Often sales teams complain about low quality leads, blaming the marketing team for their inefficiency. On the other hand, marketing teams are focussed on generating as many leads as possible, and usually don’t care about the rate of conversion. It’s interesting to note that although both sales and marketing teams work for the same goals of closing more business, yet, they operate in silos. Even if they work closely within an organisation, it’s not always in a we’re-all-in-it-together manner.
Change in customer expectations
While sales and marketing are still struggling for alignment, customers’ expectations have fundamentally changed. They want companies to know who they are, what they’ve bought, and what they like. So if sales team cold calls them without knowing about the target customer’s previous purchases or about their company and industry, they won’t like it. This change in customer expectation calls for closer interaction and coordination between the sales and marketing team. What this essentially means is that these teams will have to take a holistic approach towards customer journey, because customers don’t care whether you are in sales or marketing. Without integrating sales and marketing data and aligning their strategies internally, it is not possible to provide a seamless customer experience.
Opportunity in today’s selling environment
B2B buyers today rely on thought leadership content, case studies, reviews and peer recommendations. Their reliance on sales team’s assistance is not of the same nature anymore as it was a decade ago. Marketing teams develop these self-educating resources for B2B buyers, targeting different phases of the buying cycle to develop and nurture prospects. With the line blurring between sales and marketing, it makes more sense for both departments to grow closer together. According to an Accenture study, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process.
B2C is no different. Let’s take the hospitality sector for instance. Recently, Salesforce business consultants at Cymetrix had an opportunity to understand the ecosystem of a hotel group in India for Salesforce implementation. We discussed how internet has changed the dynamics of the selling environment for hotel industry and that the leisure trips start at the moment a traveller realizes that they want to travel. On deciding their destination, they begin researching online for travel content, hotel comparison, etc. In fact, this activity doubles before the week of booking. With so much already happening, long before the traveller actually making a booking, there is a huge opportunity for sales and marketing team to synergise and make a difference.
Taking sales and marketing collaboration to the next level
1. Integrate sales and marketing CRM
It may sound trivial, but many organizations are still doing that. Sales team receives leads daily through web channels. The sales team then follows up, but without understanding what sources, content and offers which ultimately resulted in these leads. By integrating sales and marketing CRM, marketing can pass leads without manual entry and get a better view of the lead.
2. Personalize the sales approach to improve the rate of closure.
When marketing shares buyer insights and personas with sales, reps can more effectively tailor an approach to the lead.
Adding marketing automation to the CRM gives an opportunity to delve into detailed tracking, so that sales team can view which pages their prospects are visiting, what types of content they’re interested in, and where they are in the buying cycle
3. Form a joint customer engagement strategy to shorten the sales cycle.
Joint customer engagement strategy between sales and marketing can help shorten sales cycle and crate a more knowledge based relationship with your customer.
While prospects can easily find information online, that doesn’t mean that they always understand it or know how to interpret and apply it to their own business situation. A LinkedIn survey found that B2B buyers are 5x more likely to engage with a sales professional who provides new insights about their business or industry. To shorten the sales cycle and improve the productivity of the team, salesperson should be able to better leverage marketing assets and digital channels to guide opportunities through the sales process. Sales team can then focus more on providing innovative insights to add value for prospects beyond online sources.
4. Align top-level metrics with the CRM goals for both sales and marketing.
There is fundamental difference in the silo-ed metrics by department. For instance, marketing maintains brand reputation and sales builds personal relationships; marketing works with target groups and averages, while sales works with individuals. But aligning with CRM’s high level goals would mean, for example, improving lead flow and time to close, increasing revenue, etc.
A typical enterprise with CRM uses many more other applications. But to really achieve a collaborative business process management environment, it is imperative that all these business apps communicate with the CRM and with each other. Cymetrix Software provides Salesforce CRM integration services in USA and India and has the expertise and experience in integrating Salesforce with business apps of any scale. The company creates custom integrated solutions and also develops Salesforce AppExchange integration applications.
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By Supriya Sachdeva