Removing Silos Between Sales and Marketing
Communication and collaboration are key to working as a team. This is especially true for marketing and sales departments.
Without a unified vision for how to find solutions, make decisions and achieve business goals, the process of engaging customers throughout the buyer journey becomes a siloed one. However, when marketing and sales efforts are well aligned, it translates to more leads, deals closed and higher customer retention rates.
What Challenges Create Silos?
The end goal for both sales and marketing is to increase profit for their organization. However, their methods of achieving that goal may vary. In sales, it’s simple: did a department reach its sales targets or not? Marketing is more opaque, and it can be difficult to quantify the correlation between the department’s promotion, brand and advertising efforts, as well as client acquisition.
Research shows that 76% of marketers who collaborate with sales teams say they understand the customer journey better, with 71% reporting they’re able to more effectively address customer needs as a result.
While it’s an admirable ambition, not every organization has successfully achieved cross-functional departments. Far too often, functions end up in silos, with departments, units and processes working independently of each other.
There are a number of digital tools that are helpful in increasing efficiencies across functions and in working with customers. For example, Marketo’s1 Sales Connect tool increases sales productivity by providing marketing teams with visibility into sales initiatives, allowing them to drive more personalized customer engagements. And there’s no shortage of ways to streamline team communications. For instance, Slack1 enables seamless communication between teams through designated in-app messaging channels, making work simpler and more productive.
Thirty-one percent of business leaders make new, digital workplace tools accessible for employees and expect them to lead to improvements in workplace processes.
When companies tighten their spending, this may result in even more pressure to achieve results. On the marketing side, tighter budgets require justifying each initiative; for sales, it can mean fewer follow-ups. Each function wants to demonstrate its value to the company, but cuts in spending can cause roadblocks in efficiency.
57% of CEOs
are prepared to invest more in marketing, but budgets are at risk if marketers prioritize awareness over ROI
How Businesses Can Remove Silos From Their Organizations
Automation increases efficiency. Organizations can automate tasks such as email blasts and newsletters, to focus on more in-depth campaigns that target the right people. According to research conducted by Invesp, marketing automation can increase conversion rates by as much as 77%. Before starting with automation, it’s important to define campaign objectives and consider audience personas. The groups are not identical, so messaging for each must be tailored accordingly. It’s also best to start small before working up to more complex, multi-layered campaigns.
Even though organizations are using automation more frequently, salespeople still maintain the strongest relationships with customers. Salespeople must communicate with marketing in order for a business to thrive. Sales representatives can help answer these key questions:
- What do customers like about the company’s product or service?
- What are they concerned about?
- What were the best and worst parts of the sales process?
Annual spend for marketing automation tools is expected to reach $25.1BN by 2023
By understanding audience personas and sharing that information across functions, an organization can better focus its efforts on the right people. It can also use a few other methods to bring more cohesion across the business:
- Bring marketing and sales together to share common business goals and report progress to leadership regularly. This frequent face-to-face action helps remove the isolation caused by silos.
- Create a “smarketing” department that combines the functions of sales and marketing to help keep both sides accountable. For example, an organization may provide incentives for marketing to contribute a certain amount of qualified leads into the sales pipeline.
- Develop lead scoring to determine a lead’s “sale-readiness.” This is effective in strengthening the revenue cycle, but only if sales and marketing work in tandem to develop the scorecard.
- Utilize account-based marketing, whereby a smaller number of key prospects or customer accounts receive personalized marketing strategies instead of a larger, more general campaign.
- Align marketing content with sales-identified segments to improve the quality of targets and leads.
Marketing and sales functions should collaborate on creating buyer personas, developing case studies, product digest emails and product demos or videos. Finally, functions across an organization should participate in offline or social media events together. Breaking the silo mentality requires a unified vision, common goals and of course – more communication. Sales and marketing are two of the most important pillars that contribute to a brand’s success.
When they work as a unit, the entire company benefits.
Demand Gen Report, “The Rise of Marketing Automation – Statistics and Trends” 2018
Dimension Data, “The Digital Workplace Report: Transforming Your Business,” 2017
Gartner, “The CMO Spend Survey” 2018-2019
HubSpot, “The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2019”
LinkedIn, “How Marketers Win When They Align with Sales,” March 20, 2018
LinkedIn, “Sales and Marketing’s Big Challenges for 2019” 2018
Marketo Sales Connect, 2019
Microsoft, “2017 State of Global Customer Service Report” 2017
1The discussion of specific companies in this document is not an endorsement of nor does it suggest an affiliation with these companies.