You are the sales person and know what you need to qualify a lead, so that you can determine if a prospect is worth your time and effort. You are the marketer and you need to understand what information you need to capture for the sales team. Now you are the business owner- do you know if this is happening in your organization? Or is it a battle between departments, where nothing is getting done? You would be surprised at how many companies struggle to ensure the alignment of their sales and marketing teams. HubSpot, an excellent choice in marketing automation software solutions, coined a clever term, Smarketing. This is the mechanism by which an inbound marketing agency is able to help you hone your marketing and sales processes.
So what happens when you align marketing and sales?
We can all agree that the goal of any business, ultimately, is sales, which leads to revenue. To have a business, you must have customers that have a need to buy what you offer as a solution. When you have what they need, and then are able to market to them (without getting in the way) with messages that relate to their needs and where they are in their buying decision process, then you are talking inbound marketing methodology. With inbound marketing, sales will define the information they need marketing to acquire. Marketing will figure out what content, assets, and ads can be leveraged in order to facilitate the acquisition.
An example of Smarketing in action…
For example, you will want to create a tool that gives the user valuable information that they will want to use. But in order to use it, they will be required to fill out a form to give their contact information. Now that marketing acquired the lead information and they have also set up the tool with some advanced internal behavior and CRM tracking features. Because of this, the sales team is able to go into Salesforce and see they have a new lead with the acquired information they told the marketing team they needed. Now the sales person knows exactly how to talk to the prospect, what content will be of interest, and ultimately where they are in their purchase decision process.
While the customer sale is paramount, the primary internal business goal, if not done, should be figuring out your customer’s buying journey. Then you create a virtual conversation (conversion funnel), leveraging your assets, aligning your sales and marketing teams, and leading them through their natural purchase decision process. The days of billboards and getting in the way are over. Consumers are smarter and will find what they need, if you are providing it—no matter how loud you are!
Ultimately, we are able to accomplish the following by implementing the inbound methodology and aligning sales and marketing teams:
- Unifying sales and marketing team needs, agreeing on terminology between them, and defining accountability of needs and process.
- Define personas and how these relate to the needs of each team
- Integration of Marketing and Sales Software
- Figuring out what information each team needs to turn visitors into customers, and then brand advocates. Creating content that both teams can leverage.
- Learn about your audience and how they behave in various channels
- Accurate and unified data – around conversions and goals.
- Closed loop reporting from all online and offline marketing channels.
- Visibility to the engagement and experiences of your users along their buyer’s journey.
What has your experience with your sales and marketing teams been like? Have you aligned them and found an improvement in your lead quality and customer close ratios?