Do Sales and Marketing Need a Marriage Counselor?

When it comes down to measuring ROI for your marketing campaigns, often the sales figures are your best guide.  Not traffic.  Then why is it so tough to get Sales out of their cave to talk frankly with Marketing (often lost in their own “silo”)?

How Sales and Marketing Could Win with “Counseling”

Sales And marketing in Counseling

Are your Sales and Marketing teams talking to each other, or past each other? Maybe they don’t share the same goals.

The prospect is simple. If sales reported close rates to marketing, and if marketing cared about that, some simple changes on lead gathering pages could improve scores. But usually, it’s “sorry, honey — not listening and don’t care’.

We were testing elements on a page designed to bring the best qualified leads into the company. Again, the direct form to the CRM was not used, and on the MarCom side, they simply had no interest in enabling sales beyond putting a simple form to email on the page. Drop in the non-CRM form. Done.  No results review.  Huh?

We’re not going to make that mistake at Webdirexion. We just moved our sales lead nurturing system to SalesForce.com. When we test ads at LinkedIn to those on Google, we can now easily learn which venue produced more qualified prospects, and in the end, which resulted in more closed sales. Of course, it’s not just the venue that yields the result — the strength of your offer, value proposition, and creative approach are also in play. These are easily adjusted and improved — while your campaign is active. But, and this is my main point, you have to have feedback from your sales team, and MarCom has to pay careful attention to it. It’s not happening, very often in my experience.

Why Sales and Marketing Need Counseling…

We are often dealing with smaller businesses of 20 – 200 people, but most have a CRM in place and a sales group, plus at least 2-3 Marketing Communications people. Typically the two groups are physically “siloed” in that they sit in different locations often distant from one another. They are also often strategically siloed in that their objectives don’t describe the same goals. The sales department has quota numbers, while MarCom has publishing and production deadlines.

Title fight? Wrong. MarCom’s eNewsletters, and the Sales team’s one-to-one messaging can work together for a powerful one-two punch, when goals are aligned.

Have a look at the infographic at left (click to enlarge) from MarketStar.  It’s wrong headed.  eMail Marketing, traditionally in the domain of your MarCom people does not have to be at war, or in a “title fight” with lead nurturing, best performed by experienced sales people.  The two can work together.  An embedded CRM form on your site sends new leads into position for both smart email messaging (and if you have a decent program it’s easy to personalize messages), and also onto the appropriate list for “one-to-one” marketing.  But this again assumes Sales and Marketing will talk to each other.

One VP of Sales and Marketing told me he did not want a SalesForce form on his site, because he wanted one person to get form data by email, then reenter it into SalesForce. He thought this duplication was warranted because that person would then filter and better qualify the lead. Three problems here: first, he’s ignoring precisely what SalesForce is designed to do — score and rate leads; second, that means the web team gets no feedback so they can make adjustments; and third… he is collaborating in the silo psychology.

At another company, the Director of Sales told me he couldn’t pull together close rate information for a lead gathering campaign we were running because it would take too much time. We were testing elements on a page designed to bring the best qualified leads into the company. Again, the direct form to the CRM was not used, and on the MarCom side, they simply had no interest in enabling sales beyond putting a simple form to email on the page. Drop in the non-CRM form. Done.  No results review.  Huh?

Time for a C-Level Counseling Session

I have concluded that in any sized organization, the solution has to mostly be top-down in terms of aligning goals and incentives of the two “siloed” departments –Sales and Marketing. EVEN… when in a smaller company there is one person with the title “VP of Sales and Marketing”. The joint title doesn’t mean the person with the title wants to break the log jam.

Top C-Level Execs have to recognize first the potential ROI boost, then tell Marketing their success goals include close rates, and Sales, and tell the Sales Team that their success objectives include dialing in website lead gathering performance.  Is it worth your time?  It is, if you want more closable leads in your pipeline.

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