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Death of a Salesman: How to Achieve Sales and Marketing Alignment

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Mark Roberts ShoreTel Chief Marketing Officer

Digital technology has disrupted the buyer’s experience. Buyers now have more information than ever to inform their purchasing decisions and marketers have more digital tools to help inform buyers. By some accounts, this has helped to diminish the role of salespeople.

But as I said in my last post, salespeople aren’t obsolete. Indeed, they’re far from it. It’s the traditional sales process that’s outdated, and organizations need to rethink how their Sales and Marketing teams work together if they want to turn prospects into buyers.

How do we make this shift so that Sales and Marketing work together to complete sales? How can we increase the percentage of qualified leads to Sales, and make the buyer’s journey more fruitful at every step?

First, we need to reset expectations for how Sales and Marketing cooperate. There is a tremendous upside to having both groups work in lockstep. As I see it, there are three critical steps to alignment: agreement, collaboration and communication.

Step 1: Establish a Marketing-Sales service level agreement. Defining a common set of goals and expectations is the first step toward aligning the teams. But it should be backed up by a set of concrete metrics and mutual responsibilities. When both teams are accountable for reaching mutual goals, the relationship will be more productive.

Step 2: Enforce a collaborative campaign planning process. With inputs coming from a range of activities – including in-person discussions and cold calling – insights from Sales are critical for campaign planning. Making sure they’re incorporated requires a collaborative process, during which Sales and Marketing regularly share business intelligence, feedback and ideas.

Step 3: Integrate communications using technology. Today’s technologies can weave disparate sources of data into a single cohesive experience. By integrating CRM and marketing automation systems into their communications platforms, organizations can connect teams and enable easy sharing of data and insights. The resulting rich source of customer intelligence makes the entire sales process more efficient.

There are additional benefits, as well. Not only can salespeople capture and consolidate customer information from phone calls, email and chat, but marketers can more easily connect buyers searching online to call centers, field agents and their own internal websites.

For example, with ShoreTel Salesforce Integration, Sales and Marketing have a single-source view of all business communications and customer interactions. Voice and customer data are tightly integrated, enabling valuable two-way communication between both teams. When a sales representative reaches out as part of a cold-calling campaign, she can record call notes into the CRM, which Marketing can then view to initiate inbound marketing activities that help answer the prospect’s questions. With more relevant content, qualified buyers are more likely to move forward.

By focusing on these three strategies – agreement, collaboration and communication – organizations can enhance the quality of their leads and convert more prospects to sales.

What do you think? Have I convinced you that the death of the salesperson is far from a reality? Share your opinions on this topic. Follow me on Twitter - @MarkRobertsCMO.