You would think sales and marketing have plenty in common and one goal, increasing your company’s revenue. However, the single goal is where the similarities end. In reality, these two groups of people are typically very different in outlook and job roles. Aligning sales and marketing much more closely can be done using Customer Relationship Management solutions, though.
What you will learn in this article
- That sales and marketing are two tribes
- 3 great strategies to forge a sales/marketing alliance
- How they apply to your small business
- Why it’s all about the process
- Getting started with CRM
Why sales and marketing are tribal
Are sales and marketing allies? Or more like Clash of Clans/Minecraft <insert your favorite strategy game here>? Here’s our ID checklist:
Sales: Salespeople can be recognized by their close affinity to people and relationships (though not always with your marketing folks). The typical salesperson focuses on operations and activities. They particularly enjoy promoting your product or service.
Marketing: The typical marketing person is a curious mix of the analytical and creative. They revel in the process and techniques behind promoting, selling and distributing products and services.
Responsibilities & Behavior
Sales: Typically, you can hear a salesperson complaining about the marketing department. Often and at length. Their perennial grouse is that the leads generated by marketing aren’t up to scratch.
Marketing: Marketing people are tasked with finding high-quality leads. However, their definition of qualified lead often varies widely from that of their colleagues in sales. They regularly accuse sales of being whiny and precious.
This evergreen tension between the two parties is a sure sign of a faulty and deficient sales lead process. If the above table sounds all too familiar, it is indicative that you have no standardized process in place to manage how leads get transferred.
However, there are 3 great strategies below you can consider introducing to make everyone’s life that little better, easier and productive.
No. 1 – How to negotiate a truce
A big part of the problem between sales and marketing, you may have noticed, is that they speak two different languages. It’s a bit like US English and UK English. They are supposedly the same language but separated by the giant expanse of the Atlantic. It’s the same scenario with sales and marketing.
Let’s consider this example; what constitutes a lead. In marketing department-speak, a ‘marketing-qualified lead’ is one that meets the criteria as framed by the marketing department. Meanwhile, in sales department-speak, a ‘sales qualified lead’ is one that meets the marketing criteria and their benchmarks aimed at finding the highest valued prospects.
And therein lies the problem, both are comparing apples and oranges. So the first step you should take is to get the two teams to agree on common terminology (is it going to be pants or trousers?). And then, from there, arrive at standard definitions for marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads.
No. 2 – How to use CRM technology
Another source of conflict is that the sales team uses CRM while the marketers are often using marketing automation tools. If these two are not integrated, you are creating information silos that separate sales from marketing. To work together efficiently and more productively, both teams need the common platform of CRM. They can then work seamlessly in a shared work environment.
No. 3 – How to align processes
It’s fundamental that there is an agreed process for marketing to send leads to sales. You need to set out a clearly defined process for marketing to score leads. You also need an equally nailed down process for sales to qualify those leads.
Why it’s all about the process
Marketing gurus Aberdeen says that around 90% of marketers complain about a lack of sales and marketing alignment. Furthermore, the marketers say this alignment deficit is preventing them from achieving their marketing objectives.
By adopting a gold-standard leads management system through CRM usage, you can break down the three barriers above. Merging language, technology, and processes allows you to dismantle your information silos and help your small business accomplish faster growth and improved profitability.
Another factor to keep in mind in all of this is the impact on customer experience. Today, customer experience is the critical keystone to the success of all companies, large, small, or medium-sized. Without a robust customer experience strategy in place, you are heading towards disaster in the modern, highly competitive business world we now inhabit. Having sales and marketing as separate islands is a sure recipe for seeing your small business getting derailed.
The answer to enhancing customer experience is no longer in doubt: it’s customer relationship management software. This ensures you and your team can work in harmony with a shared vision to give customers the best possible service. And the best possible customer experience.
How to get started with CRM
Admitting you have a problem with sales and marketing is the first step in solving tension between these two. The next step is finding a solution. Many businesses, regardless of their size, are turning to Customer Relationship Management systems as the answer. With a unified working platform, you can get sales and marketing to work closer than they ever have before. You can install the idea that these two are, in reality, one team working for the same ends.
For small businesses, it’s highly recommended that they choose a cloud CRM solution. Primarily, this is because cloud-based systems are easier and cheaper to implement and run, do not involve a need for in-house IT teams, and can scale up instantly when your business needs expand.
The age-old tensions and rivalry between sales and marketing can be healed by CRM. It enables you and staff to work more effectively and efficiently, collaborate better, and, most importantly, close more deals. If all of this sounds appealing, contact us today. We are the cloud CRM specialists for small businesses and will bring unparalleled peace to your sales and marketing.