, budget spends, metrics and overall success – which can be solved with a unified CRM system.
While marketing must specialize in creating lead opportunities; sales will specialize in converting and upselling those leads.
This shows you just why you need both teams to be working in harmony to drive revenue for your organization.
The issue here isn’t so much knowing that a lead must be transferred from marketing to sales; it’s knowing exactly when it must be transferred.
You need to ask yourself what stage in the funnel or buying phase should a prospect be moved from the marketing funnel over to sales.
It used to be the case that a marketing team would handle awareness and interest and then hand off the prospect to the sales team once they reached the consideration stage:
This makes sense since marketing used to be about advertising through billboards and newspapers, and once someone was interested, they’d arrange a meeting or pick up the phone.
These days, though, these funnels look very different:
Nowadays, marketing can pretty much handle everything from awareness to the part of the evaluation stage.
In fact, on some occasions, with quality sales copy and a website that’s designed to convert sales, marketing alone can put you over the top.
Then, why do I need a sales team, you may ask?
Well, marketing isn’t always enough on its own, which is precisely why a sales team is necessary. Outlined below are some examples of when a sales team should take the lead on:
- A prospect is looking for more information than the marketing team can provide.
- Prospect wishes to talk to someone physically before making the call on a purchase.
- Prospect is experiencing a unique situation that the marketing team isn’t able to handle alone.
Remember, marketing specializes in attracting the crowds, but the salesperson is responsible for dealing with the individual’s needs. Be sure to move generated leads around with this in mind.
In a lot of organizations, the marketing and sales specialists are separate entities. They essentially keep to themselves; one side generating the leads and the other trying to convert them.
In theory, this process works perfectly, since many businesses survive with a minimal connection between marketing and sales.
But there’s a crucial caveat here: there are very few businesses that are flourishing using this model.
Operating marketing and sales as separate arms of the business may work for a little while. It might even be capable of supporting a rapidly growing business.
However, at some point, your marketing and sales campaigns are going to deteriorate, to the point where past strategies just don’t work like they used to.
A unified CRM system gives both teams a complete 360-degree view of all sales, marketing and strategic information, which is crucial if the two teams are to grow together and the business is to achieve its operational goals.
This will help a business get to know their customers, not with tiny snippets of information, but as a sum total of all their interactions – combining data, insights and intelligence.
Integrating marketing and sales is certainly something worth doing, and doing so will only ever help to drive further revenue to help increase the effectiveness of your marketing spend.
To successfully integrate the two entities, create a warm, friendly environment, ensure everyone has access to the right data and incentivize the sales and marketing teams with commission and bonus structures, and finally create an effective, consistent handover process from marketing to sales.
Sure, it may take some time to build each process, but once done correctly, your business will be all the better for it.
Tim Guga is an Entrepreneur and the Founder of capiston.com.