July 15, 2016

Technology. The unlikely peacemaker

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Teams come together when they are playing to the same objective. Luckily, all of those involved in business development are playing to the same goal. Aren’t they?

Your marketing team wants coverage, brand impact, good advertisement placement and solid trade show positioning. Your sales team wants to meet people and close sales. Not exactly opposed, but they’re not the same. They are part of the same process, but they don’t overlap. Not really. No wonder sales and marketing often seem to work at cross purposes. 

Ultimately, both teams simply want to generate more customers. It’s that simple. So let’s focus both sides on a shared set of objectives. So they both see the same goal, and play towards it. Together.

The current means of measuring marketing success doesn’t really deal in customers. Technology can play a role here. A significant role. The combination of customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation can deliver amazing insights into customer behaviour.

These insights carry more detail than in the past. No longer are we concerned only with closed deals. We can measure advances at any point in the buyer journey. We can measure the movement through the sales and marketing funnel. We can tell if those movements were driven by sales or marketing, or both.

This is specific stuff. We can identify the number of additional sales meetings to arise following an email marketing campaign, or the number of incoming enquiries triggered by a blog post. We can share this widely. And quickly.

Telling both the marketing team that created the campaign, and the sales team that had the resulting conversations, creates a virtuous feedback loop. Each recognising and valuing the contribution of the other. Technology has redefined success.

It has enabled everyone to play to the same objective. A successful campaign is no longer about the number of people that clicked on a link, it’s about the number of advances through the sales process that it generated. Those are numbers that matter. They matter to everyone.

This isn’t the future, this is now.

The technology providing this feedback is here today, and it is driving much of what you see when you spend time online. Those ads that seem to follow you around the web. The way websites seem to know what you need, and present it front and centre on the homepage for you. Those remarkably pertinent emails you receive the day after you research a project.

This hints at the other big change that technology has driven.

When your sales and marketing teams are focused on achieving customer advances towards a purchase, they both broaden their activities.

Marketing can bring tools like email, advertising and content to the sales conversation stages of the buyer journey. This is often called digital lead nurture, and it is an area where marketing automation excels, and where sales feels a real benefit of the new customer focus within marketing.

At points in the sales process where we wish to nudge the prospect rather than close them, digital nurture can help focus the sales team’s time on better qualified leads.

Simple techniques like sending offers of technical reviews, white papers, and insights can elicit valuable information from the lead. A cold response to these offers may be a signal that this is a cold lead. A warm response can trigger a sales call.

This improves the success rate of sales calls. In turn highlighting the value of the nurture activity led by the marketing team.

In this way technology is not only a peacemaker between sales and marketing, it’s a matchmaker.

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