The Sales and Marketing departments are, inherently, very closely linked. In practice, however, they sometimes have diametrically opposite approaches to one same customer. These departments tolerate each other out of ‘obligation’ rather than by ‘choice’, which is a pity. This can lead to inconsistent communication, potentially missing leads and, therefore, can negatively impact the bottom line. However, this rivalry can be prevented: it is just a matter of getting in sync.
One goal, two approaches
Have you ever, reluctantly, had to invite a relative to an event, all the while hoping they will say that they can’t make it? Something similar happens in the relationship between Sales and Marketing. They tolerate each other, but are quite happy to do their own thing without having to interact.
However, both departments work towards the same goals – the success of the company – but each with a different customer approach. The Sales Department focuses on expertise, product knowledge and after-sales service. The Marketing Department focuses on ways to stimulate the interest of potential customers and promote the company’s products or services.
While very different, these approaches are complementary and share the same goal: delivering the best possible service to the customer. How, then, can we strengthen the relationship between these two departments?
Possible steps for boosting the relationship between Sales and Marketing
Experience as a guiding principle
Instead of highlighting the differences between Marketing and Sales, let’s look in terms of what brings them together: the customer. There is no point discussing KPIs, pipelines or technology when there is still so much to improve on the product or service. It is quite irrelevant to address these topics until you can offer a flawless Customer Experience. As we discussed in an earlier post, Customer Experience is essential to Customer Satisfaction, so that’s where we have to start.
Both departments have to keep in mind that what determines their respective strategy is the customer. Throughout the entire ‘Customer Journey’, at every touchpoint, the customer’s needs and satisfaction outweigh any individual interests Sales or Marketing may have. Once stakeholders have understood this basic principle, it will become that much easier to get them to cooperate.
A number of measures can foster better cooperation between these departments. However, they depend to some extent on your corporate culture. Some organisations are open to change, whereas others are more reluctant and resist change. Here’s the good news: no matter how your company is structured, it’s never too late to embrace change.
Regardless of your corporate culture or the sector in which you operate, there are three lines of action which can help you strengthen the ties between Sales and Marketing.
- Improve communication by making meetings open to all
Far too often, Marketing and Sales teams have their own independent meetings. In these meetings, they each define their own overall strategy and ensuing actions. This lack of coordination ultimately leads to a lack of coherence with the reality on the ground. For example, a company decides to increase lead generation by 10%. The Marketing department might think that a prospection campaign will do the trick; however, the Sales department will receive a great number of leads – but of poor quality. Even though the quantitative target is met, the real target is not achieved. This generates frustration, and, consequently, causes tension in the relationship between the two entities.
By making these meetings open to all, you can tackle these problems head on, and improve the synergies between the two entities.
- Work hand in hand
As mentioned earlier, the customer is king, which means you must be attentive to your customers’ needs throughout the entire Customer Journey. Therefore, why not approach the customer together? It is not a matter of everyone attending all prospecting meetings or regular meetings with existing customers. However, attending one monthly meeting will give you an overall view of the expectations and needs of future customers, but also of your sales representatives. Do your existing Marketing resources cover their needs? Or do you need to design new tools and actions?
- Avoid duplicating work
Due to the lack of internal communication, Sales and Marketing teams work as two independent, compartmentalised units and are not aware of the actions carried out by the other. This often leads to things being done twice: creating duplicate contacts in your database or, worse still, sending two different messages to your customers. This lack of consistency can confuse your customers and undermine your brand image. Your customers can lose confidence and start looking for alternatives to your products or services and defect to competition.
Your CRM: the driving force of a collaborative relationship
Internal communication between Sales and Marketing is the driving force of a cooperative relationship. The lifeblood of internal communication, however, is a company’s CRM system. How can a CRM solution help achieve this goal? Here are three good examples:
- 360° view
Whether talking about a prospect, a customer, a campaign or even documents, with a CRM solution you will always have a 360° view of your data. All users will be able to view and track the history of interactions with the customer (campaigns, offers, etc.). No more duplicates, no more missed opportunities. Marketing and Sales can work collaboratively and coordinate their actions for a unified customer strategy.
- Reports accessible to all
Sales and Marketing will no longer need to have lengthy discussions to establish the performance of a campaign. With a CRM tool, your salespeople and marketers can view the campaign reports online, the list of attendees and the business opportunities it generated. The CRM solution helps you track the entire “Customer Journey” thanks to reports in real time on the status and activity of your customers.
- Reinforce trust
Because all the actions carried out in the context of the customer relationship are visible in the CRM system, all stakeholders willhave a clear and up-to-date view of the Customer Journey. Everyone can see the progress of the marketing campaigns or opportunities, and each department can offer added value to the process of understanding the customer and his needs.
The customer and your CRM: the lifeblood and vehicle of a strong Marketing/Sales relationship
Too often, Marketing and Sales work as two completely independent units. This creates miscommunications at the internal level, and, worse still, with customers. This can lead to a sense of distrust and undermine the company’s overall performance. To address this, the first step is to draw their attention to the fact that both departments pursue the same goal: to ensure Customer Satisfaction throughout the famous “Customer Journey”. Secondly, you need to implement a series of actions which can foster collaboration between both units. Finally, implementing a CRM solution is what will help facilitate these actions, and will enable stakeholders to follow them and strengthen interdepartmental trust. All of this with one goal in mind: offer the best possible service to your customers.