Last week my colleague, Jay Jennison, wrote a great blog post called The Extreme Idea of Sales and Marketing Cooperating about how consumer behavior changing has led to customers getting through nearly 60% of the sales process before engaging with a sales rep. This means that almost all consumers have already heard at least one pitch or advertisement from Marketing, disqualified certain company’s based on their own research, and then raised their hand suggesting that they would like to get more serious and engage a sales rep.
Needless to say the sales cycle has come a long way in the digital age and like Jay said – Help Marketing help you, Sales!
He brought up a good point, that leveraging analytics is a great way to get Sales and Marketing on the same page. However that is not the only way to facilitate better alignment. Our two organizations need to work together in a number of ways to make sure that the hand-off between Marketing and Sales is effortless and here are a few extreme steps to make sure this happens:
Marketing and Sales organizations should take part in the demand generation discussion collectively.
I know this is a radical concept but getting both departments together to talk about the pipeline, funnel metrics, etc. is really helpful to setting goals everyone agrees on and making sure everyone understands what their responsibility is to help drive revenue.
Sales should have some input into brand messaging.
Again this is a crazy idea but shouldn’t the people that are out in the trenches selling the product every day, listening to what customers are asking for and think are important have some say in the content that Marketing creates? Marketing, how can we expect to create messaging that hits home with our audience if we don’t know what that audience is looking for? On the flip side of that . . .
Marketing should go with Sales to customer meetings.
Salespeople yes you may not want to be “saddled” with Marketing at your customer meetings but believe me this helps us a lot. Going back to the whole brand messaging point – if we are able to sit in on some conversations you have with your customers or prospects it really gives a good idea of what the customer is looking for and also what tools we can provide you to help bring in those dollars. Also it gives us a much better appreciation for the hard work you guys do making sure that deals get closed and that we are all still employed. And finally as Jay mentioned. . .
Sales and Marketing should both leverage analytics to understand what is working and what needs improvement.
Analytics can be a very powerful tool when used properly with all the customer data available in our CRM systems (that’s you Sales guys) and our Marketing Automation (MA) systems (that’s us Marketing). Look we can learn a lot from the patterns we see in both of these systems but a big problem is too often the data in CRM and MA systems don’t match. To solve this issue it is really helpful to have an application that can track marketing metrics in your CRM systems so there are some common points of data and so there is complete visibility through all the funnel stages (not just the sales ones).
So to sum it up Sales and Marketing help each other drive more revenue so everyone is happy and can keep their jobs!