In today’s business environment, Sales and Marketing are often divorced. In fact they often behave just like a divorced couple, constantly pointing fingers at each other, most frequently over lead quantity and quality.
Marketing says that Sales isn’t taking advantage of the leads they have, and is wasting them. Sales, on the other hand, is grumbling that the leads Marketing provides just don’t convert into opportunities.
There are companies today, though, that are realizing that this isn’t a modern approach and their progress is being hampered by this situation. But even more fundamental, this situation remaining unresolved also means that the leads situation remains unresolved. With a permanent communication block on the subject, there are leads falling into a “black hole” between sales and marketing.
There are clear benefits to creating a harmonious working environment between sales and marketing. Here are 4 of them:
#1: Agree on Strategy
When they exist in their own separate silos, Sales and Marketing usually operate on different strategies. Marketing is always on the lookout for new lead sources, and creating messages designed to interest prospects in the company’s products or services, from as many quarters as possible. Sales has refined best-practice sales techniques for converting leads into opportunities, and in turn converting opportunities into closed sales.
In comparing these strategies, it can be seen that Marketing is more “experimental”, while Sales only wants stability of lead quality and really doesn’t want to hear about “experiments.”
If Sales and Marketing were cooperating, Marketing would understand what Sales really means when they say, “qualified lead.” Sales would have a better feel for Marketing’s mission and what they’re trying to accomplish. Instead of being in conflict, their strategies could be aligned for a smooth march forward—and upward.
#2: Shared Understanding of Buyer Behavior
Marketing and Sales generally have different understandings of buyer behavior, simply because they see it from different vantage points. Marketing has a broad understanding of buyer behavior within the industry. Sales, on the other hand, has an on-the-ground understand that only comes about through regular personal contact. That is why you often hear the salesperson complaint that marketing campaigns “don’t speak to the buyers.”
When Sales and Marketing are working together, though, they share an understanding buyer behavior. Marketing can speak more accurately to all the different buyer types through their collateral materials.
Marketing would also greatly benefit by speaking directly to buyers, and thereby gain firsthand knowledge of their needs, wants and motivations.
#3: Marketing Supports Sales Strategies
When a sale is moving through the various stages of the sales process, it can often be helped along by marketing collateral materials that apply to particular stages. A leading-edge CRM solution makes it possible to have such materials available to salespeople from right within the CRM stage to which they apply. Salespeople can just click on them and send them off to prospects.
With Sales and Marketing unaligned, collateral materials can be hit or miss. Marketing can insist that buyers require a particular message, and salespeople will argue back that it’s actually the wrong message and won’t assist the sale. When Sales and Marketing are working together, however, they agree on what those materials should say. The expended effort and funds will achieve the desired result.
#4: Closing the Leads Chasm
As stated above, when Sales and Marketing are opposed, there are leads the just don’t get followed up. Sales says the leads aren’t worth pursuing, and Marketing says that Sales just isn’t working them correctly.
When sales and Marketing are in accord, though, they find and develop methods to address all leads so none are wasted.
It might be a matter of Marketing taking on the role of nurturing leads that aren’t “quite ready for prime time”—but the very first thing that will need to happen is for Sales and Marketing to come to a full agreement on the definition of “qualified lead.”
Only with sales and marketing in full agreement and alignment can a company find success in the 21st century. It is a key component of all sales strategies.