Is it time to call a truce between sales and marketing?
For as long as businesses have been selling products and services, there has been a rift (some may call it gaping crevasse) between sales and marketing. Despite playing for the same team, sales has often questioned whether marketing really understands how to generate leads, while marketing wonders whether sales is actually working hard enough to close the leads they receive.
In reality, they need each other because alignment makes a major difference in overall business success. In fact, Aberdeen Research found that companies that are best in class at aligning marketing and sales experienced an average of 20% growth in annual revenue. Businesses with unaligned sales and marketing teams actually had a four percent decline.
The difference is too significant to ignore. Fundamentally, sales and marketing have approached the business from different angles, which makes alignment challenging. It’s why Forrester found that only 8% of B2B companies have actually achieved sales and marketing nirvana.
A singularity of purpose
In an ideal world, sales and marketing are on the same page and every department in the company has an interest in every customer. In an aligned business, there is ongoing communication, a method for providing feedback for how marketing generates leads and how sales pursue them.
Alignment is “more concerned with giving both teams a singularity of purpose and the ability to collaborate through open communication, shared data, and shared deliverables.”
Simply stated, an integrated sales and marketing force means a stronger company.
So how do we get there?
Driving alignment with shared data
There are a variety of things that can be done to improve alignment, from using a consistent language for sales and marketing and holding regular meetings to establishing formal service-level agreements and sharing common goals. One of the key drivers is shared data, specifically putting in place a common set of metrics across the entire sales process. While this goes against the grain in terms of how sales and marketing approach the business, the core metrics will provide a more unified view to push the “singularity of purpose.” Managing the core metrics and providing the visibility into the data and sales process is the strength of business intelligence.
Things such as leads generated, leads moved to marketing qualified, leads moved to sales qualified, meetings and deals won might be a typical sales process. Business intelligence can measure this quantitative data across the sales cycle and provide a shared, centralized access point or dashboard that allows sales and marketing to measure the effectiveness of lead generation campaigns and return on investment, as well as ways to improve.
A unified view of the business
Business intelligence provides the accountability for action, evidence of the effort, and the validation of value that each group brings to the business. Traditionally, marketing and sales have operated in silos, but BI makes it possible to integrate data from a variety of disparate resources, including major ERP and CRM systems, as well as marketing automation and cloud-based solutions.
When a singularity of purpose is clear, business intelligence can serve as the olive branch between sales and marketing, helping the teams achieve their individual goals, while moving the business forward.