Role of Technology in Integrating Sales and Marketing

Role that technology plays in integrating sales & marketing functions

Sales and marketing have always been at loggerheads for a long time. While they are separate powerhouse functions, when they do work together they don’t get along, to the detriment of the success of the organization. Sales people blame the marketing function for bad leads, while marketing folks believe that sales guys are lazy! Marketing believes that sales is too focused on individual customer experiences and blind to the larger market. On the other hand, sales claim that marketing uses too much money and sets the rates too high. They believe that marketers are far removed from reality and don’t really know what their customers want. Conflict and distrust reigns as each wrestles the other to claim the turf, even while the primary aim of both functions is to generate revenue for the organization. If marketing and sales do not cooperate, the company's strategy will be inconsistent and weak; and execution will be flawed and inefficient.

Why S&M integration is important

An integrated Sales & Marketing function will help in driving enormous value as well as minimize risks. As companies grow and access new markets, the integrated S&M function can co-create value for the company and the customer, thus increasing a product’s or company’s Customer Lifetime Value. The customer-facing team can help marketing with social media support, ideas for content creation and understanding customer personas to create effective marketing campaigns. Marketing, on the other hand, can help with setting the right customer expectations, unified messaging and communications across all platforms, product marketing initiatives and PR marketing. For all the above mentioned initiatives, technology plays a major role in promoting the integration of sales & marketing.

How technology helps to promote integration of sales & marketing

a) Alignment between the functions is key: It is important that both sales & marketing need to be on the same page. The best way to create the alignment would be to attend meetings regularly, have a content creation process in place and coordinate your content marketing campaigns with sales. Companies with an aligned sales & marketing strategy are 67% better at closing deals, according to Marketo. New technologies like Slack, JIRA and SharePoint help in increasing collaboration between the functions and also in project management.

b) Unified, explicit and clear strategy: Create a service level agreement where the goals should be pre-defined so that each function knows what it is responsible for as well as what it takes for each team to achieve those goals. The SLA will be most effective when Sales & Marketing can communicate on the lead data, which is where technology plays a major role. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing automation software will play a key role in executing the SLA.

c) Integrate tools and software for more optimal use: Integrated platforms like Salesforce, LeadSquared, HubSpot and Infusionsoft help to deal with many functions from a singular platform. Marketing automation tools help to qualify leads based on demographic & behavioural data and inputs from sales team, thus optimizing the productivity of your teams as they will be able to identify their most quality lead at a glance. The tools automatically assign leads and also help with the execution of the marketing strategy by letting them know when to build colder leads. The best way to take marketing automation tool to the next level is to integrate your customer relationship management system with the platform.

d) The customer should be the focus: Integrating the sales and marketing softwares will benefit both sides with the right kind of data to improve their results. It will enable you to see the customer’s entire lifecycle. Data will keep both sides honest and create a unified focus on the most valuable customers by building a Cloud-based CRM system/integrated marketing automation.

It is imperative that the marketing and sales functions work in a complementary fashion so that the customers are efficiently and effectively acquired, developed, serviced, and retained. After all, customer is the king.