In the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about Sales and Marketing alignment, but sometimes these buzz words go in one ear and out the other. There is so much to be read about it that the volume of noise is overwhelming at times. It’s also hard to understand what it means, I like breakdowns, CliffsNotes, and a synopsis of what something means. So, I’m going to ‘break it down’, what does sales and marketing alignment look like?
People, process, and technology are at the forefront of the conversation. People, those in sales and marketing, the stakeholders, as well as the day-to-day folks that are the ‘doers’ and most importantly the customer. Process, what is the flow of data and the details that go into the data flow. Technology, what does the tech stack look like, and more importantly what shouldn’t it look like.
Does your sales and marketing autonomy look like…
Scenario One: Sales uses Oracle Sales CRM and marketing uses Salesforce. Marketing uses Pardot for email communications and integrated Salesforce. Sales has no insight into what marketing is doing and in some cases the marketing contacts don’t match up with the sales contacts. The Oracle Sales CRM isn’t integrated with Pardot. Sales and marketing are two distinct organizations within the company and don’t really talk.
Scenario two: Sales uses CRM-X and Marketing uses Marketing Automation Platform X, both talk to each other, sales knows exactly what marketing is doing because they have insight. Marketing has visibility into what sales is working on, what details have been updated on the leads sent to sales and where in the sales funnel the lead is at. Kudos to you for being an elite marketing and sales organization, keep it up!
Scenario One people, how are the customers treated today? Are they sent numerous emails from marketing that may have no relevance? Does sales send emails individually to their contacts that marketing has no reporting on or control over? The contacts in either database are the ones that are the most harmed in a non-aligned sales and marketing focus and most likely will unsubscribe or worse report the communication(s) as spam since no reference to an opt-out function was available in the sales sent email. Sales and marketing alignment is really about the customer; they are the key people in the equation. When people start getting irrelevant information, they have a tendency to tune out all the information. The people in your database may wish to hear about the details of products and services, yet when irrelevant messages are sent they stop opening or clicking and simply delete. Deletions don’t necessarily hurt the business, it is all the ramifications of when an action is taken that will hurt (opt-out or CAN-SPAM). Sales and marketing need to have a two-way communication, kind of like a marriage.
Like a marriage, it’s important to have date nights (take sales to lunch), know the hobbies (know what the sales managers/VPs like to do when they aren’t at work) and have regular conversations. A good sales and marketing relationship will help drive more revenue. When sales and marketing trust each other, it’s like walking down the beach in ‘smarketing’ bliss.
With internal people talking, it is the time to look at the technology stack and get them talking. It’s harmful to sales when the systems don’t talk to each other and costly to the organization as well, probably overpaying. When you have marketing and sales using disparate CRMs and the Marketing Automation platform doesn’t talk to the sales CRM, lots of money wasted. Marketing initiates the conversation; sales should have knowledge of the details of the interactions marketing is having. Sales is expected to take that initial interest and have it morph into a sale, but if sales doesn’t have insight into what marketing influenced then sales could be talking itself in circles with a prospect that wonders ‘why all the repeated information?’.
This further conversation between technology was addressed in my blog ‘Oracle Eloqua – CRM Integration’, where I talk about the ability to support the people and processes through the technology. Eloqua has a wide variety of out of the box integration capabilities.
What can you do to fix the problem:
- Evaluate the communication structure to prospects and customers
- Create a bridge between sales and marketing
- Integrate the appropriate sales and marketing platforms