Marrying Sales and Marketing by Eliminating the Gap
April 9, 2013
The sales and marketing funnel, as it exists, is currently broken. There is a tremendous gap between the two departments and it’s one that is growing increasingly detrimental to businesses as the marketing and sales process continues to evolve.
There are a number of reasons for this disconnect. First and foremost, consumers are growing resistant to the broadcast messages that so many companies have relied on in the past. At the same time, salespeople frequently find they just don’t have the time needed to meaningfully reach leads.
As such, the average salesperson spends up to 20% of their day searching for and creating their own selling materials. In fact, the American Marketing Association found that as much as 90 percent of marketing collateral isn’t even used by sales representatives because it’s too generic. Salespeople want to engage prospects, but they want to do it correctly. Research also suggests that 65 percent of salespeoples’ time isn’t spent engaging customers, because it’s devoted to auxiliary tasks, such as creating their own promotional material so they can personally engage them.At the same time, marketers work hard to create and maintain a brand. They don’t want salespeople to misrepresent the brand as they try to secure sales. For instance, a salesperson in a rush to convert a hot lead may send an email that doesn’t use the correct message, colors or graphics, which makes the brand look unprofessional and confuses consumers.
Unless executed properly, brand compliance hinders the ability of salespeople to act promptly. If marketing hasn’t given them the right message for the email they want to write, they run the risk of the lead growing cold. There is a disconnect between the two in terms of goals and objectives, and the gap prevents either party from completing their job in a timely fashion
The disconnect between sales and marketing was illustrated in data collected by Forrester Research. More than half of salespeople (58 percent) said that marketing’s long-term viewpoint clashed with sales’ short-term vantage point. Additionally, when asked whether marketing was a valuable asset to sales, 64 percent respondents gave marketers a less than satisfactory rating.
The Positive Impact of Marrying Sales and Marketing Teams
There is a proven gap between sales and marketing teams. Marketers are too concerned with their own objectives, which often puts them squarely at odds with sales teams who are only concerned about their goals. Salespeople are unable to quickly convert customers because they either have to use irrelevant materials or make their own – both risky propositions. Salespeople also shoulder the blame – they are often in a rush to engage prospects and ignore the quality collateral created by marketing.
As both parties are responsible for the disconnect, they both need to work together to solve the problem. Distributed Marketing Automation and Sales Enablement tools can help align sales and marketing teams. Marketing can create brand-compliant images and materials that are stored in a central library. Salespeople can then access the assets that are appropriate for their job. This method allows salespeople to quickly create their own collateral without straying from the established brand message.
Aligned sales and marketing teams provide a number of benefits for companies. The MathMarketing Alignment Benchmark Study suggests aligned sales and marketing teams can help companies grow 5.4 percent faster than disconnected ones. Additionally, sales reps can close 38 percent more deals and lose 36 less sales to competition. The organization as a whole is better able to retain customers as a result.
The gap between sales and marketing is real. Fortunately, there is a bridge that can help brands settle that disconnect.