Sales and Marketing Find Their Happily Ever After

A cross-functional love story

February 10, 2016

Once upon a time, there were two people who realized it was their destiny to be together. They shared the same interests. They had the same goals for the future. They knew it would be easier to do all they dreamed of doing if they worked as a team. So they built two enormous silos. Each one of them picked a silo, went inside, and locked the door. They each focused on doing their own thing, and only spoke to accuse each other of not doing enough to make the relationship work. And they lived grumpily ever after.

Not the most romantic story ever told, right? Even in stories, communication is the key to a happy relationship. But too often, sales and marketing are a lot like the couple in our fractured fairy tale. A recent survey found the percentage of companies reporting fully aligned sales and marketing decreased last year, from 15.71 to just 9.21%.

If your organization is suffering from sales and marketing misalignment, it’s time to write a new ending: “Then they smashed the silos, agreed on common goals, and supported each other. And they nurtured more leads, generated more demand, and converted more prospects into customers ever after.”

Here are three real examples of how sales and marketing capitalized on their natural chemistry to rock B2B content marketing.

Concur: Common KPIs for the Common Good

The company: Concur, a leading provider of travel and expense management services for businesses.

The obstacle: Lack of communication between sales and marketing made prospecting inefficient and stunted the organization’s potential for growth. It was a tale as old as time: Sales said the leads were low-quality, marketing said salespeople weren’t following up on promising leads.

The romance: Concur sent the marketing and sales departments to the business equivalent of couple’s therapy. They held workshops where both sides could agree on common definitions, stages of the buying cycle, and processes. They followed up the workshops with training sessions to align goals and establish KPIs.

The happily ever after: With a common definition of what constitutes a good lead and shared goals, sales and marketing can work together to move buyers through the pipeline. With the new plan in place, Concur achieved 20% year-over-year growth, and they are well-equipped for future success.

Oracle: Centered on Social

The company: Oracle promotes business innovation by simplifying the IT environment. Through cloud applications, platform services, and engineered systems, they provide the tools to make organizations more efficient and productive.

The obstacle: Marketing found generating lead lists to be inefficient and time-consuming. Sales had trouble connecting with the entire buying committee at target accounts, and had to deal with long sales cycles as a result.

The romance: Oracle brought in a third-party counselor to repair the relationship: LinkedIn. They encouraged salespeople to use social networking and the marketing department’s content to build relationships. Marketing also turned to LinkedIn to quickly generate highly-targeted lead lists.

The happily ever after: Starting with better leads and continuing with relationship building paid off for Oracle. Salespeople saw a 30% increase in engagement with their key connections, and sales cycles shortened by 20%.

ADP: Making the Most of Marketing Content

The company: ADP provides comprehensive payroll services and human resources management solutions for businesses of all sizes.

The obstacle: The sales department suffered from low productivity, which they partially blamed on low-quality leads from marketing. Sales also found it challenging to make their case with key stakeholders at their target accounts.

The romance: First, sales and marketing met to agree on a common definition of a good lead. Marketing implemented an automated lead nurturing and scoring system to engage leads more quickly. Then ADP’s marketing team created and targeted content to stakeholders across the buying committee.

The happily ever after: ADP’s sales team increased their leads worked by 21%, while the win rate increased 103%. Over all, revenue increased 48% year-over-year.

The romance between sales and marketing should be a love story for the ages. But for many organizations, it’s still in the “missed connections” section. Make your fairy tale come true by developing shared goals and KPIs, using social networking to augment each other’s efforts, and creating content that aids potential customers and salespeople alike. As the case studies in this article show, communication and collaboration can lead your organization to its own happily ever after.

Looking for additional insights on how your sales and marketing teams can nurture leads using multi-channel nurturing? Download our guide:

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