New Research: Adapt and thrive in the Financial Services industry

How stronger sales and marketing alignment will benefit your FinServ teams

November 30, 2020

New Research: Adapt and thrive in the Financial Services industry

How well do your sales and marketing teams work together?  

Results from a recent study by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by LinkedIn, reveal a key opportunity for improving business performance: sales and marketing alignment is crucial to success, according to a massive 91% of FinServ sales and marketing managers and directors. 

By working together, sales and marketing teams will ultimately drive revenue growth. They’ll achieve this because they’re better positioned to increase productivity, improve the customer experience, and enrich the internal culture. By contrast, those FinServ firms stuck in silos are less able to address the seismic marketplace shifts of today – and the future. 

Present circumstances are encouraging change: a 70% reduction in their budgets means marketers face more pressure to perform wider roles. And in fact, 78% of firms are relying more on marketing to support sales.

But despite the clear benefits, and the willingness of FinServ firms to change, our research shows that three-quarters of FinServ marketers admit they face real challenges in aligning with sales. The issues range from strategy and culture to content and messaging.  

So, where do you start? In our new pocket guide, ‘Adapt and thrive in the Financial Services industry’, we set out the steps that can help FinServ firms make their sales and marketing teams work better together. These include:

Sing from the same strategy 

Sales and marketing teams must align at a strategic level, and an aligned strategy starts with shared goals. This will evolve into shared campaigns targeted at the same audiences or accounts. It’s also vital to measure success by common, or at least connected, metrics and KPIs – along the funnel. When sales revenue is the north star, FinServ marketers feel pressure to demonstrate results: chasing short-term numbers shouldn’t be at the expense of longer-term measures like customer loyalty.

Align around the customer

Aligning with customer needs and behaviour – which have changed like never before in 2020 – is at the heart of a strong FinServ strategy. Customers care little about what goes on behind the scenes yet aligned internal processes will be felt in the external experience. Tools and tech must talk, as well as teams. Data, systems and platforms such as CRM should be in sync. These enable sales and marketing teams to deliver a seamless customer journey with consistent messaging, where every touch creates value.

Reaching and engaging today’s FinServ audience demands prioritising customer needs over product promotion – across the whole journey. Marketing should involve sales when determining core themes, campaigns and content strategies. It should also engage sales throughout their implementation – to gather feedback, iterate and optimise approaches. In turn, sales must be willing to engage in the process and adopt a longer-term viewpoint.

Transform your culture, transform your business

Business growth requires strong cultural alignment. But there are hurdles to building cross-functional empathy and understanding. While 89% of those surveyed felt there’s ‘a good level of trust’ between sales and marketing, 40% admit to ‘a level of antagonism’. It is no easy task. As Jeff Davis, author of Create Togetherness, said in our recent crossover episode of ‘Live with Sales Leaders & Live with Marketers’, “it truly is a business transformation”. However, he suggests that sales and marketing leaders can instigate change with a simple conversation “just to get to know each other better – so you can leverage each other”. Remote working brings its challenges, but participating in joint initiatives, recruiting cross-functional champions and executive sponsors, and celebrating each other’s successes are steps on the road to synergy. 

Sales and marketing alignment, developed around serving customer needs, should be built into your FinServ business strategy, processes, content and culture – not only to drive revenue growth, but also so you’re able to evolve effectively and adapt to this ever-changing environment. Don’t work from different playbooks. Embrace the future together. Find out more in our new pocket guide ‘Adapt and thrive in the Financial Services industry’.