There’s often a lot of disparity between the goals, priorities and roles of sales and marketing teams in business. Marketing are focused on building brand, maximising outreach and generating new opportunities to progress. Sales on the other hand, they need to meet goals, solve problems and close deals with the most opportune targets - with often very little time to do so!
For marketing teams in particular, you’ll know that a lot of blood, sweat and tears (figuratively speaking), can be spent building up a pipeline of marketing qualified leads (MQL). Nevertheless, the corresponding number of closed deals can often lack in comparison. So, what’s the issue?
Business development is not a one step process.
It involves multiple touchpoints, consistent tracking and most importantly, communication between all marketing and sales functions.
A research piece by Marketo found that businesses are 67% better at closing deals when sales and marketing departments work together. Although marketing and sales alignment isn’t something which can be achieved overnight, here are some easy-actionable ways you can get both teams working in harmony.
1. CRM Integration
Before you even begin doing anything else, think about how you currently manage leads. You’ll likely already have some form of customer relationship management system in place, but is this being used to its full capacity by each team?
You only get out what you put in, so make sure both teams are on board with your CRM and are tapping into it as a shared resource!
A functioning CRM is a necessity for nearly all businesses and can be the foundation to ensure all your business development is efficient, coordinated and relevant.
By regularly monitoring and updating your CRM, both teams will have full visibility of qualified leads, opportunities, current clients and historical communications. This reduces the likelihood of information overlaps and allows both teams to progress leads in the most appropriate way.
Improving your collaboration between teams can really start from just working on the same data, within the same system.
2. Communication Automation
According to a study by Harvard Business Review,
Automating communication to and from your CRM can be the answer to achieving this.
Through Marketing Automation software, you’ll be able to manage the whole lead nurture process, ensuring tasks, queries and communications are streamlined and actioned at the most opportune moment.
In addition to sending notifications to your sales team once a prospect has reached a certain point in the sales funnel, you’ll be able to track all communication and interactions to and from each opportunity.
Whether this is a few marketing emails about a new product, a reply to a query, or a visit to your website. Marketing Automation software will provide full visibility of this to both teams, scoring each lead based on their warmth and whether they are considered a marketing qualified lead (MQL). Once they’ve passed this threshold, an automated email can be sent to the sales reps for immediate follow up.
This not only helps prioritise outreach to the most sales-ready leads, but also improves project management capabilities and helps sales and marketing teams work more closely together.
3. Plug the gaps in your sales funnel
A common concern when prospecting can be ensuring that those initial warm, but not quite ready to buy, leads don’t end up leaking out of your sales funnel altogether.
For instance, marketing has passed a stream of MQLs through to the sales team who have since been labelled as longer-term opportunities. What happens to this pipeline of leads from here?
Using alerts, you can schedule follow up around certain milestones. For example, an alert to make contact two months before a lead’s specified renewal date. Marketing can then schedule drip-feed content with offers or targeted messaging to help nurture these leads up to immediate opportunity.
There can be a lot of waiting around within the buyer journey which means leads often go dark for long periods of time. But that doesn’t mean they should fall off your radar altogether.
Although Marketing Automation can act as a link within the sales and marketing alignment process, personal, face to face communication will be the key in driving long term results and revenue growth. So start talking to eachother, build relationships and discover a process which works for both teams.
For more information on how to optimise automation within your business, follow the link below to arrange for a chat with one of our marketing experts.