Making sure sales and marketing teams are properly aligned should be a priority for any business leader looking to generate growth.
But behind this simple truth lies a complex reality. At most organizations, there is at least some misalignment between the two functions. And that’s hardly surprising when you consider the myriad activities associated with sales and marketing – with many people dealing with multiple intertwining issues relating to numerous clients, all with their own specific requirements.
Chief executives want to know their sales and marketing teams are delivering in line with expectations. And if that’s not happening, CEOs must recognise the problem quickly and then understand exactly what’s going on, so they can confidently address any issues.
The first step to achieving this optimal alignment between your sales and marketing functions is to recognise the importance of doing so – and prioritize it for your business.
This starts with developing the right strategy for your business and making seamless sales and marketing a key element of that strategy. Then you must surround yourself with the right people. If your executive team understands the importance of close collaboration between the teams, you’re much more likely to achieve it.
Then – and only then – it’s time to look to how CRM can help to achieve this crucial harmony in your business. CRM shouldn’t be applied in isolation to an organization where sales and marketing are not aligned at a strategic and operational level. The teams must share a common language, agreed mutual KPIs, and a commitment to alignment.
Without those elements in place, CRM tends to be ineffective. But once you’ve done the work to align the teams, CRM becomes the final element that enables your company to get maximum return from its salespeople and marketers, to become more customer-centric, and ultimately to be a higher performing and more successful organization.
CRM does this by giving everyone across your business a definitive source of information about each customer, from initial marketing activity, through sales and customer service, to finance and order processing and other back-office functions. It connects processes, helping them to flow; it puts the right information in the hands of the right people at the right time, helping to make every engagement with the customer optimal.
For your sales and marketing teams, CRM collects information from across the business and offers it in easy-to-understand, real-time dashboards and reports. That means everyone can see the sales pipeline, allocate tasks between departments, and make any changes needed to their campaigns.
This clarity of vision means you can track leads and understand what’s going well and what needs your focus. It helps sales and marketing pass leads between each other at the right time – neither too early, where the sales approach can alienate prospects, nor too late, when the moment might have passed.
CRM also enables salespeople to share learnings from the time they spend with customers. This gives more focus to marketing activities and helps to deliver ever more relevant content through the right channels. The marketing process is honed, which in turn makes the sales process more effective, in an ongoing virtuous circle.
For more information about how you can use CRM to help your sales and marketing teams work better together, download our report: Aligning Sales and Marketing for Business Success.