Date: January 25th, 2016-3 Powerful Marketing and Sales Alignment Strategies
Key Speakers: Ms. Heidi Bullock (GVP- Global Marketing, Marketo)
Sales and marketing have for long been competing, rendering the system broken at several organizations. Greater alignment is needed between the two. For this some effective methods have been identified.
Marketers are constantly beset by some common challenges. While they are supposed to generate more leads, simply having high numbers is not enough. It is important to have such effective prospects under the right accounts. The resources are always at a crunch, but the best of results need to be produced. There is constant bickering between sales and marketing. Even on matters where their point of view is similar, they tend to differ, often arguing for the sake of it. Another major challenge is the unclear ROI on each investment.
Before the alignment can be fixed, some key considerations need to be looked in to. First of all the revenue model needs to be defined along with its various stages. Then it is important that the marketers work backwards from the objective. While the corporate strategy is paramount, it need not be the starting point. The tactics can be molded as the chain moves along. After this, the entire buyer journey needs to be mapped out. Inbound used to be the preferred mode of digital marketing, but account based strategies are more popular now. The former method is ideal for mass campaigns aimed at a broad reach. The latter on the other hand is specific and targeted towards key clients.
Measurement is extremely crucial. The entire analysis phase can be further divided into early, mid and late sub-stages. Proper metrics must be defined and scores assessed against earlier benchmarks set. Such quantification will allow the team to extract vital business intelligence. Technology must never be used as a mass tool which must be leveraged. Instead, it must only be used to the extent deemed vital for the business. Due diligence must be conducted before any new technology is bandied out to team members. The metrics discussed earlier must be used to compare figures against the previous year or any set standards. Unfair comparisons must not be made between unrelated or unequal objects. Finally, the most important part is team management. Collaboration is vital at this stage beyond the individual preferences.
Technology: How Automation can Help?
With automation taking over in a big way, businesses need to find ways to remain relevant and for their staff to remain thoroughly engaged. Along with this they must also ensure that they have access to a talent pipeline so their employees’ skills do not get outmoded. Either way, business targets will need to be met. A three-pronged process has been known to execute this alignment. It can be better understood using the following illustration:
At the attract stage, the idea is to drive greater inbound traffic to the website. The visitors must be somehow converted to leads. However, attracting the right buyer or accounts is necessary. Traffic can be increased through a plethora of ways such as SEO or SEM. A data warehousing operation must be launched on the experiences of existing visitors. Once their usage patterns are understood, personalized content must be disbursed to them. This will give the marketer as well as the sales development team, the understanding of who are the right buyers or accounts. Constant testing is needed at the attract stage. Business analytics may be used to assess data on information such as recipients and open rate.
At the engage stage, marketers must try to keep the customer base engaged using a variety of means. This includes social networks, news feeds, newspaper ads or articles, reviews, in-store experiences, email and television. This is a crucial stage for the alignment. Sales must be kept in the loop of activities that marketing is performing. Decision makers and influencers must be identified at the very beginning. This is also the stage where awareness in drilled in using social media, events or website personalization. Direct mail campaigns can help locate the real market influencers. Ultimately none of this will ever be successful without adequate campaign scaling. One can even resort to opting for programme cloning. Costs must be assessed at this stage. Even the personalized campaigns need to be scaled for the market requirements.
At the Close stage, it is crucial to generated feedback on activities done till that point. Adequate ought to be accorded to sales representatives so that they can use modern tools. However, at this stage, all the metrics decided must be flexible enough. The task of ranking leads may be done in collaboration between marketing and sales teams. In this way, the prospects must be set as priority. Accountability must be set for the sales staff as well. This needs to be detailed as to the fall back option, in case it ever goes wrong.
The marketing and sales teams must meet up frequently to discuss upcoming and ongoing campaigns. Even sales calls may be done in tandem. Each team must provide valuable feedback to the other. Measurement must be made of each facet of the campaign. This includes aspects such as content syndication, effectiveness of content or email, events, webinars, website or mentions on social media. Marketers ultimately need to grasp the important points and trade points that really succeed. Marketo has specifically created a dashboard so that it becomes easier to collaborate between the two. They will also experience a rise in channeling the prospects through the right position in the funnel.
In order to align the teams’ targets together, it is important to first get the members on board. The sales professionals think in terms of revenue, deals and targets. The marketer on the other hand is worried about leads, events, social media, content and branding. Common language needs to be spoken so that there is all round empathy at the common table. Teams must be paired up with a member each from each of the designations. This also helps create a culture of checks and balances as individuals are forced to go out of their comfort territory.