There's often a rivalry between sales and marketing, but it's important to align the two groups to ensure business success -- and marketing automation can help.
Since this is an article for a marketing publication, we can all agree: salespeople are lazy. And if I were writing this for a sales publication, I'd have to say marketers don't produce enough leads.
It's common to have this rivalry between marketing and sales in any organization. But while it's a common issue, it's also one that can be easily solved. Many companies have used marketing automation to bring an end to the feud, and you can, too -- by understanding these five simple keys to better sales-marketing alignment.
1: Single Customer View
When you are looking to align sales and marketing, you first have to start with a clear picture of the customer. This has been the hardest thing for marketers to obtain because they often have many disparate tools that do not share data. A clear picture requires knowing all marketing and sales interactions that an individual has with your company, on every channel. This includes a record of every email received (sales or marketing), every web page visit, every social click, and all information stored in your CRM.
This mutual insight allows your marketing and sales teams to share a common definition of your ideal customer and create campaigns around common goals -- and without mutual insight and common goals, you'll never be able to align your two teams. Marketing automation tools give companies this single customer view by connecting the CRM to all marketing channels via lead tracking technology. This single customer view is critical to success, and is a crucial first step to aligning your sales and marketing efforts.
2: Common Definitions
Once you have a single customer view, it's time to create a common set of definitions to make sure you're communicating effectively. Consider the following terms and what they mean to both marketing and sales:
3: Aligned Goals
Goals must be aligned, and in most organizations, they are not. Measuring sales and marketing off the same metric is the only way to ensure goals are aligned. If you measure sales by opportunities, then you should measure marketing by opportunities as well. I'd suggest measuring success based on two metrics: the number of MQL leads generated, and the number of MQLs that turn into closed/won business. This allows you to track the number of leads that marketing is passing over, as well as the quality of these leads.
The idea that marketing doesn't do a lot for organizations comes from the lack of visibility into marketing's influence. The easiest way to solve this is to give sales visibility into their leads, and into their prospects' interactions with marketing assets. If you already have the single customer view, sales can see each page a person reads and each email a person opens. But consider taking things a step further. For sales to really understand the impact of these interactions, you'll need to make sure they are notified when a prospect takes an indicative action. This does not mean letting them know every time a person opens an email, but consider setting up an alert for when a prospect downloads a buyer's guide or accesses pricing information. This will also be something to talk about when creating common definitions for MQLs and SQLs.
I'd suggest notifying sales reps in a few different ways.
5: Support Campaigns
Many salespeople have a lot of things on their plate; a great way to help build the bridge is to give them some support. These campaign ideas are very easy and can greatly increase their opinion of the marketing team and your effectiveness.
Learning that sales and marketing are members of the same team will help you to see the need to have a single customer view, common definitions, and supporting campaigns. The majority of these techniques require a marketing automation solution, and this is just another reason we are seeing such a large adoption in the space. I hope this has been helpful, and feel free to continue the conversation with me on Twitter at @msweezey.
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Mathew is the head of thought leadership for B2B marketing at Pardot, a Salesforce.com Company. A consummate writer, he has been featured in numerous publications such as Marketing Automation Times, DemandGen Report, Marketing Sherpa, ZDNet, and is the author of Marketing Automation for Dummies (published by Wiley February 2014). As a speaker Mathew speaks around the world at events such as Conversion Conference, Dreamforce, SugarCon, and to companies including Microsoft, Investec, NetJets, and Restaurants.com, to name a few.
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