Marketing & Sales: The Perfect Match

As they share more of the same space, it’s never been more urgent to align the two disciplines.

July 6, 2015

Sales and Marketing share the same goals but the way that they talk about them, set about achieving them and expect the other half to contribute to them keeps pushing the two apart. It sounds like the tragic story of a doomed relationship – only this is a relationship that neither party can afford to fail.

In many ways, Sales and Marketing are closer than ever before: they share more of the same communications channels and they are more likely to be talking to the same audiences at the same time. The less aligned their approaches are, the more uncomfortable and frustrated those audiences are likely to feel.

The good news is that, through tools such as Lead Accelerator, marketing automation and CRM systems there are more opportunities than ever to get Sales and Marketing speaking a common language. However, having the opportunity is one thing; it’s the way that you use it that will really decide whether the two teams have a profitable future together. Here are five principles that could help: 

Develop a common view of customer journeys

Two teams urgently chasing their targets can all too easily leave potential customers feeling overwhelmed – and misunderstood. All efforts to align Sales and Marketing need to start with strategic thinking about the journeys potential customers take with a business. Designing nurture streams for those customers based on the signals that they send can give both sides an agreed playbook to work to and clarify where the role of one team ends – and the other begins.

Nurture leads, don’t just hand them over

Nurture streams don’t just clarify thinking on the process of converting leads; they can also help to define what constitutes a lead in the first place. By providing a more nuanced view of what target audiences are actually doing – they give organisations a more meaningful basis for lead scoring. And a common view of the customer journey helps both sides identify the most appropriate moment for sales to get involved.

Full-funnel focus

B2B marketers are judged on their ability to deliver leads to sales and this has encouraged many to focus their attention on the bottom of the funnel, where they can most easily demonstrate that this is happening. The problem is that over-fishing the bottom of the funnel without restocking at the top leads to diminishing returns – and plenty of arguments with sales about how credit gets divided for the conversions that result. The great value of the new generation of B2B marketing tools is that they provide a full-funnel view of the customer journey, enabling the same granular measurement at the top of the funnel as at the bottom. When marketers take advantage of this to track the impact of brand building activity on eventual conversions, they can broaden their contribution, ensure the funnel stays full and develop a role that’s far more complementary to sales. 

Cut out the finger pointing

All businesses face times when targets are missed or campaigns underperform – and this is when the interaction between sales and marketing can become most heated. These situations feel destructive because it’s often the case that nobody really knows what went wrong. That’s why analytics and optimisation tools are such an important part of a platform like Lead Accelerator. Because nurture streams can be measured with such granularity, you can identify the exact points in a customer journey where disconnects happen and drop-offs occur – and you can easily test different messages and content to find an approach that works better.

Provide sales teams with aligned content

Full-funnel lead nurturing generates a lot of content – and that should be a good thing as far as the three-way relationship between sales, marketing and customers is concerned. It enables marketing teams to pass on not just leads, but content assets that represent a natural next step in the customer journey – and can help create warmer introductions for sales teams. At the same time, they ensure that the prospect themselves feels they’re dealing with a business that understands them and behaves consistently towards them. That is a great advantage of Sales and Marketing working in harmony.

Because with mutual trust and together keeping an eye on the prize, sales and marketing can now live...happily ever after.

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