Sales and Marketing Integration: 5 Tips

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

sales marketing integrationDo your sales and marketing teams work well together? Here’s five tips for getting everyone on the same page to lift marketing ROI and conversion rates.

1 – Use data to power marketing and create engagement for sales. Steve Kozek, head of commercial excellence at Citizen’s Bank and former managing director, commercial operations, GE Capital, notes that marketers should align their data and analytics strategy like architects, to deliver the right messages at the right time.

“It’s about getting the fundamentals right, which can be easier said than done in a multi-level enterprise,” he says. “It’s the job of marketing operations to create messaging that positions B2B brands to help CFOs procure capital equipment and financing for growth. Data and content working together is today’s marketing currency. The better we leverage both in concert with the buying cycle, the more quickly we close any gaps and support the sales team’s journey.”

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2- Get the sales team involved in content creation. Pitney Bowes’ sales and marketing teams work closely together to make sure there’s alignment between what marketing is producing and sales’ goals.

“Sales is fantastic about being honest and giving us feedback about what will help them with one-on-one conversations [with prospects],” say Michael Marino, director, marketing operations at Pitney Bowes. “They get to put their fingerprints on marketing materials. And if they believe in the content, they’ll support it.”

3- Keep the lines of communication open. Marketing and sales need to understand what each team is thinking about the way they want to target prospects and engage existing customers, and you can’t do that unless you talk regularly.

Jeff Reekers, vice president of marketing at Aircall, notes that it helps to try and see things from the other side, to understand each team’s challenges. “Sales people are certainly incentivized to close sales and we need to be part of their organization. It’s the responsibility of marketing to work with sales.”

4- Create common definitions of marketing qualified and sales qualified leads. Sales not following up on marketing qualified leads and marketing not creating sales qualified leads were two of the top hurdles to sales and marketing integration, according to Chief Marketer’s annual B2B survey.

Getting on the same page about what constitutes MQLs and SQLs can go a long way towards creating less friction. Good salespeople are very independent and self motivated. “They take care of their own problems,” says Gary Skidmore, executive chairman of Aberdeen Group. “If they have confidence in the leads, they’ll follow up and sell. If they don’t, they’ll just look at them as a nuisance.”

5- Ditch the silo mentality. When implemented properly, the right technology driven solutions can do wonders, not just for sales and marketing efforts, but also for customer support and service. The challenge, notes Manohar Chapalamadugu, founder and CEO of Agile CRM, is that most organizations don’t integrate critical data across these tools.

“Say, for example, that your sales team is using a CRM platform to manage customer relationships, your marketing team is working with a marketing automation platform for lead management, and your support team is utilizing a separate ticketing system for customer service,” he says. “It doesn’t matter how outstanding each of those solutions is, because if they aren’t sharing data and critical information in real-time, they will not provide optimum benefit to the organization. What good is fancy marketing automation if your sales representatives aren’t closing those deals? Similarly, what good is your powerful CRM if it’s not being fed high-quality leads?”

Data needs to be integrated, accessible in real-time, and exist as a “single truth.” Data should be easily managed as a single, centralized database. “This is absolutely essential because any disconnect between sales, marketing and support efforts will result in lost opportunities, which translates to lost revenue,” says Chapalamadagu.



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