Why sales and marketing alignment is more important than ever

The line between marketing and sales is blurring. We look at what's causing the trend and how you can start to better build better alignment

Leveraging technology

Technology can help bridge the gap. When marketing is driving demand-generation activities, and they end up in the CRM system, it’s a golden opportunity to put business rules and workflow processes in place that allow you to orchestrate and streamline a consistent interaction with the customer, Oram said.

Read more: The rise of sales-tech: What you need to know

Read more: What you need to know about account-based marketing

“A good CRM is a great handoff point for the leads to flow between marketing and sales as part of working together like a ‘well-oiled machine’”, he explained. “And as sales people look to their marketing colleagues, they want to know something they didn’t already know from their customer or prospect. For example, what is that customer doing on that website, or what is the campaign they are reacting to? When the sales person is talking to that customer or prospect, they need something of value to have a discussion around. But that’s often lost in cold handoffs.

“So it’s critical to look at the context of the engagement at a marketing level and make it consistent at sales level so it is one consistent and seamless dialogue.”

Seismic A/NZ MD, Andy Pattinson, agreed technology is one of the keys to closer alignment, particularly in businesses that have sales and marketing teams spread out across different departments or geographies.

“Not only is data sharing vital when agreeing next steps about how to move a prospect along the sales funnel, but asset sharing is too,” he said. “Tools that allow disparate teams to collaborate using data and assets are vital to closer alignment, as it empowers marketing to ensure that sales have the most up-to-date and relevant materials, but doesn’t negate the knowledge a salesperson is likely to have of a prospect’s unique needs.”

In addition, businesses can reduce content creation costs by focusing on creating the right marketing content for the sales team based on knowing what works and what doesn't.

“These attractive benefits are typically achieved through many smaller steps however, such as having the ability to tell a more compelling story about your business, providing a good customer experience through the sales funnel, reducing the number of off-brand messages in the marketplace,” Pattinson added. “In addition, having content ready-to-go, based on unique selling situations and buyer personas is a huge time-saver. Technologies can automate a lot of this process.”

How to get alignment

Haussegger offered the following checklist for ensuring sales and marketing teams are functioning seamlessly:

  1. Do your marketing and sales teams have shared KPIs for revenue growth?
  2. Have you jointly defined a lead management flow into CRM?
  3. Is the lead flow into CRM systematic and working to your satisfaction?
  4. How do you rate your sales and marketing alignment overall?

Cylance senior VP of marketing, Shaun Walsh, meanwhile, had three steps to achieving closer alignment between sales and marketing. The first is to gain a deep and detailed understanding of the end-to-end customer journey and selling motion.

“Also, use automated systems, analytics, big data and AI to automate as much of the selling process possible,” he advised.  

“Thirdly, become an expert at good old-fashioned, clear communication. The most dangerous thing in sales and marketing is an assumption.”  

 Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu   

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