Historically, sales and marketing have failed to work together. Marketing did their part. Sales did theirs. Now forward-thinking companies are breaking down the silos between marketing and sales, and they are reaping the benefits.
Forrester Research reported 32% annual revenue growth in companies that have sales and marketing well aligned, and MarketingProfs reported a 36% higher customer retention rate. Aligned companies understand that both sales and marketing must take a unified, stream-lined approach to finding, nurturing and converting leads.
The internet and digital media have transformed the way we touch and understand clients. There is so much competition, content and noise, that products and services don’t sell themselves. Sales needs to know more about marketing, and marketing needs to know more about sales—and together they need to know more about prospects and existing customers.
“I do believe the modern sales leader has to be a marketer,” says Matt Gorniak, SVP at Salesforce.
It starts with identifying a shared goal: revenue. Building an effective pipeline requires some love between marketing and sales. You must create a culture of clear expectations, open communication, and centralizing your data. Some ways to create the love connection are through:
- Identifying where your efforts overlap, and determine mutual success metrics.
- Meeting regularly and discussing common customer pain points to inspire marketing content.
- Working together on content creation—yes, sales can create content, too. They usually have a unique perspective because they are closer to the customers than marketing.
- Attending business development events together. It’s a great way to align sales and marketing for a common goal.
Today, there is an average of 5.4 stakeholders involved in any given sales opportunity. On top of that, buyers are much more educated, with 90% of the buying process over before a sales professional even talks to a lead. As a result, sales teams are now leaning more on marketing to produce content that helps them tell a story, communicate value, and ultimately move the lead through the funnel.
“You have to tell a story before you can sell a story.” Beth Comstock
Marketing needs to learn from sales just as much as sales needs to learn from marketing. Spend one day a month in sales. Listen or go on prospect calls and observe sales in action so you can appreciate how difficult their job is, and get a better feel for your target market.
Sales needs to communicate with marketing. This is best done through the use of CRM software. The information that is collected in a CRM helps marketers determine a successful marketing strategy. A marketing team can use analytics to better determine which of their marketing efforts are effective and which could use improvement. This powerful information allows a company to design campaigns aimed at attracting new clients as well as reinforcing their value to existing clients.
If you haven’t already, create the love connection; Link marketing and sales in your organization for better growth and performance.