With increased pressure on both sales and marketing departments to do more with less, collaboration is no longer a pipe dream, but a requirement. The sales and marketing divide has been well documented and experienced throughout business history:
“Our campaign was brilliant. It is the sales teams fault it did not succeed” – Marketing
“The marketing department has no idea what customers are really like. And they set prices too high!” – Sales
And, in the digital information age, the divide is expanding even more! Today, 83% of B2B buyers research and make product decisions online (Brafton). Thereby, communicating with the sales team of a company even less!
The digital age has created its own set of challenges and opportunities for marketing and sales collaboration. Traditional lead generation tools may be less effective, but digital tools can help bridge the gap: inbound marketing, marketing automation, and social media monitoring.
Inbound marketing, a term coined by HubSpot, is defined as the practice of drawing potential customers to you, as opposed to reaching out to grab the attention of those potential customers through traditional methods (outbound marketing).
For the old-school marketer or traditionalist, inbound is considered a “pull” strategy, while outbound marketing is considered a “push” strategy.
The primary element of inbound marketing is content.
The marketing team develops content to inform, attract, and educate potential customers in the form of blogging, whitepapers, eBooks, and social media. SEO techniques employed by the marketing department help content get found in search results. Arm your sales team with the same content marketing materials and more to further advance the purchase.
Marketing automation is the technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster (Marketo).
Marketing automation typically involves a customer database, building registration pages to capture leads, often lead scoring and targeted email campaigns. Marketing and sales collaborate on lead management. Marketing feeds leads to sales, and in turn, requires sales status reporting.
Marketing automation technology, such as Marketo, Eloqua, Salesforce, Hubspot, or Pardot, can help close the divide between sales and marketing by allowing the sales department to keep leads engaged and informed with timed, relevant, and intelligent marketing materials.
Social Media Monitoring
Marketing departments are abuzz with the promise of great results from social media marketing. Social media encourages a two-way dialogue and is a great opportunity to receive feedback from customers or potential customers. Is anybody listening?
Social media monitoring is the continuous and systematic observation of conversations taking place on your social networking sites, social mentions of your company, and more.
Data collected from social media monitoring can be an unparalleled source of real-time business intelligence about customers or potential customers for your sales team.
Traditional Marketing & Sales Collaboration Tips
Despite the dominance of digital marketing, and buyer preferences shifting towards consuming their own information on a company’s website, traditional methods can’t be ignored. Consider these 3 basic tips for getting marketing & sales on the same page.
- Establish a common definition of a qualified lead. Marketing and sales often define this term differently
- Keep the lines of communication open. Have marketing and sales meet regularly. Transparency is key, get out of the vaccum
- Clear and Frequent Status Reports. Provide weekly or even real-time status reports of sales leads, and campaign summaries
- Motivate with Recognition and Incentives. Recognize wins in intra-company reports; have occasional contests with incentives, shared incentives can help encourage collaboration between departments
Teamwork for Results
Opportunities provided by Internet marketing and technology advancements can help you mend the relationship between marketing and sales departments and foster collaboration. Align marketing and sales to realize real revenue growth.
Following are some additional resources that may be helpful in your quest to align marketing and sales departments:
Please share any tips you have in the comment box below!