Aligning sales and marketing has the potential to be one of the largest revenue generating opportunities businesses can pursue. With 2017 off to a running start, businesses that haven’t taken into consideration how aligning sales and marketing could improve your ROI, still have the opportunity to address this. When marketing and sales teams unite around a single revenue generating cycle, measuring ROI, assessing marketing and sales performance and identifying needed shifts in strategy become easier to accomplish. On average, providers who align their sales and marketing efforts see up to a 20% increase in their overall revenue generated.
Here are the Three Areas to assess when considering how aligned your sales and marketing operations are:
With a higher percentage of searches for products and services now beginning online, identifying needs for hiring practices, as well as training will be critical in sales and marketing alignment. Inbound sales reps posess different skillsets than traditional sales reps. Inbound sales reps must be tech savvy, intuitive, and have the ability to make shifts in sales strategy as the consumers’ needs and questions change. Inbound sales reps are capable of handling a much higher volume of leads than a traditional sales rep is used to. Along those same lines, your marketing methodology must aling with your sales process. If your marketing isn't positioned to be helpful, resourceful and relevant based on what customers seek, then your sales operation will be climbing a very steep hill to position your organization as the trusted advisors.
Having the right sales and marketing tools, specifically technology and software, can dramatically increase effectiveness, efficiency and execution. Creating a closed-loop sales and marketing system allows for transparent data through reporting, as well as transparency in the buyer’s journey from website to contract signing. There are three primary challenges with sales and marketing software that an organization typically faces:
1. The company doesn't have customer relationship management (CRM) software and/or a marketing automation platform (MAP)
2. The CRM and/or MAP lack the functionality to align sales and marketing data, reporting and sharing of information
3. The CRM and MAP aren't integrated so relevant lead and prospect information can be shared between the sales and marketing operation
Having agreed upon metrics and benchmarks is key to aligning sales and marketing. Identifying mutually agreed upon definitions for leads, prospects and other relevant terms is the first step to metrics measurement. You'd be amazed how differently definitions can be from sales to marketing. For example, how a lead is defined for marketing may be very differently than how sales defines a lead. With clear definitions, the two respective operations can set mutually agreed upon goals like the number of leads expected to be generated by inbound marketing activities versus the number of leads expected to be generated by outbound sales activities.
Take a moment today to review your plan for 2017. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are your sales and marketing departments aligned?
- Have your hiring practices taken into consideration inbound lead management?
- Is sales and marketing data transparent to all stakeholders?
- Are there mutually agreed upon goals and metrics to assess sales and marketing performance as a whole?