Sales and marketing teams are two bright north stars in your milky way, with the potential to steer your company in the right (or wrong) direction.
But instead of shining together, they flicker and try to outshine each other, sending jolts across your teams.
Sales and marketing, both believe they individually contribute more to the revenue pie compared to the other.
But firms that don’t have the two teams pitted against one another enjoy upto 36% higher customer retention rates.
Now, that sounds almost dream-like.
While both teams play different roles in the customer journey, they ultimately have one common goal: to increase revenue.
But what causes a rift between two of arguably the most important teams in the company?
Sales does or doesn’t believe marketing actually brings in good-quality leads and wastes money on campaigns, and marketing is tired of sales losing their hard-won leads down the funnel.
Sales and marketing alignment is not impossible, but it is like finding a needle in the haystack.
Below, we explore how this rift can impact customer experience, why things need to change, and how marketing and sales can mend their broken relationship.
Customers can perceive internal differences from a mile away.
For instance, a prospect stumbles upon a website that educates the prospect about a product and is interested to sign up. The prospect clicks on the chat window and engages with you. Marketing passes on this lead to sales, and the salesperson who has been assigned, has no context on this. When the salesperson calls the customer, and explains about a different product in your portfolio, there will be a dissonance in the customer experience and lead to a lost lead.
But this needn't be your story.
Let's explore how you can fix this.
Sales and marketing teams are important to your business. But what hats do they wear on a daily basis? How do they bring in revenue. Let's understand where both, sales and marketing come from.
One of the key responsibilities of your sales team is to attract the right kind of buyers.
You don’t want your sales team targeting everyone out there as it will be a waste of precious selling time.
To attract the right prospects, create an ideal customer profile to filter out other prospects.
Some of the questions to ask yourself while drawing up intelligence about your actual buyer are:
Cold calling helps establish the initial connection with a prospect, and build a rapport with them.
The primary aim of cold calling is to address how your product can solve the challenges faced by the prospect.
A cold call can either help win trust of prospects, or close the door of the sale forever, depending on how your salespeople steer the conversation.
Some tips to drive the call your way include:
Sales engagement is one of the crucial activities performed by your sales teams that can make or break a deal.
To engage with your prospects, your salespeople need to first make time. If one-third of their time goes into non-revenue generating activities, then they do not have the time to engage with your prospects.
There are various means to reach out to prospects.
It’s not enough if sales people draw up ideal customer profiles.
They have to convince prospects that your product solves their problems.
While doing so, they may face a number of objections like:
Convincing prospects with data, reasoning and sharing how your product can bring value to the table is one of the main responsibilities of a sales team. Sometimes they are dependant on marketing materials and sales enablement teams to share information with new customers.
Once a prospect has downloaded an ebook, or attended an event, or visited your website and marketing passes on those leads to sales, the sales team has to nurture leads through the funnel.
Sales Prospecting isn’t a one-time event.
In order to build a rapport with prospects in every stage of the funnel, segment your prospects and craft sales sequences in a sales software like Freshsales Suite.
This way, you can automate and customize your email sequences and follow-ups, and never miss out on an opportunity to move leads down the sales funnel quickly and build a long-term relationship.
Establish credibility of your product by organising demos that will convince the prospect about your product’s capabilities to solve their problems.
Once your sales team has convinced the lead to purchase your product, the sales proposal has to be created as quickly as possible to seal the deal.
Create highly personalized sales proposals which correspond to the prospect’s needs and problems drastically increase your chances of making a deal.
By closing the deal, your sales team culminates the entire sales process.
Most times, deals get stuck in the pipeline, and the reasons for this, like lack of proper follow ups, contract negotiations, etc go unchecked.
In order to close deals faster, a deal management tool with AI-features can really come in handy and help sales teams identify rotten deals quickly, understand why you're losing deals and tackle the problem in time.
In order to stand out from competition, every brand needs to differentiate itself with what it stands for.
And the marketing team’s primary responsibility is to articulate this.
A strong marketing strategy involves creating the brand values, what it stands for, brand language, and experience you want to provide to your customers and other stakeholders.
The various channels used to articulate the brand values helps build brand awareness.
The marketing team primarily takes care of the periodicity of messages, channels, strategy and tactics to build brand awareness.
Brand building tactics include
The end-goal of the marketing campaigns is to generate marketing qualified leads. Either through the company’s website, or offline events, marketing team generates leads or persuade them to do something – whatever that action may be. Lead generation is mostly aimed at capturing a prospect’s contact information, like their name, email phone number, location, business and other attributes that will help you sell better.
Nurturing existing customers, understanding their experiences with your product, and designing campaigns to upsell and cross-sell is another responsibility of the marketing team.
What are those crucial areas that are the bone of contention between sales and marketing teams?
Is it the battle for ownership of leads or deals?
Is it over lion’s share of budget spends
Is it miscommunication, or worse, lack of communication?
Whatever the reason may be, one thing is clear. 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete even before even talking to sales.
This puts the spotlight on seeing the entire buying journey as one single orchestral sequence, instead of separate percussion arrangements.
To understand the marketing vs sales debate, we need to dig deeper and understand the full picture. Let’s take a look.
Marketing and sales don’t have end-to-end context into prospect and customer engagement leading to less personalized experience. Sometimes, because of different systems they use to store data, it leads to duplication of leads. Due to a lack of a unified system, the prospect and customer data vary between the teams, leading to confusion. In fact, 83% percent of leaders say data silos create business challenges.
By the time marketing and sales trace and connect the dots, customers end up having poor experiences because teams are unable to view customers as a sum total of their touchpoints i.e 360-degree view of the customer.
This prevents them from targeting customers with precision and personalizing with context. So what happens?
As mentioned by Matt Heinz in a podcast, “Doing things in silos where sales are doing one thing and marketing is doing another thing, it just doesn’t work. Creating a mutual understanding from both sales and marketing creates an actionable solution that can help close this gap between sales and marketing.”
Since marketing and sales are working in silos, they are unaware of the 360-degree view of buyer and have different understandings of the end customer.
Sales wants better quality leads, and a predictable flow of leads every quarter.
This is because they can plan capacity and accordingly hit revenue.
But at most times, marketing cannot predict the exact quantity of leads they can generate from a campaign.
And since there is no proper agreed-upon definition of a qualified lead between the two teams, this leads to misalignment.
For instance, your marketing team may overestimate the leads they can generate for the year.
They might not even be in agreement over the definition of a lead.
With the reduced lead volume, sales team might find it hard to convert lesser number of leads to customers
"A lot of the friction is misplaced communication. To sales, marketing seems like it is taking too long. To marketers, everything in sales seems very urgent. As a marketer, I’d rather deliver great leads to sales than a huge volume of leads. Another point—sales is often working on certain talking points, and marketing is working on another set. Many times it’s more efficient and faster for each team to publish or use their own. Aligning on those can make a huge difference even if it takes more coordination."
Josh Spilker, Head of Marketing at Friday
Does the marketing team follow up with leads, or the sales development representatives follow up? Does your sales team follow up often enough on MQLs? What led to the lead losing interest- was it the lack of follow-ups?
All these can lead to resentment between both sales and marketing teams.
The dreaded “just checking in” cold calls are a waste of time for a reason: they’re an inefficient way to manage leads.
Too much attention scares potential customers and too little follow-up means your best lead could slip through the cracks.
At times, your marketing department concentrate so hard on generating a huge quantity of leads, that they sometimes do not check if the prospect is an ideal fit for your company.
For instance, out of every 100 leads, marketing thoroughly checks and qualifies only 25 percent of leads, and the remaining 75 percent need to be nurtured, then this leads to sales pulling a double shift.
Lead nurturing can help generate 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost per lead. Marketing departments needs to nurture leads to make them qualified, before passing on to sales. Or the sales team has to perform the role of marketing, leading to a continuous rift.
Sales reps do not get adequate training or information about marketing campaigns and this leads to a knowledge gap between the teams. There is a dissonance when salespeople talk to prospects and are unaware about the latest marketing campaign.
Sales and marketing teams scramble between multiple data sources and software to piece together intelligence about the actual buyer.
This leads to misplaced information, lack of communication and loss in productivity and both sales and marketing teams suffer equally due to the lack of a unified system.
Marketing professionals are answerable for all lead generation spends. Brand included.
So marketing teams find it hard to track from source to revenue closure, when they organize events, build websites, or send out mailers. This creates dissonance between them and sales.
Every website visitor is a potential lead who can become a customer for life.
While marketing and sales teams know different parts of the funnel, customer journey and bring different skill sets to the table, having this viewable by both sales and marketing will unlock business benefits.
Aligning marketing and sales professionals at the top of the funnel, right from defining ideal customer, buyer profiles, engagement methods, right through till the deal is closed can help both teams get context and engage better with customers.
Having agreed-upon definition of quality of MQLs can help solve problems that may arise later on between sales and marketing teams.
Having better leads passed on from marketing to sales, will eventually lead to more customers, lesser churn and improved bottom line.
This ensures that the sales reps do not waste time over meaningless follow-ups and reach their quotas quicker.
If most of your sales reps contact half-baked leads, and struggle to close them quarter on quarter, they can get frustrated real soon and leave. This leads to added costs of hiring new reps and training them about your product, sales prospecting, company culture and more. Whereas, if sales reps get better quality leads, they tend to stay happier, productive and work better with marketing.
Demolishing the barriers between sales and marketing leads to faster initial research, less time spent on routine repetitive tasks, and better communication between the teams on new prospects, developments and deals.
Having a unified CRM, that provides complete prospect and customer details and covers sales and marketing functions like email marketing, sales sequences, telephony, chat and website tracking will help improve efficiency of sales and marketing process
Both teams working together improves conversion rate because of shared insights and also improves customer retention.
This also results in improved buyer experience when both sales and marketing teams have the same info about their buyer and can work towards personalizing their journey, thereby increasing chances of converting.
With a unified CRM, both teams can engage contextually with your leads and customers to deliver the right message at the right time, and improve conversions.
If sales and marketing are put in each other’s shoes, they will understand diverse viewpoints and be more empathetic.
Putting in conscious effort to align sales and marketing will bring salespeople’s knowledge of your customer demographic into the company’s core and help marketing improve their messaging and market research too.
If marketing takes the time to run sales through campaigns they are working on to generate inbound leads, your sales force will have better context while speaking to customers.
This will ultimately create an environment where sales and marketing teams feel like they have each other’s backs.
Until now, CRMs were predominantly used by the sales team to track new customers. And all the benefits of deriving and learning from customer data and tracking metrics was primarily used by sales teams.
But with the growing need for sales and marketing teams to work together, the need for a unified CRM that provided visibility for both teams was felt like never before.
A unified software like Freshsales suite combines the power of sales CRM, marketing automation, chat, and telephony in a single, powerful solution. You can now understand and anticipate the needs of a customer and personalize sales and marketing interactions at scale.
Built on the next-gen customer engagement platform, the CRM acts as a single source of truth and provides a 360-degree view of a customer by capturing and combining all of their marketing, sales, and service interactions in one place. It can help boost customer engagement by unifying sales and marketing silos. Businesses can understand and anticipate the needs of a customer and personalize sales and marketing interactions at scale.
A unified CRM acts as a single source of information for sales and marketing teams. What is captured for sales and marketing within a CRM like Freshsales Suite?
Interactions can make or break a deal.
With a comprehensive CRM that has all data records in one place, you can leverage that information to get context and personalize your customer engagement.
Due to end to end customer visibility, segmentation, and personalization, marketers are able to generate quality leads for the business.
Sales teams are able to be proactive and increase the lifetime value of the customer. A unified CRM like Freshsales Suite
A CRM software that provides 360* view of the prospect and customer, keeps sales and marketing teams on the same page and provides exceptional customer experience that wins customers for life. With a unified CRM, both sales and marketing teams can:
A unified CRM can help track and analyze the performance of your offline events like tradeshows, conferences, etc., with Offline Event Tracking reports.
Your marketing teams can identify campaigns and your sales team can identify sales email sequences that have contributed to revenue with powerful analytics and reports.
So, if aligning sales and marketing teams is still in your wishlist, then do consider getting a unified CRM as part of your gameplan.
And do remember, this is a journey, and not a destination.
If both teams are aware of the course they are taking to reach one common destination, your two north stars will shine as one in your boardroom.
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