It’s no secret that the relationship between Sales and Marketing teams in large organisations is often not the most connected. The issue is deep-rooted and even has become cliché but the long-standing misalignment continues to affect businesses to the detriment of hard sales. Sales departments often struggle to see the ROI that Marketing bring and the prospects they produce are weak, Marketing feel Sales don’t follow up on the leads they are given. The first step of finding a solution is acknowledging there is a problem and LinkedIn suggests that 60% of sales and marketing professionals believe that being disconnected can negatively impact financial performance.
The sales and marketing divide is sometimes hard to understand given that they are both working towards the same goal and along different parts of the same process. They’re the two primary revenue-driving functions within a company. Based on this sales and marketing teams should be working together to create and execute successful strategies, but one study suggests that more than half of marketers don’t even know which assets their salespeople use most.
The relationship is tested even more now in the global pandemic with more remote connections making it harder to collaborate.
We looked to a leading scholar on the topic, Ken Le Meunier-FitzHugh, who confirms that greater collaboration between Sales and Marketing drives improved business performance. He identifies that the key is not necessarily the integration of departments but collaboration. Senior management plays a pivotal role in improving collaboration between Sales and Marketing, but there are other factors – the reduction of interdepartmental conflict, the improvement of communications, the establishment of organizational learning, and effective market intelligence systems.
Looking at the relationship in the new normal, how can Digital solutions address these points?
Digital platforms can play a major role in supporting greater communication and reducing inter-departmental conflict. More now than ever in imposed lock-down businesses need virtual collaboration, computer-based training, online marketing asset sharing, and remote sales enablement tools. All this can help towards organizational learning and also contribute to the efficiency with all parties being able to be part of the conversation without multiple side conversations going on independently. Dun & Bradstreet agree there is a need for closer alignment – When done well, companies should not be able to tell where marketing ends and sales begin.
If sales and marketing teams need to collaborate, it is their digital interfaces that must integrate. The area where digital can make the biggest impact is in providing effective market intelligence systems. Businesses can build up a better understanding of their customers and provide a more seamless experience across all the touchpoints with a customer, from an unknown prospect to a loyal long-standing repeat customer.
With the acceleration towards digital transformation becoming an imperative in the new normal, brands are clamouring to get their digital shop in order, but it’s not a quick fix. To really move from digital laggard to digital leader, companies must embrace a culture of innovation top-down from Senior Management and lay digital foundations that can underpin both sales and marketing efforts.
The most impactful benefit is a full 360-degree view of a customer at your fingertips, something that digital leaders already enjoy. With more visibility of a customer comes a better ability to provide a tailored offer to address the pain points that matter. Digital early-adopters succeed in this with Marketing automation (tracking customer engagements with brand content), CRM, Insight tools, and Account Management systems. Crucially, this needs to be all integrated into one platform, or at least have systems that interface with each other. This multi-layered input allows for a data-led approach which is powerful for business in helping to prioritise the best opportunities and focus energy on the conversations that are more likely to go somewhere.
The communications also benefit from digitalisation. Sales and Marketing need to be aligned to ensure continuity across the end-to-end conversation. Using the data can help with delivering optimised messaging and visual consistency across all channels. With all parties talking in the same way and using the same assets this enables a company to come to the market with one voice and seamless brand experience across online/offline marketing and sales touchpoints. In a study carried out by Showpad, 94% of modern B2B consumers state that a consistent experience across digital and offline channels is important to them. Companies that don’t fulfill the digitally-oriented expectations of modern customers risk turning off buyers and restricting business growth.
We hear it in our day-to-day conversations and it’s often a journey that most brands are already on in some way but getting it right requires investment and effort. There are rewards to be had from a more joined-up Sales and Marketing approach enhanced by digital optimisation, with proven business impact and a more efficient workforce driving revenue and profitability.
If you’re at the start of your B2B digital transformation journey or looking at your next step to further enhance your Marketing and Sales output, get in touch to see how we can help.21.10.20 Archive