Today's post is by Shalini Mitha, director of solutions marketing at SAP Hybris. Connect with her on Twitter @shalinimitha or on LinkedIn.
It’s no secret that sales and marketing typically work in parallel and rarely together. But, at today’s successful companies, these teams are forging a strong, collaborative alliance that enables them to know their audience better, grow sales, and boost loyalty in this age of the connected, empowered customer.
Recently, SAP commissioned an Aberdeen research report on the success of sales and marketing alignment. The study found, “Best-in-class companies that optimize the marketing and sales relationship grow revenue 32% faster.”
And, more importantly, “Companies that align sales and marketing efforts by using their CRM system as system of engagement versus system of record enjoy stronger customer retention rates as well as more efficient end of the customer journey sales results. Benefit: 62% of best-in-class companies attain total sales team attainment of their quota.”
Historically, the relationship between sales and marketing has been tumultuous,with both sides playing the “blame game” and pointing fingers on the reasons for lost revenue. But don’t bring out those divorce lawyers yet – there is way to bring harmony.
As with any new relationship, you need to set ground rules to ensure a successful union. Sales and marketing need to discuss the best ways to work together – especially in terms of a lead definition, process, and execution. Collaborate on the best approach to nurture leads and communicate on what works and what doesn’t. As sales and marketing roles continue to overlap – with marketing carrying more responsibility further into the buying cycle and sales needing to be more knowledgeable and prepared with every customer interaction – it is important to break down those silos.
The blame game needs to stop. In truth, both groups need each other. Marketing can be quite resourceful in deal support, nurturing leads and building customer relationships, while sales can provide first-hand insight into what customers want. The two need each other, and forging a strong, collaborative alliance is imperative in the era of the connected, empowered customer.
Here are four steps to get you started.
- Work with marketing to ensure personalization of marketing content. It is imperative to know at what stage your customer is in their buying journey – so marketing can provide personalized and relevant content and so sales can build trust and confidence.
- Accelerate productivity. A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. According to a study by Harvard psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert, 47 percent of our waking hours are spent ruminating and unfocused. Make every moment productive. Empower sales reps to sell with insight – anytime, anywhere, on any device.
- Turn insight into action. The modern customer generates a tremendous amount of data. Enterprises are challenged to collect, organize, and interpret all of this data in order to create detailed customer profiles and share those across the entire front office. According to Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, ”Machine learning will fundamentally change the enterprise and help salespeople see which opportunities will close.” Best-in-class companies use CRM solutions to provide ways to best proceed with current pipeline opportunities, based on past marketing and selling success.
- Leverage tribal knowledge. Today’s marketing and sales practitioners are supported by applications that promote the free exchange of ideas and best practices. Best-in-class companies are 91 percent more likely to deploy enterprise social collaboration platforms.
Like any good “marriage,” the secret is mutual respect, empathy, and communication. If sales and marketing work together in harmony, the customer wins and loyalty and customer retention follow. Learn more about the secret to success; see how your organization compares to best-in-class companies by reading the full Aberdeen white paper: “Marketing/Sales Alignment 2016: Who Is Agile Enough to Win?” Or learn how SAP Hybris can help you empower your sales teams to sell smarter, act faster, and be relevant everywhere.