I have just contributed an interview for Adobe's CMO.com publication around sales and marketing working better together. I thought I'd publish a transcript of the interview, as I thought you'd find it interesting and I always try to ensure that this blog is first with my news and views....
Before the move into a digital focussed way of doing business, how did sales and marketing traditionally work together?
- Traditionally marketing was used to generate awareness, responses and leads and then sales would follow them up once prospects responded. This is still the case in many organisations, but does not reflect the way a modern business buys.
Why traditionally has there been a rocky relationship between sales and marketing departments within many businesses?
- It is easy to blame each other! Marketing teams will get frustrated when sales teams do not follow up on the leads that their campaigns have generated. Sales teams get frustrated when they believe that the quality of the leads generated are not what they need. Each one is frustrated by the other wasting their time and resources. Sales people may also believe that longer term brand building marketing campaigns are not what they need. They want top quality leads to follow up and convert in this quarter to help them hit sales targets.
What changes have occurred in the business world that have led to a change of expectations from these two departments?
- Buyers are now more informed. They don’t rely on sales people to find out about your product. They can search online, they can enquire in forums, they can attend virtual events. There is less need for them to reply to lead generation campaigns. They can contact a company and ask them to pitch to them when they are ready to buy, not when a brand is ready to sell.
If you read Google’s “The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing” you can learn that:
- The average B2B buyer is 57% of the way through the purchase decision before engaging a supplier sales rep.
- You have 12% of your customer's total mindshare as a supplier, across the entire B2B purchase path.
Social media usage has also led to sales people being more interested in marketing, as they can use sites like Twitter and Linked In to be better informed about their competitors and customers.
With the move into a digital-focused business world, how can sales and marketing work together to understand and engage the customer and convert opportunities?
- Sales and marketing need to collaborate more and get better at tracking customer engagement. It will help a sales person to understand the value of marketing if the marketing evaluation tells them where the potential customer is in their buying journey and how marketing comms is helping to move them towards a decision. Marketing analytics is a huge opportunity to both help sales understand the value of marketing and also to inform them of exactly when a new prospect is ready to talk. As soon as sales people start getting helpful data that helps them to convert opportunities, then they will buy into how marketing can help them.
What strategies can be put in place to enable sales and marketing to work closely together?
- I believe that tracking engagement is the key to success. Invest in CRM software that will help you to capture data and track behaviour and then to immediately inform sales, as soon as their customer’s online behaviour changes. There is nothing more powerful than informing a sales person that a customer is now interested in a product that they have not enquired about before. Share the engagement tracking data between teams and collaborate, so that sales and marketing learn the most effective ways to work together and when the right time is to follow up on leads.
What are your top tips for sales and marketing integration in a digital world?
- As well as tracking engagement, develop thought leadership driven content that buyers will find when they are hunting for solutions at the start of their purchasing process. Marketing comms should now be focused on getting this expert and helpful content shared in as many places as possible. Amplify your content in social media, digital PR and encourage peer to peer sharing from users. May businesses generate thought leading content and only use it one in one channel. That 6 page white paper, could become 12 blog posts, 24 tweets, 6 YouTube videos, 12 Vine videos and 12 posts on Linked In. Amplification is key. Then make sure it is easy for readers to share it with “tweet this” buttons and the like.
What technology tools are now available for sales and marketing to work better together?
- CRM tools are crucial. The cost has been reduced massively since the early days of CRM and the software is also easier to use, quicker to install and can work in the cloud on a software as a service model. Sentiment trackers such as Radian 6, Clarabridge, Sysomos and the like are also crucial to track the sharing of your content.
Why is it important for a business that sales and marketing work effectively together?
- It is the most important thing in marketing! To justify marketing, you need revenue as well as engagement.