“How can we improve the relationship between sales and marketing?” seems like an age-old question in the enterprise world. These two different disciplines, often populated by people with very different personality types and processes, have goals that inevitably intertwine. But without a focus on technology, design, and culture, you’re less likely to build relationships, and more likely to get tied in knots. Discover the path to better alignment with these quick tips.
Align goals and measure consistently.
Sales and marketing teams have related, but distinct goals. While it might seem easy to divide up responsibilities within a cohesive strategy, the reality often proves otherwise, especially when to do so would require changing existing operations. To maximize the efforts of each team, start by ensuring that both teams understand your customer journey, and where each individual plays a role in the process.
You don’t want 10 different people from marketing and sales reaching out to the same lead all within the span of one week. From first touch, to first deal, to upsell and cross-sell, your leads should be guided along a natural path toward a deeper relationship with your brand. Map out each step of the journey, connecting each step and touchpoint to a measurable goal.
Not ready to start from scratch? Audit your existing process to start, if at any point you’re not sure where a lead goes next, or wild variations exist from case to case, you know you’ve got more work to do. You should also ask if you’re speaking the same language and measuring the appropriate metrics.
How do you define a marketing qualified lead? A sales qualified lead? What criteria need to be met to trigger the hand-off? Avoid unnecessary conflict by making sure you agree on the basics first.
Increase visibility and maximize efficiency.
Aligning goals, however, won’t be enough if you can’t measure how close you are to meeting them, and quickly improve on deficiencies. Marketers and sales teams often have access to loads of valuable data, but underdeveloped data governance may interfere with their ability to reap its benefits, McKinsey reports.
Valuable data on prospects and customers, instead of living in CRM, may be scattered among inboxes, disconnected sales and marketing applications, spreadsheets, and human memory.
This results in miscommunication that erodes trust between teams, derails productivity, and ultimately hurts the customer. Salespeople and marketers need to be able to integrate disparate data, and then deliver meaningful insights to stakeholders in a way that’s easy to understand. A few questions to consider (with examples):
- Where are leads coming from, and which channels are most effective? (Check out this video for an example leads analysis application.)
- Where does pipeline and revenue come from, and how can you optimize to increase it? (Watch this clip to see optimized opportunity and pipeline management.)
- How can you give salespeople and marketers the data they need on customers and prospects to make their jobs easier? (Learn how Procore Technologies made it possible here.)
Build positive company culture into your software.
In his presentation at Dreamforce 2018, Shan Jegatheeswaran, VP of Commercial Excellence at BHGE, stressed the importance of “believing that everyone wants to do the right thing” if you want your digital transformation to succeed.
The goal of sales and marketing applications, and the business processes that the software drives, should be to empower the people that make your business run smoothly, not to micromanage individuals and teams into oblivion. For example, when designing a dashboard for senior leaders, Shan chose a color-based system to help individuals quickly and easily focus on key metrics and understand the results of their actions.
The software makes it easy for people to do the right thing, but trusts people to ultimately make that decision. However, you also shouldn’t rely solely on the software or the business process to create a culture that isn’t there in the first place. The software should “bake in” the ingredients that are already there.
BHGE employs an open read/write approach when it comes to data access, where they default to making data accessible to everyone, from the intern to the CEO. This approach reflects back on their culture of trust and openness, and it works for BHGE because they’ve done the work of culture-building up-front. Before you can build software that empowers employees, you have to actually trust them.
Before you can convince employees to adopt your new application, employees need to believe that the app will actually help them to do their jobs. Allow technology to facilitate processes that reinforce the trust, integrity, simplicity, and truth that you work every day to create in your enterprise. Don’t hide what doesn’t need to be hidden. Make it easy to get work done and you’ll find that people are more willing to work for you.
Want to drive sales engagement and productivity? Learn how in our free guide, A sales leader's guide to winning more deals by design.