Challenges between sales and marketing, stemming from broader organizational issues, are not uncommon. From miscommunication to mismatched data, there are plenty of frustrating problems that hinder alignment across siloed teams. A recent report (registration required) from Aragon Research found that customer revenue optimization helps organizations increase sales volume, improve win rates and deal sizes while delivering increased customer value. The research also showed that marketers tend to grade their relationship with sales higher than their counterparts on the sales team — indicative of just how disconnected these teams can be.
Co-founder and executive vice president of enterprise software firm Altify, Áine Denn, recognized these challenges when she co-founded the firm in 2005. “Sales and marketing aren’t speaking the same language,” said Denn. “Buyers have elevated expectations, but many brands’ sales and marketing teams are disconnected.”
Revenue optimization teams can reframe conversations
As businesses increasingly shift toward subscription-based models, brands apply an account-based marketing strategy to support the sales process. According to Altify’s chief marketing officer Patrick Morrisey, it’s time for a fundamental shift in our sales and marketing efforts, and even our larger organizational structures. “We need to shift the conversation from ‘what are we trying to sell’ to ‘what problems are we trying to solve?’”, said Morrisey. “That’s where the revenue optimization team comes in.” He also noted that by creating a revenue optimization team, brands can increase transparency into sales campaigns and provide better insights into their digital marketing efforts.
“As marketers, our roles are changing as the buying cycle continues to shift,” said Allie Hughes, founder of Hughes & Co., a digital marketing agency with a strategic focus on profitability and revenue generation. “We need a better picture of the sales process to get better at what we do.”
One step towards solving the challenges of accessibility, insights and transparency across teams is to establish deal review meetings with the internal stakeholders involved in an account’s sales process. “It’s not the ‘old-world’, tech-driven center of excellence,” says Morrisey. “It’s establishing cross-functional resources grounded in account plans and driven by processes and metrics bringing internal stakeholders to the table.”
Cross-functional teams can lead to more effective campaigns
By establishing a cross-functional revenue optimization team and involving stakeholders from across sales and marketing in the process from beginning to end, digital marketers can set the tone for the entire sales process. Building rapport with your counterparts in sales — from business development to customer success managers — will provide valuable insights your team can act on to drive conversions. Partnering with the product marketing team and involving them in the process is also critical for ensuring that sales is well-equipped to manage customers’ expectations and solve challenges.
“Buyers can be extremely well-informed. Sales need to be equipped with accurate information from business development, product marketing team to deliver the right message — and solutions — to the customer during the sales process,” said Morrisey. “The tangible value that marketers are delivering to customers is actually equipping the sales team to understand the customer and products that will best solve the customer’s problems.”
Alignment can lead to competitive advantage
The view into accounts that marketing receives from sales generally doesn’t extend much further than the information put in the organizations’ CRM. This makes it challenging for marketers to understand the customer’s expectations and needs. “Sales very inadequately supports marketing with the information and insights that they need to understand how to shift marketing campaigns,” said Denn.
“Marketing is a sales-enabling activity, with more access to information about the entire sales process our efforts are more informed, our data-based decision making has a stronger foundation and ultimately our marketing efforts and products will scale up in quality as these teams are implemented in companies,” said Hughes. “We see clients shifting in this direction and our capacity to help generate strong ROI is improving.”
The importance of alignment cannot be understated; our sales and marketing teams should be as well-informed as the customers we are trying to reach.