Sales and Marketing teams should have shared objectives. Both teams play a vital role in the process of generating leads and turning those leads into new customers.
In reality, though, the two departments are often siloed and misaligned. Here we look at the reasons behind this, why changing it is so important, and how marketing automation can help.
Why Sales and Marketing may not be in harmony
If we examine the reasons why Sales and Marketing teams may not be as closely aligned as they should be, there are a few key explanations:
- Differing expectations around content and responsibilities
- The business uses lead tracking processes that are unhelpful – or lack effective lead tracking processes at all
- Short-term Sales goals vs long-term Marketing ones don’t mix
It’s easy to lose sight of common aims among these often contradictory objectives and performance measures.
Why do Sales and Marketing need to be aligned?
Sales and Marketing should create a seamless customer journey. This starts with initial contact via marketing content, social media or other broad-brush marketing activity at the top of the sales funnel, through more segmented and personalised contact in the middle of the funnel. The Sales team then responds to a pitch with a bid document or proposal, and is responsible for closing the sale.
But if this process is disjointed, Marketing activity and content has a high level of wastage. Sales teams are left struggling to engage with cold leads.
If it works well, Marketing activity has a high ROI: it is focused on the audience the Sales team is targeting, with relevant content based on the audience’s known needs. The sales process is shorter, closing deals faster and bringing in essential revenue earlier.
It’s easy to quantify the business benefits of this. A study by the Aberdeen Group claims that companies with strong Sales and Marketing alignment enjoy 20% annual revenue growth.
How can marketing automation help?
- It makes collaboration easier
Automated workflow systems make it easier for teams to work together. Collaborative reviewing means the Sales team can get involved in Marketing content at an early stage, enabling you to input and make sure content is relevant to your contacts. You get early insight into Marketing campaign themes, which maximises your ability to take content to clients and prospects in a meaningful way. (Our blog on Why content marketing is important to sales teams has more on this.)
- It gets content to market quicker If one of your complaints is that your Marketing team produces insufficient material for you to take to prospects, marketing automation has huge benefits. Inefficient content approval processes can delay production and slow down time to market. This is particularly true in regulated firms, where the need for Compliance approval adds an additional layer of review.
Speeding up the production process gets content to market quicker, so you and your Sales colleagues can use it to its full potential. (Read more about this in our blog on How to reduce the time you take to produce marketing materials.)
- Sales materials are on-brand and accurate It can be easy to view your Marketing team as ‘brand police’ – continually finding fault with sales presentations and proposals. If this is the case in your firm, it’s no surprise that the two teams are at odds. Automation makes it easy for you to produce on-brand pitch documents and bids.
When approved content is locked down; when you can access accurate corporate data and find the latest brand assets easily, creating compliant, on brand sales documents and proposals is simple.
This reduces the stress you face when submitting pitches to demanding deadlines. It makes Compliance sign-off easier and quicker, with ‘right first time’ content and compliant branding.
- Automation helps continuously improve your Sales and Marketing processes A good automation system will have user-friendly reports and MI that help Sales and Marketing teams identify what works, what doesn’t and how to improve what you do. Working together towards shared goals will dramatically improve the relationship between Sales Marketing, defining your joint objectives and ensuring both teams are clear about their role in achieving them.
Want to find out more?
If you want to read more about how marketing automation can help align Sales and Marketing– as well as Compliance – teams, you can download a copy of our free whitepaper, The benefits of automated workflow systems. It’s free, and you can get a copy here.