Meet Jennifer. She’s the CFO of a medium-sized Torontonian security software company.
Jennifer is looking for new accounting software to support her company’s growing needs and security requirements. She knows what features she’ll need, but isn’t aware of what else should be looking for in an accounting software. Jennifer runs a quick Google search and reads a couple of interesting articles from Tess, a marketer from AccountingSoft. Ryan, a sales rep from AccountingSoft who works off a spreadsheet , contacts her a few days later to offer a demo, but she doesn’t recognize who Ryan works for and hangs up. Jennifer’s search loses momentum and her company decides to maintain their old accounting software, struggling with the same old limitations.
What you’ve just witnessed is AccountingSoft sales and marketing acting like they work for totally different companies. There’s no alignment or coordination between their two departments, and they don’t have any tools in place to empower that cooperation.
Leads like Jennifer fall through the cracks all the time, and neither team have the slightest idea it’s happening. As a result, AccountingSoft is not doing very well in terms of revenue.
Why are sales and marketing so disconnected?
Sales and marketing both have a dim view of each other’s roles and work. When the sales dry up, both teams point their fingers at each other. According to InsideView, a data provider, the top 3 reasons sales and marketing alignment is off are communication, broken processes and disconnected metrics. Their survey found 55% of sales reps say that marketing doesn’t provide good leads, while 34% of marketers think sales should do a better job following up the leads they do send.
Does this back and forth sound familiar?
How can sales and marketing be better aligned?
Sales and marketing need to use the same goalpost: improving the company bottom line, that is the revenue. Looking at the larger view changes the nature of each team’s contribution in such a way that both are doing the same work they always did, but in a manner that complements the other’s efforts in a streamlined process.
After working with numerous companies, mostly in the USA, these are a few practices which we’ve seen working very well for alignment to drive revenue. In a properly aligned process, marketing has the opportunity to be involved more into the sales process:
- Better qualify leads for sales based on data-points and digital behaviour
- Create content that guides customers through the sales process, before they even speak to sales
- Work in a feedback loop with sales to discover where they could provide most value based on sales priorities
- Track marketing campaigns to sales opportunities to measure marketing’s impact on pipeline
Likewise, sales should be involved earlier in the marketing process:
- Provide constructive feedback to better adjust marketing campaigns
- Account identification and creating a joined plan to tackle them
- Leverage marketing assets like factsheets, case studies and checklists created by marketing to enable their sales process
- Understand and track what marketing campaigns generated their opportunities
- Use historical marketing activities and interactions to create rapport in their outreach
Once sales and marketing align on all fronts, you’ll see an almost instant improvement. According to SiriusDecisions, a research firm, companies that have aligned teams achieve up to 19% faster growth and 15% higher profitability.
But simply wanting to isn’t enough. In order for a business to effectively align sales and marketing operations, you need to make sure they have the right technologies and data in place. And that requires training people to use the available interconnected tools to their full potential.
How can MarTech help better align sales and marketing?
As it turns out, marketing technology (MarTech) can do quite a lot.
There are almost 7,000 marketing technology solutions available as of 2018, according to the famous yearly MarTech supergraphic and more coming every year. These technologies fulfill a range of marketing functions which could prove very beneficial for the sales process. If you’re looking for a set of tools that makes it easier for both sales and marketing, here are the top categories which can best work together and how they could help:
Paid Search and Account Based Marketing (ABM) Studios. Ads are displayed via either paid pay-per-click in search engines like Google or Bing or via ads run through ABM studios targeting specific accounts . Some of the main players in this ABM platform field are DemandBase and Terminus.
Website Content Management Systems (CMS) and Interactive Content Platforms
A robust CMS with an interactive content hub addition is worth every penny. It simplifies the process of adding new content to websites, allowing marketers to quickly update landing pages and organize content into easily navigable resource centers called hubs. WordPress is an example of a popular CMS, while the Canadian start-up ScribbeLive and ion interactive, one of its subsidiaries, do an excellent job creating these content experiences. Customers and prospects alike will be able to find resources speaking directly to their needs and review similar use cases. The open availability and easy access to information inspires trust and builds credibility with prospects like Jennifer.
Marketing Automation Platform (MAP). MAPs make it easier to consolidate different marketing touch points, send emails, publish content, setup automatic responses, score leads, and reproduce marketing campaigns at scale. As customers interact with you online, the MAP can gather information, and automatically nurture customers via email or SMS communications. Two excellent platform are Marketo for enterprise companies and HubSpot for smaller medium size companies.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) insights for both marketing and sales. When both sales and marketing have access to the same CRM insights, marketing adjust their message to different buying stages. Sales can then access this information to see what the prospect is most interested in, a history of marketing activities to understand how they can provide the most value, and when they would be ready for a call. Salesforce and SAP are both great tools for this job.
All these tools form a robust arsenal for sales and marketing. This is what is commonly referred to as the “MarTech Stack”.
Yes - they can all work together seamlessly.
Jennifer, take two
Let’s see what Jennifer’s interaction with AccountingSoft would be like in a properly aligned and equipped organization. This is after AccountingSoft worked with our Macromator marketing operations team.
Jennifer Google’s different accounting software options and clicks on a paid ad from AccountingSoft. She ends up on a nicely designed content hub that Tess built, she immediately becomes curious about what she can learn and completes a form to downloa d a report that Tess wrote. AccountingSoft’s marketing automation platform notifies Ryan about Jennifer. Ryan checks out the CRM and sees that Jennifer is a great fit as she has the correct job title and is in the security industry, where their software has had tremendous success; but it’s too early to reach out.
A couple of weeks later, Ryan sends Jennifer an invite to a webinar hosted by Tess. CFOs at security companies usually have a lot of questions before even taking demos, so it makes sense to bring everyone together to a virtual event to answer all their concerns. Jennifer loves how easy is to listen to webinars, so she attends. During the call she asks and gets answers to her most pressing questions, and requests someone from AccountingSoft to show her and her team a demo.
Now’s the time! Ryan reaches out to Jennifer, carefully reading all the historical information in CRM and getting a better sense of what’s important to her and her team. Jennifer’s team gets the chance to see how the software works and understands how it can help her organization. They have a fruitful conversation and, impressed by the overall sales experience, Jennifer agrees to sign on with AccountingSoft.
This time around, AccountingSoft has a much more streamlined marketing and sales operation. The impact is clearly shown by the results the company enjoys. Thanks to marketing automation, AccountingSoft connected all the data pieces across Jennifer’s lengthy buyer’s journey, and made sure both the sales and marketing team were in a position to capitalize on all interactions.
Of course, not every buyer’s journey will look like Jennifer’s. But the beauty of MarTech is that it can be tailored to fit nearly any situation, buying process, or market.
When you combine a motivated and coordinated sales and marketing team with the power of cutting-edge MarTech solutions, you have a revenue generating machine that will scale as you grow.
Dan Radu leads the Macromator Marketing Operations (MOps) Agency helping companies become more effective with their Marketing Technologies (MarTech) in order to run smooth sales & marketing operations. He is certified in various marketing automation solutions and CRM systems as well.
After working with over a hundred clients in the USA, he is now sharing the best practices and knowledge with the local Canadian companies as a member of the CMA. Dan also runs the MarTech Toronto Community focused on education within the field.