Across the world, for most people who aren’t part of the marketing and sales teams, these two teams work in tandem, and the words might just be interchangeable as well. “Sales and marketing” or “marketing and sales”, they are just words that can be used together or interchangeably, right? Not exactly. The two words might be related and may help towards getting customers to buy something, but they do vastly different tasks.
Studies show that most businesses in the US and Europe do not understand the differences, and when they do, they simply let the two teams do what they want, without much coordination. The result is, missed opportunities and lost sales. Studies show that a lack of communication between sales and marketing teams cost businesses millions of dollars across the world.
In this article, let us try to understand what the marketing and sales teams do, and why it is important to integrate the two for an improved conversion rate.
What does the sales team do?
Though sales and marketing are closely aligned, they are quite different. In smaller companies and businesses, the same person might take care of both the duties, and call himself a sales and marketing manager. However, there are clear differences between the two. Sales department targets individuals and small groups of people who can make a purchase. Sales activity is related to making individual and group purchases happen. Quite typically, the sales process involves converting leads and prospects into orders and purchases. It also entails a shorter duration of following the lead or prospect and does not involve general branding and other activities. Sales activities can be automated too, with the help of CRM and other tools. In fact, a good website or landing page can immediately drive up sales if it is done well.
What does the marketing team do?
A marketing team looks at the long-term approach of building a brand, an audience, and creating campaigns and content that build awareness about products and services. Once advertisements, content marketing, and marketing campaigns help build audience and prospects are identified, they are passed on to sales department so that they can convert them to sales. In other words, marketing activity generates leads, while sales activity pushes these leads to make a purchase. Marketing also targets the public in general after identifying segments that might be interested in certain products or services. When they express an interest in making a purchase (when the prospect is warm), they are passed on to the sales department.
Integrating the two is important
While they do similar things, both marketing and sales functions are vastly different. Yet, both the teams (and tools) need to be integrated so that there is cohesion between the two. There are many advantages to integrating sales and marketing teams and applications. In this section, let us take a look at 5 of the obvious benefits that come from integrating sales and marketing tools. Whether you combine the two teams or use an integration tool to integrate sales and marketing automation tools, the results will be obvious.
If your business has two separate teams that carry out their sales and marketing functions, integrating tools can build a healthy and trustful atmosphere. Data and information related to leads, and how they were generated, etc. can help sales teams to approach them better. In addition, sales results can help marketing teams to devise future marketing campaigns specifically targeted at certain groups. Keeping these two entities separate along with their automation tools will not help in data sharing. Integration of sales and marketing tools helps in creating trust.
While integrating marketing tools and applications is the technical side of it all, there is also a human side to this integration. Integration can encourage sales and marketing teams to interact more freely (even if they feel compelled to do so, due to data sharing). Communication always helps in forging better trust and a healthy atmosphere, both of which are necessary to identify those important leads and prospects in time. In other words, sales and marketing teams perform better and ensure more leads convert when they work together.
While integrating people from the two teams can have obvious benefits, there are even more important benefits when you integrate sales and marketing data. Both marketing and sales data need to be understood and looked at in their real context. Without context, data makes no sense, and it is quite useless. When you integrate your sales and marketing data, you can provide context to both and come up with better sales and marketing campaigns.
A good CRM should help you to organize sales and marketing data in an easily accessible manner. Salesforce, Marketo, etc. can be used to integrate your data better and help look at data in context. After all, the importance of Big Data cannot be stated enough when it comes to designing campaigns. Integrating ERP and CRM also has its advantages and can be a crucial part in the puzzle.
Integrating sales and marketing data can have another effect which indirectly results in improved conversion rates. When you integrate sales and marketing data, team performance metrics improve too. This is because, when they have access to data that is relevant, they feel less pressure while developing campaigns. For example, if the sales department has access to socio-demographic data and the kind of content marketing that led a person or group to become a warm prospect, they can enhance their sales communication, leading to improved performance.
Similarly, when a marketing team has access to sales data, they will have more firepower to create content and campaigns that actually matter in the long term. A lot of content marketing is usually wasted efforts because the marketing team does not have data related to successful sales.
Successfully navigating through the sales funnel depends on the integration of marketing and sales data. It is worthwhile to remember that people fall in and out of sales funnels, and current customers may become future prospects, and prospects, of course, become customers. The lead process depends on understanding this data, and predicting outcomes. Integrating sales and marketing data helps you to generate better insights, and use predictive analytics to foresee outcomes. Such rich insight will not only help marketing teams to create better content and campaigns to attract and grow an audience but will also help sales teams to convert leads into customers quickly.
While marketing helps generate and fetch leads, sales convert those leads into customers. This process heavily rests upon each team’s ability to understand data, and integration helps put data in context so that leads can be managed better all along the sales cycle.
What most businesses don’t understand is, sales team not only try and sell products and services, they also understand customers’ need keenly. As they interact and speak to customers every day, they understand the desires and needs of customers more acutely than marketing teams, which is generally far removed from individual customer aspirations. This data can be passed on to marketing teams for better insight into customer desires, helping create better campaigns.
In addition, understanding customer needs and wants also helps in providing better customer support. Integrating data from sales and marketing with customer support modules within a CRM can help you conquer unchartered territories. Consider integrating ERP with the CRM too, for that can help both your sales and marketing teams with other kinds of useful data. In fact, the more tools you integrate and there is more data to be crunched, the better the insight and predictions are going to be.
Integrate sales and marketing for benefits
Sales and marketing are often viewed together with the same lens but rarely do the two teams work together in tandem. Unfortunately, not working together can have unintended consequences and conversion rates may not be as impressive as one might imagine. Integrating sales and marketing automation tools, using CRM and ERP together, and placing all that data in context to create both sales and marketing campaigns will have a critical effect on conversion rate optimization.
It is not just the tools that you should integrate. You can also try and integrate teams so that they work better in cohesion. In fact, if you don’t want to do this, just integrating sales and marketing data will indirectly help integrate teams as well.