While marketing and sales teams share a common goal – drive revenue for the company by acquiring and fostering relationships with more customers – their best efforts can sometimes be foiled by an inability to communicate and keep the customer lifecycle rolling.
Writing for BtoB magazine, Rich Vancil, group vice president for IDC’s Executive Advisory Strategies, notes that one of the prime goals for marketers needs to be sales enablement. He comments that at the moment, many organizations have a fractured sales process, with salespeople often feeling overwhelmed by the number of marketing assets they have access to, and end up using less than 25%. A top priority should be providing marketing materials that enable salespeople to deliver relevant demonstrations, and to appear prepared and well-versed on the product they are selling.
Getting Marketing and Sales Teams on the Same Team
Essentially, when designing campaigns and distributing corporate communications to manufacturers, distributors and other prospects, those in the marketing department need to be thinking about finding qualified leads that the sales team will be able to follow up with successfully.
Vancil offers IDC’s definition of strong sales enablement, which requires “Getting the right information into the hands of the right sellers at the right time and place, and in the right format, to move a sales opportunity forward.” Less marketing information can be more valuable. He also suggests assessing the current organizational dynamic – have your marketing content management begin with product or service lines, working in offers and messaging as the flow proceeds. This way, sellers won’t be overwhelmed by the volume of assets, and may have an easier time finding the materials that help them close the sale.
The Marketing and Sales Communication Gap
More companies are realizing the importance of bridging the communications gap between marketing and sales, and some are even creating a chief revenue officer position to ensure the two departments’ goals and actions are aligned. Writing for Portfolio magazine, Alex Shootman (a CRO himself) explains that the revenue executives need to be in tune with sales and marketing needs, and have to be able to “make data-driven marketing and sale decisions.”
“Marketing has to work much deeper into the sales cycle than ever before,” Shootman notes. “Sales can no longer operate in isolation, leaving the rest of the company back in the cave scooping up needles for the nest while it bravely shoulders the spear and goes out for the kill that will feed the tribe.”
A CRO, empowered by technology, can move the entire organization toward a “socially enabled, digital and buyer-centric ecosystem,” he concludes.