Advances in automation for both marketing and sales have accelerated at an increasing pace in the wake of the pandemic, offering new tools and strategies to bridge the divide between the two entities. However, despite the opportunity to close the gap, adopting the latest technology within many organisations doesn't seem to have resulted in more substantial unity between marketing and sales.
Much of this tension can stem from the different perspectives, charters and timelines in which the two departments operate. Although marketing and sales are similar in many ways, they can do business differently and track (be measured on) entirely different metrics.
(Image: Marketing Charts)
Although 54% of marketing, sales and operations executives recognise that the merging of both departments will be a likely step in the evolution of revenue operations, there remain significant barriers to this plan, such as communication challenges and various processes' lacking alignment for success.
Those companies who align marketing and sales account for more than just a theoretical improvement in their business. Like anything, there is always a cost, or risk, in choosing not to do something. Misalignment can lead to lost sales for business owners and wasted marketing outlay, costing companies a combined total of over $1 trillion every year. This lack of alignment can lead to wastage of up to 60-70% of B2B content, and a subsequent failure to convert as much as 79% of marketing leads into sales.
Furthermore, companies that ensure sales and marketing teams align are 67% better at closing deals on average and achieve 36% higher customer retention levels, alongside 38% more win rates.
For the sales and marketing directors who successfully align their departments, the benefits can come with an average growth of 20% in annual revenue - compared to a 4% decline in those who are misaligned.
So, in an increasingly digital landscape, how can such alignment take place?
The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted many businesses towards digital transformation over the past year, providing a pivotal opportunity to rethink how departments interact with one another in an online landscape. Let's explore how marketing functions and sales functions can more naturally align to the best effect.
When it comes to the challenge of ensuring that all members of your marketing and sales departments are on the same page, the best place to start is by streamlining the entire customer journey.
There should no longer be separate silos impacting the experiences of your customers. Instead, it would be best if you looked to create one universal brand experience.
Starting from the awareness stage at the top of the customer journey funnel, right through to the brand loyalty stage. Each step of the funnel should form a consistent and single customer experience. This level of connectivity will enable you and your team to efficiently track your prospects across the entirety of the funnel accordingly.
Here, the biggest challenge businesses face is creating a holistic view of the customer throughout their journey. This is where technology can make its mark on the marketing and sales landscape. The most impactful technology used by companies with high sales and marketing alignment is customer relationship management (CRM), email marketing, analytics and marketing automation, respectively.
CRM software offers businesses a 360-degree view of a customer; this comprehensive, shared view can enable teams to act fast and deliver more value to prospects at each stage of their journey.
Putting the suitable systems and technologies in place will help marketing and sales leaders bridge the gap between the marketing data gathered about a prospect and their transformation into leads and sales prospects.
Building branded content together as cohesive teams can help with lead generation and sales development. The creation of content for both pre-funnel social selling and sales collateral can represent a significant push that prospects need in order to make a purchasing decision.
For instance, case studies can be developed by both sales and marketing directors to combine insights relating to the customers' challenges. By refining this insight and content together, a consistent message and tone can be achieved to help ensure leads remain engaged throughout the funnel process.
We understand businesses are a collection of many moving parts, all of which need to work together to create successful lead generation and business-wide success. An aligned sales and marketing strategy is vital in aiding best-in-class organisations to overcome their market challenges and rise to the new age of digital marketing and sales.
The COVID-19 pandemic has flung entire markets into an unprecedented era. This widespread fundamental shift in how business is conducted and how everyone within companies works together means that a considerable degree of adaptation is required. Many of us are learning as we go and adapting when it becomes necessary. While we are busy discovering the new norms of how we work, customers are going through something entirely similar. The companies that are more proactive in adapting to digital transformation are the most likely to succeed.
When it comes to marketing and sales alignment, collaboration is vital for success. Organisations capable of efficiently moving all operations online will see an increase in communications channels when the usual in-person, informal channels are unavailable. This helps us to see how the digital transformation of marketing and sales alignment can allow for a more tightly run ship where less information is lost in transit. Furthermore, in this landscape, accountability is more difficult to avoid, and unified systems and tools ensure everyone operates on the same page.
Although digital transformation isn't new to the world of marketing technology, the pandemic has forced us to speed our processes up and adapt to the new environment around us. Rather than fearing change or struggling to adapt, businesses need to look at how taking the bold step towards marketing and sales alignment can help progress its processes to the next level and better embrace the digital future.
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