When aligned correctly, the differentiation between sales and marketing is almost indistinguishable. These days, it is extremely common for sales and marketing misalignment within an organization, and the companies that have divided sales and marketing teams that function separately are putting themselves at a disadvantage. In fact, study after study shows the benefits of sales and marketing alignment for revenue, lead generation, and efficiency.
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The silos between sales and marketing departments are a long-standing issue that almost every industry faces. If your business is growing or you have plans to expand quickly, you can no longer afford to keep the two apart. Merging sales and marketing is a long-term strategy that businesses need to adopt and consider a priority.
In an ideal setting, these departments are much more cohesive. For example, teams overseeing business development sometimes roll up to marketing, and sales teams are often involved in the creation of marketing campaigns. Then sales relies on marketing to hit their quotas, and marketing leans on sales to give feedback on the quality of leads they’re driving, etc. But this is an example of what should be happening, and things aren’t always this harmonious.
But they should be.
When marketing and sales are closely aligned, achieving revenue objectives and hitting business goals becomes much more predictable. Notice I didn’t say “easy”, I said predictable. Because it’s not easy, a lot of work goes into getting these two departments in sync and working together. Historically there’s been friction with one of the main challenges being that sales doesn’t always speak marketing, and marketing doesn’t always speak sales. There’s a learning curve. But when it works, it works.
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By combining sales and marketing, it gives you insight into the entire customer journey. From first click to closed won, from the first email blast to the closing call. Every interaction with the prospect–every email they opened, every link they clicked, every page on your website they visited, recorded in such a fashion that you can dissect the process and identify the most valuable touchpoints. You’ll be able to see where prospects are spending most of their time, which content they’re engaging with the most, and which content they’re not engaging with at all. With this comes valuable data and learnings that you can leverage for sales prospects, as well as with marketing to show the types of content adding the most value, and pinpoint areas of opportunity.
Eventually, with practice and collaboration between sales and marketing, you will get to a place where you can forecast against marketing activities. For example, for every 1,000 prospects who receive your newest case study in their inboxes, 600 will open the email, 200 will download the case study, 40 will visit your website after reading it, 20 will visit your pricing page (this is a good sign!), 6 will request more information by filling out a form, and Sales will close 2 of those prospects in the next 30 days. You need 10 transactions to hit your monthly goal? Then you’ll need to email 5,000 prospects. How easy was that?!
This is obviously an oversimplification, but the theory is sound: when sales and marketing work together, when you thoughtfully analyze the buying journey, you will find gold. And when you find gold, forecasting will be easier and you’ll reach a new level of predictability that is so critical to achieving revenue goals.