By Suresh Balasubramanian, LiveHive
Without synchronization between sales and marketing, the business suffers. According to Aberdeen Group, the lack of integration of sales intelligence with sales and marketing systems causes the biggest gap between top sales performers and under-achievers. However, fewer than one out of 10 B2B companies report good alignment between their sales and marketing organizations, SiriusDecisions research shows.
Weak processes between sales and marketing have made it challenging for sales and marketing to work together successfully. While delivering immense value, existing CRM and marketing automation systems don’t deliver a complete buyer picture for the organization. Furthermore, this data has not been easily shared across departments.
Today, however, sales tools are emerging that fill the gap between CRM and marketing automation systems and give businesses a more accurate and consistent view of their buyers.
But just as coordination is vital in a three-legged race, so, too, is it critical between these three systems. Only when the three components — CRM, marketing automation, and sales productivity systems — are seamlessly integrated can you achieve the following requirements for marketing and sales alignment:
1.) Synchronized Customer Communications
Having a unified message is key for success. Integrating marketing automation with new, real-time sales engagement analytics can vastly coordinate communications to the buyer. Integrated sales and marketing systems help synchronize teams, make them more efficient and ensure that marketing programs are aligned with sales conversations. To achieve this, marketing departments need:
- Insight into what sales is saying to buyers; and
- Insight into how buyers respond to content.
By gaining this insight, marketing can adjust their messaging to better align with customer needs and pain points throughout the entire buying process.
2.) Improved Lead Scoring
With so many systems providing different information about the buyer, many organizations waste time hunting for critical customer data. This takes away time that could be spent focusing on lead generation or core-selling activities. Organizations must be sure that:
- Customer data can be easily accessed by both marketing and front–line sales reps right when they need it;
- Systems provide the most comprehensive buyer profile possible; and
- Marketing automation scoring is integrated with any sales tools scoring to deliver a unified number to qualify the buyer.
All of these things help marketing better understand what is needed for lead nurture and allows sales reps to quickly follow up with relevant information.
In a selling environment with more informed consumers, differentiation has become essential. Nearly half of best-in-class companies prioritize the importance of personalization of customer conversations, Aberdeen noted.
Engagement tools that show prospect engagement with content can help sales teams deliver more tailored and timely follow-up. As organizations evaluate solutions, they must consider whether they:
- Help personalize the customer experience;
- Show customer interactions in real-time; and
- Provide a depth of knowledge sufficient to help sales and marketing spot top leads and tailor customer outreach.
Sales technologies deliver key insights to bridge the gap between sales and marketing teams. By helping to establish a stronger connection between sales and marketing, these technologies can streamline processes and increase productivity. But, just like a three-legged race, it requires timely and synchronized support from all three parts — CRM, marketing automation and sales productivity platforms — to be most successful.
Suresh Balasubramanian is CEO for LiveHive, Inc., whose sales acceleration platform automates sales follow-up to increase buyer engagement insights that power repeatable sales processes. Suresh is a seasoned software industry executive with more than 20 years of operations and senior management experience. Before LiveHive, Suresh served as CEO for Armor5, and GM worldwide at Adobe Software.