Sales and marketing functions have been siloed entities and borderline rivals since…well, it’s been a long time. In organizations of all sizes, sales and marketing communities historically butt heads with one another.
Think about it: Your marketing team has just allocated a significant amount of time, resources and money on marketing campaigns and other initiatives to plan an event. Their goal, of course, is to target their audience of prospective buyers and build lead generation momentum for sales teams to execute on. And what happens? (Insert sales team) “Are you kidding me? One more thing added to my plate. I am dying here. I have this monster target I’m trying to achieve, and there is no way I can spend time dedicating time to drive attendance to any of these events.”
Sales teams have their own perception of marketing. Marketing teams definitely have their own thoughts about sales. Some sales organizations feel marketing doesn’t understand how they communicate with customers and marketing thinks sales is too stubborn and takes shortcuts to execute their strategies.
As detailed in one of ExactTarget’s April blog posts, there are five main areas where the most agile and customer-obsessed CMO’s will rise to meet these challenges.
1. Take On Topline Growth. Fifty-three percent of CMOs we surveyed felt an increased pressure to enable revenue growth—making this the biggest change to their teams’ responsibilities over the past few years, as shown in this chart.
2. Own the Customer Experience. CMOs now own the largest share of the customer journey—including customer service, although nearly a quarter of our surveyed CMOs feel underprepared to manage major customer service touch points. Real-time social media responses and helpful digital content must merge into marketers’ strategies.
3. Dig In to Data-Based Insights. Fifty-two percent of CMOs indicated a greater need for personnel with data and analytics expertise, while finding this talent is the number-one area where CMOs felt underprepared. But hiring is only step one. It’s time to turn data-having into data-doing, if marketing teams want to truly personalize and optimize.
4. Operate in Real Time. For customers, it’s a real-time world. They get the content they want, whenever they want, on whatever devices are convenient. But many marketing teams still operate under old-school campaign calendars and don’t keep pace in real-time. CMOs plan to focus more efforts organizationally, showing that it’s high time to shrink the lag between customer action and brand response.
5. Master the Metrics that Matter. Of course, CMOs know that they need to prove how their technology, personnel, and budget investments drive revenue. The CMO must do some soul-searching on how to prove the team’s value to C-suite colleagues.
Recognizing the value in data and aligning marketing goals to revenue will help to align sales and marketing. But there are other things that can be done, too. Take sales gamification, for example.
Today, many organizations like Comcast, Transamerica, Dun & Bradstreet, Forrester Research and Kelly Services invest in sales motivation technologies and approaches to drive key sales and marketing initiatives to help bridge the gap between these two groups. And we’re not necessarily talking about unlocking achievements, sending every employee a badge or providing prizes for every contest or SPIFF. These companies have identified and focused on the leading indicators and key behaviors within their business and experienced some serious ROI as a result.
A great example of this comes from one of our global technology and advisory clients, which leverages LevelEleven to drive sales and marketing activities. They focus on building competitions that motivate their sales team to drive attendance to marketing events, such as weekly webinars, regional events and digital campaigns. The results have not only increased attendance, but offered an impactful way to gain more visibility into these marketing campaigns, since the team’s activity around the events is being logged. (This is just one way of how clients leverage sales gamification; check out a few other unique ways here.)
Employees in any setting thrive off being recognized by leadership, collaborating with peers and competing to be number one within their business. So why not leverage that to eliminate the silos? It is more than clear that sales and marketing departments need to work together to achieve the goals of your business. Companies whose sales and marketing teams operate as well-oiled machine will continue to be wildly successful.