The undeniable relationship between sales and marketing departments can be best explained as a symbiotic relationship. Even so, several marketing and sales teams have continually developed estranged relationships. In spite of the two units barely speaking, combining sales and marketing departments into one unit has been on the forefront of several business conversations.
Marketing sales integration or smarketing can offer a business several benefits. According to Aberdeen, "Highly aligned organizations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth - while less well-aligned companies reported an average of 7% decline in revenue." The lucrative benefits from merging sales and marketing cannot be experienced as an overnight success. Actually, the process requires countless hours featuring tedious work and attention to detail.
All Aboard the Marketing Sales Integration Express Train
Simply put, the marketing sales integration must be a team mission. If there are individuals who fail to buy into the goal of the team, unfortunately those people should be removed from the team. In building the ideal team, everyone should be on the same page with the ideal mind frames, attitudes, and abilities and willingness to work. Teams that are inspired will come together under a respected leader to achieve uncommon tasks. Teams are stronger that communicate and establish a certain level of trust.
The Sharing and Dissemination of Business Data
Generally, the marketing department and sales department will work with the same audience. To optimize the sharing of the data, the information should be synchronized between marketing and sales. This practice should feature integrated data sharing between the sales CRM and the marketing software. It's vital to synchronize all of the key information fields such as purchase history, accounts, and contacts.
The data that passes between sales and marketing departments should be flexible and be able to be individually tracked. Some of the more common elements are the personal identification information and mailing addresses. Since both sales and marketing departments do need different information, each unit will eventually evolve its data elements to more useful forms.
Commonly, marketing compiles information about a prospect's event attendance, campaign history, communication preferences, and topics of interest. On the other hand, the sales department may store information about the prospect's budget, milestones, and contract information. When both units are required to use the same infrastructure, the possibility for an argument or disagreement becomes an impending threat.A significant amount of control must be placed on the data that flows to the sales department. Not every prospect that is in the marketing database should be passed to through the sales department.
Creating an Integrated Strategy for Messaging
In the process of marketing sales integration, the content becomes another area of potential conflict. Simply put, different groups may have different writers that they use to produce their content. This can result in inconsistent messaging, brand, and even incorrect information being given to prospects and customers. The solution to this problem is a comprehensive content audit, which will help determine who has content, who is using the content, and where the content can be found.
Always Refine, Fine Tune, and Follow Up Efforts
Alignment will be a continual and lifetime process for the business. Initiatives, milestones, and several other facets will require continuous monitoring to ensure consistent progress. Both sales and marketing teams will be provided with ample feedback from the shared performance metrics. Among these performance metrics, it's important to understand the conversion rates at various stages in the pipeline. These metrics are the best way to determine the effectiveness of your sales/marketing alignment.