The division between sales and marketing is a problem companies have faced for decades.
Regardless of all the new tools, technology, and processes we have today, for most companies beyond a certain size, sales and marketing teams start to drift apart.
At its essence, the problem breaks down into two main factors:
- Sales teams want better leads to close.
- Marketing teams feel that sales teams should be doing better with the leads they provide.
Better alignment between these two divisions has obviously been proven to increase growth.
For example, both parties agreeing on who their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is or sales teams feeding back their most common objections to marketing teams will definitely have a positive effect on growth.
But with the wealth of data we have on hand today, surely we can be doing a dramatically better job to bring sales and marketing closer together. Surely companies can grow faster if they can bridge the gap here.
Every team benefits from understanding the full customer journey
Above is an ancient map we discovered from 1802 outlining the complex route 19th century prospects travelled on from marketing to sales.
Today, though, for the majority of industries, the purchase journey is moving online.
From their first interaction with a prospect, a sales person is now receiving a much more educated customer. Importantly though, the inverse is also true though. As businesses we now also have more data about our prospects than ever before.
Marketers already know a lot about their potential customers. They’ve done a lot of good work to identify them and bring them to the marketing site. If they’re using content to do this, their analytics will tell them which pieces are resonating most with their audience.
Web analytics can tell us so much more than that though.
Content pieces can tell us where our prospect is in their buying process. Is a prospect in the discovery phase or consideration?
What else do we know about our online visitors? The products and solutions they’ve viewed? Have they viewed your pricing page or FAQs? Have they watched the webinar?
For more on this subject, we’ve written an extensive post on using website browsing data to prioritise sales leads.
First impressions are critical
Think of a sales person’s first introduction to a prospect. Have they received an email through a lead form? Or has a demo been booked into their calendar?
Are your sales people simply jumping on demos blind? If that’s the case, there’s likely a ton of value in the historic user data that’s been lost during this process.
In this scenario, even the best sales person starts the processes relatively cold. They’ll spend time asking questions, to uncover the basics before they ever get to the prospect’s needs. Through the marketing team’s user-level analytics, they already have access to a wealth of additional information.
While it can be easy to rely on the stereotype that sales people are fast talkers who don’t like data, the reality is that the best sale people enter sales interactions extremely prepared. With a good understanding of a prospects needs, use cases and potential objections, sales people will always be in the best position to close a deal.
Give your sales team the information they need when it counts
So what’s the best way to get this user data into the hands of your sales team?
The process should start with communication. Identify what information sales people want about their prospects online behaviour and importantly establish what is relevant.
There shouldn’t be a need to give sales teams access to complex analytics tools or build dashboards for them. Think about where this data fits in their process. Best practice should relay the information in a concise form, like a email, informing the sales person but allowing them to get on with their sales process.
Ultimately, by using the data you have on hand, marketing teams can be in a position to improve the quality of leads they pass onto the sales team, giving them the best chance to convert more of them into happy customers.
Further resources to help you with sales and marketing alignment
- 10 sales and marketing alignment best practices
- How to prioritise sales leads with marketing and analytics data
- Why live chat could be your secret weapon to close more sales deals
If you’d like a hand with bringing together your sales and marketing teams, let’s chat.