Marketing and Sales: Can Technology Fix the Rift and Rivalry?

It comes as no surprise, that there are rifts between marketing and sales departments when it comes to business. In fact, this study found that over half of marketers aren’t happy with the level of communication between teams, and over half of sales teams aren’t happy with the support from marketing. So, what can you do about it? It’s not something you can just leave and hope it improves on its own: your business could seriously suffer if your marketing and sales teams don’t get on. There are plenty of office-based activities that you could try, but how about using technology? There’s an app for nearly everything, so here are a few hints about how it can help heal the rift.

Communicate and collaborate better

Nearly all of the issues that marketers and sales people have with each other stem down to a lack of communication and collaboration. Neither team speaks to the other, so how is any work meant to get done? How are they supposed to know what the other is doing, if communication is reduced to a weekly or monthly report? Look at how you can increase communication: it might be something as simple as a Slack channel, or it might be more structured and take the form of a morning meeting every day.

Likewise, both teams need to collaborate better. Marketing might have all the content that sales need to close leads – but sales have all the valuable insight into customer issues. If the teams can collaborate on creating content, they’ll be able to produce even more helpful assets for customers. You can try using collaborative project management apps to spur this process along.

Have an agreed SLA

Both marketing and sales need to know where they stand and what the other expects from them. So, a service level agreement is a good place to start. This needs to be clearly defined, reviewed, monitored and measured: if one of these aspects is missed out, it just won’t work in the right way. So, get your teams together and start to outline everything from buyer personas and lead definitions, to end goals and hand-offs. When everything is outlined, both teams will find it easier to work together.

If the SLA isn’t monitored and measured, you won’t know whether it’s working. If it’s only monitored, people still might not work as hard as they could. Use data and analytics to set certain metrics to measure, including revenue goals; the average number of leads from marketing; lead-to-customer conversion rate; the average value of a customer; and how long, on average, customers stay with the company.

Create a consistent buyer journey

Next, you need to define the buyer journey. Customers now expect a seamless experience, from the second they start looking for a purchase, to the minute it’s completed. Many companies struggle with a large bump in the road as the customer is transferred from marketing’s domain to sales. This bump could put many buyers off: they don’t want to hear a repeat of all the material they’ve already been given. Nor do they want to get in touch with sales, only to find out that the marketing collateral got the product information wrong, or hyped it up too much.

Instead, sales and marketing need to work through the entire funnel together, checking

content with each other, and knowing that emails will make sense as the hand-off is completed. This is where email and marketing automation could play an important part. Automated emails could remove the bump that comes from a transfer in the department, and ensure a seamless transition.

Use technology to create a single source of truth

Sometimes, rifts are caused not by egos and self-importance, but by current business processes and technology. IT must help marketing and sales work together – anything less, and it’s only hindering the system. If both departments use different databases, or different applications that access the same database, mistakes are going to occur. You need a single source of truth between all departments – and that’s where integration platforms come in.

There are several on the market, but you could try Celigo – the smart cloud integration platform as a service – these platforms enable you to tie together separate applications, ensuring that you’re always using the most up-to-date data, wherever you are. Plus, you can make the transition from lead to customer as smooth as possible – and much faster than when you’re tied to using two applications.

Try swapping sides

Although not related to IT or technology, one often tried and tested method is to make both teams swap jobs for the day. You won’t be able to do any chargeable client work, but it’ll give all individuals a better idea of the challenges each team is up against – and also how they can work together to iron them out.

Improve lead generation and measurements

Both teams need to share information when it comes to lead generation. Using measurements and data, information can cross the teams to improve output from both. Sales might find that certain messaging and marketing tactics isn’t producing the best leads, while marketing will have no idea, as they’re not getting this measurement. So, using the same measurement apps and real-time data will help both teams fully understand what’s going on.

Ensure the environment is right

If your agency or business culture isn’t right, the rift will never go away. You need to create an environment where both teams feel they need to work together in order to succeed. This might be small things, like organizing joint team days out, or it might be a complete refresh of all business systems and processes, to ensure that sales and marketing are working as closely as possible.

Likewise, you need to ensure that the company culture is coming across correctly in all communications: you can’t have marketing adopt one tone of voice across all social media, blogging, websites and emails, and then have sales adopt something entirely different when they pick up the phone. Both teams need to fully understand company values, and work together to establish the right tone and how to use it.