There is often a misalignment of sales and marketing in many organisations. This can result in tension between the teams which can impact the ROI of your lead generation activities.
Combining marketing automation and CRM can aid with bridging the gap between your sales and marketing departments but there are a number of other considerations you need to make to ensure they are on the same page.
1. Defining & Identifying
Sales and marketing can be working towards the same goals e.g. lead conversion, but often have different ideas of the definitions of those goals. If you were to ask a sales rep for their definition of a qualified lead it may be very different from what a marketing rep may suggest. These definition differences can lead to tension, especially when there is pressure for marketing to deliver more leads and sales to convert at a higher rate.
Agreeing common definitions will enable sales and marketing to be on the same page. You can start by focusing on defining elements that relate to your sales funnel e.g. what does a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) mean? What qualifies a lead as an MQL or SQL? It is important to identify the sales criteria of a perfect lead. This makes it easier to identify which leads should be developed and in turn increase the amount of leads moving through your sales funnel.
If your sales and marketing teams are misaligned they may be working on different metrics e.g. a focus on quantity rather than quality. Sales may have a bad quarter as they have not met their conversion target but marketing may have had a good quarter as they have produced a high number of leads. But if these leads were not the right quality then they were no use to sales. Since both sales and marketing benefit from closed deals it is important that they work to a common goal.
Mutually, both teams need to agree the metrics that they will be measured against. A win for sales should be a win for marketing. For example, it may be better to target your marketing team on the leads they have generated that have actually converted into the pipeline. This will ensure your marketing team have more incentive to pass over quality leads rather than quantity.
Communication between your teams may be the first step to aligning your sales and marketing departments but technology can also play a big part in easing this tension. Technology is driving sales and marketing departments together. If you have a good communication strategy between the two departments you can integrate marketing automation and CRM to boost your revenue machine. Creating a standard for lead qualification, lead nurturing and accurate reporting is a vital step in sales and marketing alignment.
3. Lead Qualification
The administrative burden of updating a CRM can often overshadow its value. Updating notes and qualifying leads can be a time consuming task for both sales and marketing reps. Marketing automation systems can streamline these processes by taking over a lot of these administrative manual tasks automatically. Integrating marketing automation and CRM can take over filling out details of company information, recent activity and lead interests etc. Not only does this automation save time allowing sales to focus on closing deals, but it also allows sales to get a holistic view of a prospect so they can tailor their approach when following up.
Marketing automation collects all of the interactions with a lead and automatically qualifies your leads against the lead definitions that were agreed mutually between your sales and marketing teams. Lead scoring and grading eliminates any disagreements in lead quality. It also allows your teams to focus on the higher quality leads and nurture leads that are less qualified to help them move through the sales funnel.
4. Lead Nurturing
You can easily miss out by not nurturing the leads that are not ‘sales ready’ yet. They are often passed over to sales in the same way that ‘sales ready’ leads are. This frustrates sales reps and inevitably these leads are often neglected in favour of the higher quality leads. However, with marketing automation you can create a lead nurturing program that will help with moving these leads through the buying cycle until they are ‘sales ready’. This frees up sales to focus on the hotter leads that will result in a higher conversion rate. Non-‘sales ready’ leads can be added to drip campaigns where they will automatically be sent relevant information that is useful to them at their particular stage of the buying cycle.
Integrating marketing automation and CRM aligns your sales and marketing teams. They can work together from the same definitions, towards common goals and common metrics. The two tools sync in both directions. The closed loop reporting you get from integration allows you to get a holistic view of the whole sales cycle, it also increases accountability for both sales and marketing.
You can track closed deals all the way back to where the lead originated from allowing you to replicate success and improve your marketing strategy. Marketing will now be able to see how their campaigns and lead generation activities have resulted in revenue.
Find out how you can align your marketing and sales teams with Marketing Automation & CRM. Download our eBook now.