If you’ve got lackluster leads, slowed sales, and declining revenue, you can’t afford to do business as usual. Your marketing team or any agency you hire needs a unified approach.
Each team has unique responsibilities, but their goals are the same.
Both want more engaged leads, more satisfied customers, more sales, and more revenue.
If their goals converge, why shouldn’t their strategic planning, their technology, and their skills do the same?
Integrated Sales and Marketing
ROI Amplified believes in the power of integrating sales and marketing teams (and the work they do) for smarter brand development. We see results every day. And we’re not the only ones.
Ledgeview Partners partnered with Act-On Software to study sales and marketing alignment— and its impact on business success. Their definition of an integrated team is solid:
“Alignment isn’t a specific activity; it’s more of a way to describe organizations whose sales and marketing teams that (among other things) have learned to:
Speak a Common Language
Measure Against Shared Standards
Employ Integrated Business Processes
Work Toward Common Goals”
And their results are solid, too. Among integrated teams:
- 56% met their revenue goals— 19% beat them.
- 36% reported better customer retention.
- Budget increases were 50% more likely.
- Revenue grew 19% faster than non-integrated teams.
- Profitability was 15% higher.
It’s pretty clear, you need integrated sales and marketing behind you to truly develop your brand. Let’s talk about how it’s done.
BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER
I sound like Captain Obvious right now, but when people are together, they communicate together. Communicating together, they plan and strategize togethePlanning and strategize together, they confront challenges together. If they confront challenges together, they adapt together. If they adapt together, they succeed together.
To build this togetherness, sales and marketing professionals should be together in physical and virtual spaces. While in that space, concerted efforts should be made to:
- Work in a friendly environment. Having friends at work boosts satisfaction. [I don’t know about you, but I prefer to work with people I like.]
- Support creative expression. In one study, people allowed to be creative at work reported positive feelings three months later.
- Encourage each team member to focus on their strengths and passions. Gallup found, “[People] who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job and less likely to leave their company”.
- Maintain a positive mindset. The happier the team, the better they perform.
If you’re hiring a marketing team or agency, don’t be afraid to ask about their company values and culture. It will tell you a lot about how (and if) they work together. You won’t have an integrated strategy with a divided team.
BRING DATA TOGETHER
If your sales and marketing data is combined in one place, and everyone has access to it, you’re taking a big step toward a more integrated team— and a more streamlined workflow. To see the big picture, you need Big Data.
Bernard and Marr have a stellar explanation of Big Data:
“We generate data whenever we go online, when we carry our GPS-equipped smartphones, when we communicate with our friends through social media or chat applications, and when we shop. You could say we leave digital footprints with everything we do that involves a digital action, which is almost everything.
On top of this, the amount of machine-generated data is rapidly growing too. Data is generated and shared when our “smart” home devices communicate with each other or with their home servers. Industrial machinery in plants and factories around the world are increasingly equipped with sensors that gather and transmit data.
The term “Big Data” refers to the collection of all this data and our ability to use it to our advantage across a wide range of areas, including business.”
What is Big Data?
Big Data is made up of all the numbers you use to track how people engage and do business with you online. Everyone in sales (and everyone in marketing) needs to see all the numbers (and how those numbers are analyzed). And when it comes time to make decisions based on your data, everyone needs to have a seat at the same table.
We (and our clients) love our CRM. We can see our data, and what it means, all in one place. Don’t have to volley between programs, sites, and documents to see if strategies are working. Can do it all on one centralized dashboard. Have a bird’s eye view of our progress and a context for our numbers.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs): SET AND CELEBRATE
By now, you’re on board with sales and marketing coming together to build sophisticated strategies for crazy success. But, with so many unique strengths (and specific priorities) between you, it can be hard to know where to start.
You’re lucky— our team has some ideas.
|Goal||Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)|
|Traffic||How many people:|
|Engagement||How many people:|
|Conversions||How many people:|
|Sales and Upsells||How many people:|
KPIs and Digital Marketing
Many of these KPIs are related to digital marketing strategy, but (again) don’t ignore the experience of sales professionals. They have the personal interaction and day-to-day communication with customers. Marketers need those insights to keep from wasting time or money.
Plus, once those strategies start working, the sales team is a customer’s first (and sometimes only) point of contact. Whatever you’re doing to market your brand, sales has to be on board.
To paraphrase Neil Patel, marketers attract the masses (to generate leads), while salespeople give one one-on-one attention (to nurture leads into customers).
Aligned teams are so successful because they set—and work toward—their KPIs knowing full well how their goals interlock. And when milestones are achieved together, industry-leading teams celebrate together. [As you might guess, that celebration fuels further productivity.]
Do you and your sales/marketing team celebrate wins? If not, why not?
STRATEGY: ARE WE IN AGREEMENT?
To do integrated work, your sales and marketing teams must be on the same page. That can’t happen unless you have specific, documented Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for lead generation, lead nurturing, and strategic planning. For example:
- Which team member/position has which responsibilities at each stage of the process?
- When, how, and between whom does lead transfer to happen?
- When do leads move from marketing to sales funnels?
Even when you have go-to procedures, you need to make some changes at the moment. Use live chat, group messaging, and private channels on project management software (like Teamwork or Slack) to keep everyone in the loop.
Speaking of the chat: live chat is a great CRM tool. You can see exactly how customers are asking questions as they move through your site. So you can tweak your strategy (and your web design) when necessary to make sure you have an intuitive interface that helps them find the answers. When your team is out of the office, you can use [chatbots] to connect customers with what they’re looking for.
BRANDING: KNOW WHO YOU ARE
One of the best ways sales and marketing teams can present a united front is sharing a thorough understanding of your brand. Everyone on your sales and marketing team should stay informed (and enthusiastic) about growing and strengthening your brand identity:
- Look and Feel: Color palette, fonts/typography, web design, logo
- Mission: Why you exist: who do you help, and what problem do you solve?
- Vision: How will you change your field, industry, community, etc.?
- Personality: What makes your brand unique: your communication style, content tone/format, how your loyal customers and coworkers describe your brand, etc.
- Products and Services: What you offer, to whom, and why: how each offering accomplishes your mission and realizes your vision
- Ideal Customers: Who is your target audience? What are their needs, goals, and key descriptors?
- Strategy: Your specific approach to raising awareness, reaching your goals, and meeting the needs of your customers
- Communication: How and where do you primarily engage customers?
- Content: What is your approach to content marketing?
- Relevance: What are each of your teams doing to keep content, products, and services relevant to your customers, and your mission?
- Consistency: What are you doing to ensure your content/online presence is consistent?
- Visibility: What are your preferred ways to get the word out about your brand?
EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE: A PEEK AT BEST PRACTICES
Visa has been on the integrated marketing (and branding) train for a long time. Since they netted $6.7 billion last year, and have 20+ million users, it’s worth taking a page from their playbook.
Nancy Friedman, their VP of advertising, says this about their process:
Why they integrate marketing: “Our integrated marketing campaigns can include consumer advertising, a promotional element, PR, an event, and an ad on our site. We also work closely with our banks and merchants. We have a lot of levers we can use to bring a promotion to life. Integrated marketing improves our chance to make a statement in the marketplace”
Takeaway: When sales and marketing teams are all bringing their strengths to the table:
- You take a proactive approach to challenges and hurdles.
- You dramatically lower the risk of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and overspending.
- Everyone knows their role in executing the strategy and their part in communicating the story and message of the brand.
Collaboration in Action: “The keyword is taskforce. All disciplines and agencies participate. Every task force has a leader. We develop a central platform as a blueprint based on research, trends, and consumer insights. This works for two reasons. We openly communicate. And we take the same approach with our agencies as we do our internal people. Everyone is approached as an expert in their field.”
Takeaway: Every member of a sales and/or marketing team is an expert with a unique skill set. List every team member and brainstorm these questions:
- What is this person’s expertise?
- How can I use it to better refine my branding? My digital marketing?
CRAFT A STRATEGY AND MAKE IT HAPPEN . . . TOGETHER
Your sales team can’t do it alone. Neither can your marketing team. Strategy-building, execution, and celebration of those milestones must happen together to stay afloat and stay relevant, in an increasingly streamlined digital landscape.
The need for integration doesn’t stop in-house. Look for an aligned approach whenever it’s time to hire an agency. There’s no need to go to one place for SEO, one place for marketing, one place for advertising, and one place for content.
We are committed to honest communication and transparent reporting at every stage of the process.
Our clients get all their marketing, branding, and content goals accomplished under one roof. By one team. Working from one set of data. For one purpose: get our clients noticed, and their product sold