Peanut butter and jelly. Coffee and doughnuts. Cream and sugar. Rain and sunshine.
Sales and marketing.
While each can work alone, achieving the best results requires working together.
It takes two to tango.
Today, customers are more sophisticated. They can feel when the marketing and sales teams are disjointed.
Not integrating your sales and marketing efforts confuses your potential customers. This only leads to missed opportunities, leaving a bad experience and hurting your bottom line.
- Common issues that marketing and sales teams face
- What is sales and marketing integration
- Ways to integrate the two
In the modern age, with digital marketing taking over the world, it’s more crucial than ever to have both teams integrated and aligned.
Common issues between sales and marketing
Traditionally, sales and marketing teams worked on opposite ends of the sales funnel. Marketing dealt with lead generation, while sales focused on closing sales. Unfortunately, that left a massive gap in between where promising leads could get lost in the shuffle. Online businesses that thrive today need to bridge the gap by integrated marketing and sales data so that both teams can work together towards the same goal.
Here are some of the common issues that prevent the sales and marketing team from aligning:
Sales and marketing teams often think independently of one another. Marketing employees will focus on chasing leads, filling their funnel as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, sales reps are complaining about the quality of their leads since they’re not converting any of them to sales.
Marketing reacts by utilizing different tactics to find better quality leads. Sales continue to get frustrated since they’re spending time talking to “bad” leads, which impacts their close ratios and affects their commission sales. The marketing team may blame the sales team for the inability to close leads.
The vicious cycle continues.
This happens because neither department knows what the other is doing.
Since the sales team is on the front lines building relationships with prospects, they may better understand the deep-rooted problems that the business faces. The sales team needs to relay this information so that the marketing team can improve its messaging and content.
Many marketers may focus on the wrong things, such as improving their website. Instead, they should look to improve their content output to build value throughout the early stages of the funnel.
For instance, 95% of B2B consumers trust businesses more when they produce valuable content.
The CEO at Boot Camp Digital says, “The key to success is understanding that sales and marketing are complementary, not competitive. Strong marketing supports sales teams.”
Since sales and marketing often operate as separate units, establishing proactive interdepartmental coordination remains challenging. Lack of communication leads to lower productivity and can erode trust and mutual understanding.
For example, many sales reps have tunnel vision and are not able to see the bigger picture of the prospect’s journey. They may simply focus on sales tactics of pushing for a close.
The marketing team can help sales reps by providing marketing collateral such as infographics, webinars, and training videos. The sales rep can send these collaterals as a resource for the leads to check out to help them familiarize themselves with the product. This allows the sales reps to gain the trust of prospects.
For example, Drift, a conversational marketing and chatbot software uses webinars to help educate and nurture customers.
Prospects may feel like the salesperson is being too pushy. However, continuing to add value and proactively helping the prospect with their problems can improve close rates.
Again, working together and having clear communication about goals, messaging and data sharing helps integrate both sales and marketing teams.
While both departments want the company to see success, each department will try to do so with different means.
Marketing teams are looking to build an increasing pipeline of qualified leads, while sales teams are looking to close deals.
Generally speaking, marketers tend to have a long-term perspective, while sales reps are looking to meet their monthly and quarterly quotas. This causes both teams not to see eye-to-eye, creating a rift between the two departments.
One solution is that marketers can take a more direct response marketing approach to their strategy. Rather than using awareness tactics, they can put more effort into lead nurturing, which will better help the sales team close more deals.
Direct response marketing works effectively because it’s agile. Since it’s easy to track results, you’ll see a better return on investment. This Facebook Ad by AdEspreso is a direct response marketing ad with a clear call to action. They provide tremendous value to the customer, guiding them down the sales funnel.
To illustrate this point, 79% of marketing leads will never convert into sales, which usually stems from a lack of lead nurturing.
What is sales and marketing integration?
Sales and marketing integration is the process of unifying your sales and marketing teams throughout the customer journey and across the business processes.
There should be a seamless transition through each stage of the sales funnel.
Typically, the approach requires sharing data by connecting your marketing automation tool with your sales CRM. Since both parties have access to more real-time information, they can better adapt their approach to giving prospects a better experience.
But sales and marketing integration isn’t just about sharing data. It’s about taking the approach to communicating better with one another and sharing the same goals.
When asked what is needed to achieve sales and marketing alignment, most business owners believe that sales goals and KPIs are required.
How does the sales team benefit from marketing automation?
Marketing automation can streamline top and middle-of-the-funnel activities such as content marketing, email marketing, campaign building and tracking, and web tracking and analytics. By leveraging sales and marketing automation tools and using them in tandem, your organization will achieve better interdepartmental alignment, more targeted campaigns, higher quality leads, and many other benefits.
By giving the sales department access to this information, they can feel which aspects of the marketing register with each particular prospect. As a result, they can better understand what they should be focusing on during their sales conversations.
Most importantly, marketing automation can leverage data and marketing activity to qualify and segment leads. That way, increasing the number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and reducing the number of unqualified leads handed off to sales. Sales can spend more time with leads that are more likely to convert and less time with bad leads.
How does the marketing team benefit from sales automation?
Sales automation are tools that help to automate manual sales tasks such as data entry, prospecting, and deal organization. While these tools are geared towards assisting the sales department, marketing teams can significantly benefit from the cross-sharing of information.
For example, a customer relationship management or CRM system is a diverse platform that tracks and monitors the interactions of prospects and customers. At its core, a CRM is designed to improve the experience of the customer journey and boost sales. However, the information is extremely valuable in helping marketing teams as well.
It helps them collect important information such as who their customers are, goals, current struggles, defining qualities, and other insights such as tendencies and prospect behaviors. This information can be leveraged to improve marketing campaigns.
Whether it’s writing more attention-grabbing sales copy or its content assets that better hit the core of what they desire most. For example, suppose you can create a piece of content that speaks to their frustrations with your competitors and highlights the unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem. In that case, you’ll demonstrate your deep understanding of their needs and instantly earn their trust.
Ways to integrate sales and marketing teams to drive revenue
There are plenty of ways to integrate sales and marketing to drive revenue. Doing so will help your business increase its bottom line and make everyone’s job easier. So why not do it?
Have a consistent process to transfer qualified leads from the marketing to the sales team
The prospect will transfer from the marketing to the sales team at some point. Marketing focuses on filling up the funnel, while sales specialize in converting and upselling those prospects.
The difficulty is knowing when to transfer and how to make it easier for the sales team to close more leads.
Consider this chart that demonstrates the differences in how the sales funnel used to work and how it works now.
Marketing used to be billboards, TV ads, yellow pages, newspapers, and direct mail ads. When someone was interested in buying, they would have to make a phone call or visit the business physically to make a purchase.
That said, a sales team is still extremely valuable. The sales rep is responsible for one-on-one interaction. Here are cases when you should transfer leads from the marketing to the sales team:
Someone wants to speak with a physical person before making a purchase.
Often this is ideal for high-ticket purchases, enterprise sales, or selling complex products. You don’t want to purchase an expensive software package without speaking to someone to ask them personal questions about how it could affect your company and the employees who work for you.
Or imagine trying to buy a car or house before speaking with a salesperson. As a consumer, you want to ask them personalized questions based on your needs.
Someone wants more information that a marketing team may not be able to provide.
Since sales focus on one-to-one interaction, a sales rep can customize their message based on what the prospect is looking for.
Someone has a unique situation that your marketing material won’t help with
Marketing content sent to the masses won’t work because the marketing team can’t read people’s minds. But a sales rep will speak with them and better understand what they need.
Perhaps, they want to see industry-specific case studies, or they want an entire walk-through demo of how they can leverage your platform to solve problems in their business.
According to a presentation by Tomasz Tunguz on SaaStr Annual 2019. 75% of SaaS companies have salespeople contact Freemium leads.
There is a reason. Assisted trial conversion rate for SaaS companies is 3x that of self-serve conversion rate:
Set processes to qualify your marketing leads and pass along these leads to the sales team.
Use live chatbots
The marketing and customer support team can work in tandem to help sales teams receive better quality leads.
Prospects often land on a website but are still left with many unanswered questions. A live chatbot can help to engage customers by leveraging conversational marketing.
Essentially, it gives the prospect and customer the ability to “raise their hand.”
Prospects can have their product questions answered. Customers can have their issues and complaints resolved immediately.
A salesperson can reach out to prospects to give them the information they’re looking for. Salespeople can even reach out to frustrated customers that need extra features and upsell them on complimentary products.
The beauty of AI chatbots is that they’re incredibly versatile and can be used in all stages of the funnel.
In the diagram below, the chatbot is used to help increase engagement, emotional buy-in, and conversion for prospects who are looking to buy festival tickets. The chatbot can be used throughout the cycle and encourage upsells occasionally. It also acts as a way for customers to get quick answers to commonly asked questions, receive special discounts and alerts.
Ultimately, chatbots help to speed up the sales cycle. They increase engagement from the prospect and qualify leads that could be automatically handed off to the sales team.
Notice how Salesforce uses its chatbot to generate leads. It provides three options:
- Chat live with a sales expert – this gets the prospect directly speaking to the sales rep one-on-one.
- Get help with a product I use – this can be turned into an upsell opportunity.
- Get help with my free trial – a salesperson can help them resolve their issue and recommend a better plan based on their needs.
This is a simple-yet-effective strategy that the marketing team can implement to integrate a sales-focused approach, which helps the reps close more deals.
Bring in sales and marketing teams together to create a buyer persona
While it may seem that the two teams have different measurements for success, they should share the same goal of being customer-centric.
Your marketers will have a strong pulse of the consumer based on extensive research and competitive analysis. However, marketers don’t have direct experience speaking with prospects. They might not fully understand your prospect’s biggest challenges and fears.
These insights are usually obtained from the sales team. The best marketing language isn’t just any clever quip you can come up with. It often comes straight from the prospect’s mouth.
Salespeople can relay their experience with the marketing team, so they can write better sales copy and create content that actually resonates with your audience.
Rather than only creating top-of-funnel content, salespeople can encourage marketers to build lead nurturing content that speaks to their problems and helps them solve them.
Creating a buyer’s persona can help both sides gain clarity on who they are targeting and how to sell to them.
Each team can create a buyer persona then come together to see the differences and similarities in what they believe to be their ideal audience.
Both teams can use the buyer persona to perform their job better. For example, the sales team may provide information about their customers, such as shared interests and competitors they’ve tried in the past.
Marketers can take these new insights and select better targeting for their Google and Facebook Ads. Conversely, marketers can use search data to see what customers are searching for online, which can help sales reps better understand the journey that they’ve gone through before speaking with them.
Track every interaction with leads and customers by integrating your CRM and Marketing Automation
Consider how a prospect feels when they speak with a salesperson for the first time, and the salesperson already knows which email newsletters the prospect is subscribed to, where they work, and what their goals for this quarter are.
Salespeople who come into a phone call clueless about who they’re speaking to will have a hard time helping and selling to the lead.
It’s imperative to find a way to track each interaction and engage your prospect with your company.
With a CRM and marketing integration, you can track the prospect in every part of the customer journey.
Encharge supports integrations with all types of tools so that marketers can access data from any department or funnel stage in one place. Specifically, Encharge integrates with the most popular CRM tools like Salesforce and HubSpot.
Here are a few ways how the CRM and Marketing Automation integration can immediately improve your business:
Better prospecting and lead targeting
Your CRM enables you to store the information you collect on your prospects directly within their respective profiles. With the integration of marketing automation, marketers can track each prospect’s engagement, such as when they’ve opened, clicked, and engaged with emails and which pieces of content they’ve seen.
Furthermore, the marketing automation tool can better analyze this data to assess each lead’s value. Thus, marketers and salespeople can focus on high-quality, high-intent prospects and avoid wasting time on unqualified leads. As a result, salespeople will spend more time closing sales-qualified leads and less time trying to convince uninterested leads.
Stronger cross-team Alignment
Integrating the CRM and marketing automation software improves alignment with both sales and marketing teams. Since all customer engagements will automatically be recorded and transferred into the CRM, all team members will know precisely where the customer stands and what is needed to keep them moving along in the buyer’s journey.
For example, if a salesperson will see past engagement activities such as:
- The ad they’ve clicked on,
- the webinar they’ve signed up for or
- When they opted for a free trial
The information can be used to close more deals.
Solve the prospect’s problem
Often, sales reps and marketers use different analytics and languages to measure their success. A salesperson is solely focused on their sales numbers for the month to cash in on incentives, while marketers may look at blog traffic numbers, social media engagement, and email subscribers.
However, only one important goal matters above all else — to solve the prospect’s problems.
When marketers are crafting emails, ads, or content, they need to imagine as if they’re speaking to one person rather than the masses. A salesperson should think about solving their prospect’s problems and not simply closing the sale.
For example, it’s useful to have the customer profile at the forefront of their mind. Having an in-depth understanding of your prospect’s fears, pain, objections, failures, and desires will help you establish trust and ultimately convert more sales.
Both teams must recognize their unified desire to solve for the customer, even above their own processes.
Create content to help your sales team
The sales team will often approach their job without even knowing the content, lead magnets, ads, and other material that the marketing puts out.
Sometimes your best marketers are your sales team.
The marketing team can help the sales team by strategically placing helpful content throughout the funnel and keeping them updated with the content they can use during their prospecting or sales pitch.
The sales team likely doesn’t know what content to send to their prospects. A well-integrated organization with marketing and sales alignment knows how they use the content created.
By producing content assets like benchmarked reports, white papers, and product sheets, the sales team can use them effectively to move prospects down the sales funnel and better convert prospects into leads.
Use lead scoring to distinguish the lead quality
Sales teams are notorious for complaining about lead quality. Rather than blaming each other, both parties must first understand and agree on the types of leads.
Here is a summary of all the lead types to familiarize yourself with:
- Hot lead: The prospect has the budget to purchase and has a strong need to buy it, and is the right person to speak with. These leads don’t need information. They simply need a sales rep to can help them complete their purchase.
- Warm lead: These leads have reached out to you and expressed interest in your product.
- Cold lead: These leads haven’t shown any interest in your product.
- Dead lead: These leads may have opted into an email or form but have no intentions of buying from you.
- Free-trial user: The prospect has expressed interest in your product by signing up for a free trial
- Information qualified lead (IQL): The prospect has completed a form to receive more information regarding a particular topic but hasn’t yet shown interest in your product.
- Marketing qualified lead – They have shown interest in your marketing and product but may not be ready to buy now. Perhaps, they’ve gone through your marketing material but haven’t moved forward with booking a sales call.
- Sales-ready lead: A sales-ready lead has shown interest in your product but is waiting for an opportunity to buy.
- Sales qualified lead: These prospects have expressed interest in your product and are ready to buy now. Likely, they’ve booked an appointment with your sales rep and will only need a little nudge to push them over the edge.
Sales and marketing teams should identify what constitutes each type of lead, for example, which online behaviors can dictate whether the lead is sales-qualified.
Once it’s properly defined and agreed upon, the marketer’s job will be not just to fill up the funnel but to transfer as many sales-qualified leads to the sales team as possible.
Lead scoring is a strategy to score leads based on how qualified they are.
Think of it like a scoring system, where any attribute or activity can either increase or decrease a prospect’s score.
For instance, having the right job title, company size, and a history of engagement with your brand are ways that you can increase your prospect’s score.
For example, a sales qualified lead for a B2B business may have to fit into the following criteria:
- Budget: The prospect has the budget or financial resources to purchase your product
- Authority: The contact person you are speaking to is the decision-maker who can approve the purchase.
- Need: The prospect has a strong need or interest in your product.
- Segmentation: The prospect meets the right qualification, such as company size or industry that your product serves.
- Time frame: They are ready to purchase your product immediately
- Understanding of your product or service: They have a good understanding of what your product offers and the benefits they receive
Not every prospect will have all of these qualifications, so it’s important to consult with the sales managers to come up with a good idea of what is sales qualified and what isn’t.
With a marketing automation tool like Encharge, you can automatically add or subtract points based on the prospect’s demographics, firmographics, activity, and more.
Once a prospect books a call with a sales department, reaches out to you, or perhaps meets a certain “threshold” of points, you can consider them marketing qualified (MQL) and pass them along to your sales team to close.
Leverage customer feedback to improve sales and marketing
Customer feedback is used to understand better what your customers think of your business and product.
When collecting customer feedback, you’ll need to:
- Collect the feedback: use methods like customer feedback emails, surveys, during sales calls, social listening, etc.
- Categorize and analyze: examined responses to discover commonalities and customer expectations
- Implementation: act on the new insight to improve marketing and sales
Feedback leads to improved product development and user experience. As a result, sales and marketing personnel can use these new updates or features as a selling point to capture the attention of their prospects.
Additionally, marketers can uncover phrases or terms that the marketers use to describe their problems and what they sell.
Remember, persuasive copy and marketing are not about how you wish to describe the problem or solution. It’s way more effective when you use the customer’s own words.
Perhaps, marketers can find valuable insights from the feedback collected, such as previous competitors or solutions they’ve tried, their expectations, and even potentially new search terms they’ve used to find you.
Both teams should continuously collect feedback every month or quarter and relay these new findings.
- Marketing and Sales Automation — How they work together
- 6 Ways to Align Your Sales & Marketing Teams
- Understanding the Difference Between Sales and Marketing
- How to Develop a Complete Sales and Marketing Strategy
- 15 Ways Marketing and Sales Work Together to Drive Growth
- 12 Sales and Marketing Strategy Examples from Real Companies
Integrate your sales and marketing with Encharge
Let’s not be strangers. Learn to embrace each other’s differences. After all, both departments are on the same team.
By integrating your marketing automation and sales automation tools, you can work together to understand better and help your customers. Setting a common goal and having clear interdepartmental communication are key to aligning both teams.
These operational changes can profoundly affect your business — more than any single marketing or sales tactic would.
If you’re ready to align your marketing and sales teams, sign up for a free 14-day trial with Encharge! Start building your marketing automation system and instantly integrate it with your sales tools.