For years, the greatest rivalry known to man was not Yankees vs. Red Sox or Ali vs. Frazier. It was not even deep dish vs. thin crust (though that may be the most contentious).
Anyone who has ever worked in a corporate environment will likely agree no two teams have ever been more adversarial than sales and marketing.
It is a battle for supremacy focused on pitting blame (“the leads are weak!”/ “sales cannot close!”), on building barriers between where one’s job begins and the other ends (pre-sale/post-sale), on proving ROI.
Until an incredible wave of new and exciting “big data” fueled a new era for marketers, a digital era, it did not feel like there would ever be a way for the two teams to work together.
Fortunately, all of that has changed.
Marketing executives now know (and can quantify) the value of a bridged partnership between sales and marketing because they have the technology to make it happen.
The result is a whole new brand of digital marketing, demand generation, focused on integrating the two former adversaries into each stage of the sales funnel.
No more blame. No more barriers. No more rivalry.
Instead, businesses with alignment between sales and marketing are seeing higher conversion rates than ever before, much of that fueled by better technology intended to help the two teams “talk” to each other.
This post explores how technology has changed the relationship between sales and marketing for the better, and what you can do to create better alignment in your organization.
Why Creating Alignment Between Sales and Marketing Should be a Top Priority
The rise of big data pulled back the curtain on how valuable true alignment between sales and marketing can be for a business. In fact, one study reveals some jaw-dropping stats about the benefits of a good relationship between sales and marketing.
Businesses with better alignment between the two teams saw:
- 208% more revenue from marketing efforts
- 36% higher customer retention
- 38% higher sales win rates
If that is not convincing enough for you, try this on for size:
A recent whitepaper from Act-On showed 56% of aligned companies met their revenue goals, and 19% exceeded their goals.
For misaligned organizations? Those stats showed just 37% met their revenue goals, and a mere 7% beat them.
What Role Has Technology Played in Aligning Sales and Marketing So Far?
So, now there is some hard data supporting a better partnership between sales and marketing. But a natural follow-up question might be:
How are companies making this alignment happen?
No, it was not couples counseling. Instead, companies have a slew of new technology to thank for the enhanced relationship between the two business lines.
You see, before demand generation became the de facto means of building brand awareness and generating leads, sales and marketing used distinctly different (and completely separate) platforms to do their jobs.
Marketers used campaign management software, sales people used CRMs, and that was that. The two platforms did not speak to one another and therefore, the valuable data residing in each remained exclusive to the team utilizing the software.
But as big data became more and more prevalent, marketers were able to glean new insights into customers that proved it was time to bridge the gap between the two teams.
Specifically, it became increasingly apparent that in order to truly maximize customer lifetime value, marketing needed to be involved in the customer relationship long after the “decision” stage of the buyer’s journey.
And so, a new type of technology developed - labeled “martech” - with the intent of making that relationship easier in order to enhance demand generation strategies.
How Technology Helps Foster Better Relationships Between Sales and Marketing
Consider three specific types of martech and the impact they are having on demand generation:
- Data Management Software
Today’s marketers face an onslaught of data from any number of different channels. Collecting, collating and extracting valuable information from that data is a nearly impossible task to take on manually.
Fortunately, marketers have data management software - like ReachForce - to do all the heavy lifting. ReachForce not only houses your data, but scrubs it clean of duplicates and misinformation, and enriches the data by filling in missing components (emails, phone numbers, demographic data, etc.).
Perhaps most important for the relationship between sales and marketing, ReachForce “unifies” your data as well. That means that all of the existing customer information from your CRM gets tied directly into Reachforce, giving marketers historical customer data side-by-side with inbound lead data. That leads to better customer segmentation and the ability to tie marketing efforts to revenue.
- CRM + Marketing Automation
These two platforms have existed separately of one another for years, but only recently have companies like Hubspot began to offer all-in-one solutions.
The benefit? A key aspect of demand generation is marketing throughout the sales cycle. This includes nurturing existing customers well after the sale is completed. By having CRM data attached directly to your automation platform, you can use triggers from existing customers to set them down the path of certain nurture campaigns based on their needs.
- Content Libraries
Marketers are also playing a bigger role in actually closing deals during the “decision” stage of the buyer’s journey. That said, it is still a common complaint among sales reps that finding content to share with leads can be incredibly time consuming.
In fact, a study from Salesforce showed up to 30% of a sales rep’s time might is sent searching for and customizing content for distribution.
That is where a good content library - like Attach - can really be a game changer. House all your content in one central library where salespeople can easily access it and distribute out to customers.
These are just a few of the areas where technology has helped bridge the gap between sales and marketing. Martech is a rapidly growing industry. As a result, the future of sales and marketing alignment only looks to get better.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization, and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean, and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.