No discussion about the world of business would be complete without mention of great rivalries: Edison and Tesla. Coke and Pepsi. Apple and Microsoft. Sales and Marketing…
We’ve talked before about the struggles between designers and developers, but Sales and Marketing can take organizational infighting to a whole new level. While these departments often understand that they’re both running in the same race (on the same team, no less), there’s a lot of confusion about where the finish line is and what’s the best route for getting there: Marketing blames Sales for failing to make use of their awesome content and ignoring their great leads; Sales blames Marketing for wasting their time with bogus leads and content that’s useless. Meanwhile, as Sales and Marketing play the blame game, precious opportunities for engaging and winning new customers slip away.
A lot of this disorder stems from a sheer lack of communication between departments and a failure of both parties to define acceptable processes, baselines, and criteria for leads. But collaboration matters: while only 21% of businesses surveyed share lead nurturing duties, those that do see measurable increases in the number of leads that turn into opportunities. The fact is, you need both Sales and Marketing to be on the same page if you want to effectively, efficiently, and successfully market your brand and grow your business. Closing the loop is how you get it done.
Here are three ways to start closing the loop:
1. Define Personas
The most common complaint among Sales teams is content-related. Indeed, 65% of sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects. In order to develop strategies that connect with the right buyers at the right time, you first need to actually define who those people are. This is something that has traditionally fallen into the realm of marketing responsibilities, but the development of buyer personas is something that benefits (and, therefore, should involve) both Sales and Marketing.
Both departments may have big ideas about what represents their ideal lead, so conversation is essential for developing a global criteria that can direct marketing efforts. After all, more leads are not always better; when Sales and Marketing work together to pinpoint their ideal customer(s) through personas, it’s easier to identify, win, and nurture quality leads—starting with meaningful, relevant content that drives all other interactions along the funnel.
2. Track Everything
The only way to ensure that campaigns are working is to track them across the board. First, Sales and Marketing must agree on and set up proper conversion goals in Google Analytics by keeping in mind that a lead is not just someone who visits your website—they have to do something specific to meet the criteria. It’s also a good idea to have a variety of goals that range from micro- to macro-conversions. Eventually, micro-conversions will lead to a macro-conversions (e.g. article downloads or form submits), and that will reveal what’s providing the most value to help funnel leads into become purchasing customers.
Taking the time to implement tracking that works for your company is crucial, whether it’s using Google UTM codes or something specific to your CRM solution. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate setup, especially if you’re just starting out; check each of your different platforms and manually enter conversions into a spreadsheet if you need to. This effort helps to ensure that leads coming in through the various marketing channels being tested will provide enough relevant information for Sales to reach out to prospects.
3. Automate Your Marketing
Running multiple campaigns with different conversion goals will often generate a great number of leads, each requiring specific care and handling based on agreed upon criteria that can be tough to handle with just spreadsheets, and the last thing Sales or Marketing wants is to leave an opportunity on the table.
If new or existing customers are engaging with content or your website, they’ll expect to receive appropriate communication back from your company—whether that’s a transactional email saying thanks, or a response offering other assets your customers might like, it’s important to continue providing value that leads prospects toward conversion. Marketing automation helps facilitate this process by providing a centralized way to track, manage, and analyze marketing efforts from end-to-end, so both Sales and Marketing can see what’s actually working, respond quickly, and close sales.
Advertising, SEO, email marketing, social media: all of these marketing channels are integral for businesses trying to compete in today’s digital world. But if you aren’t tracking these efforts through to sales, you’ll never fully understand the results of how you’re spending your money—and Sales and Marketing will continue to fight over who’s getting the job done. Once Sales and Marketing realize they’re truly on the same team working towards common goals, they can begin to develop cohesive, holistic strategies that close the marketing loop and serve a greater purpose—that is, making success more easily attainable for everybody.