Sales and marketing teams have never been the best of friends, it’s more of an ‘I’ll invite you to my party, but I don’t expect you to actually come’ kind of relationship. Unfortunately, if kept separate, the unequivocal differences between the two can hurt your business, as leads are fought over rather than categorised and dealt with in terms of their quality.
The potential of a cohesive whole is far-reaching, and with clearly defined shared goals and an appropriate CRM in place, the gap between sales and marketing can be bridged, allowing leads to be dealt with by the right people at the right times.
Okay, so what exactly is the gap?
Most sales and marketing teams operate out of alignment, due mostly to a lack of communication and transparency.
A marketers’ role is to understand buyer personas — the key demographics your business is looking to attract — communicating to these groups with a one-to-many approach. Alternatively, the role of sales is to individually approach prospective buyers when they are much closer to making the buying decision.
The space in between (that is, the way in which the teams communicate and work together) is where the real difficulty arises. Working separately, these distinct skill-sets are underutilised, with many quality sales opportunities going untouched and left behind in no man’s land.
- The marketing team excels at capturing the attention of a large group of buyers, generating great content to drive those people into and through the sales process.
- Salespeople excel in persuading individual buyers. They add context to the company’s expertise, products, and services. Through them, the marketers’ content fulfils its potential at the precise moment the buyer needs it.
A central component of inbound marketing success is finding a way to unify the essentially different talents of marketing and sales, thus bridging the gap in between.
What needs to be done to bridge this gap?
To close the gap, marketing needs to become the buyer expert, not just the product expert. Using real data, full buyer personas can be developed that offer a deep and factual clarity about buyer habits, intentions, and problems.
Buyer persona research yields surprising information, and when you’re tuned in to a problem that people will spend money to solve, being there first with a solution is a sure-fire way to generate interest in your business.
Aligning content production with buyer persona insight also makes it far easier to market your products. Rather than web content that is simply an egotistical reiteration of gobbledygook-laden corporate drivel, you create content that people want to consume and are eager to share.
A properly integrated CRM is the best way to solve this problem…
An intelligent CRM system allows you to take control of the no man’s land that separates marketing and sales, allowing both teams to function in happy accord. By clearly defining each lead in terms of their engagement before passing them on, sales teams can act on more resolute insights, all the while working more efficiently, monitoring their deals, and staying organised.
Here are the specific benefits of an intelligent CRM…
1) It will automatically log your sales activity…
When it comes to managing a sales pipeline, CRM makes it easy to organise, track, and grow the pipeline, providing continual intelligence and a 360 view of all your (possible) client interactions. This extends not just to the sales person, but to your company website, emails, and every other aspect of the process too.
2) It will manage your pipeline with total visibility…
Offering a by-the-minute view of your entire sales funnel on a clean, visual dashboard, a CRM can sort deals won and lost, appointments scheduled, and contracts sent over any time period, tracking performance against quotas you set.
3) Allows you to see everything you need to see about a lead, in one place!
Going way beyond names and job titles, every interaction with a lead is stored in a tidy timeline; including calls, emails, meetings, and notes. With a CRM in place, you’ll always be clued in, never needing to dig through a messy inbox or spreadsheet to figure out where a relationship left off.
4) It will sky rocket your productivity…
You can keep track of contacts and customer interactions, monitor deals through every stage, and make sure everyone on your sales team is always on the same page.
5) It will build a strong trusting relationship between marketing and sales…
Breaking down the barrier between marketing and sales, a CRM allows you to bring all your contacts, historical data, dashboards, pipelines, and reports together in one place. Everyone involved can monitor collective progress, and work together to increase growth.
6) It will close the loop between departments…
Always using insight as a foundation, leads and contacts can be shared and assigned automatically. Sales reps get instant insight into the content a lead has consumed, where they are along the buyers journey, and how they last interacted with your brand. Beyond this, you can automate lead rotation to evenly distribute leads round-robin style, or use rules to distribute leads based on location, industry, deal size, or any other form field you want.
By auto-creating tasks and to-dos whenever a prospect visits your pricing page, a deal changes stages, or a certain amount of time has passed, you’ll never miss a chance to follow up. This means that once a lead is in your funnel, you’ll never lose sight of them again.
7) It will align sales and marketing with clear, simple reporting…
Having a system that allows you to share what’s working, eliminate ambiguity, and get everyone working toward the same goals with information relevant to both teams, allows for a more cohesive system that is both efficient and immediate in effect.
If you’re still wondering what a CRM can do for your business, here are some key areas where it excels…
- It will automate the tasks that salespeople hate
- It will take minutes to learn, not months – meaning more deals and less data entry
- It will track every interaction a lead has with your brand from initial visit to closed deal, allowing you to use that data to connect with the right lead, at the right time, with the perfect message!