Align your Marketing and Sales teams.
If a company was a living organism, marketing would be the brain while sales is the heart.
CRM is the body, keeping everything in one place.
Marketers think; consider everything, building status and dictating output while Sales teams are interested in trust and loyalty. These two crucial aspects of your living organism are closely interrelated, dependent on each other, but always working away from each other.
Still, the brain should always listen to the messages the heart sends - because what happens if they don’t? And what if the body's not there? Well, you can imagine.
Misalignment between Sales and Marketing leads to a poor strategy, frustration, and a downright poorly business organism.
In a business world saturated with data; where customer retention is essential and conversational customer relationships are cherished, Sales and Marketing alignment is the key to success.
Sales and Marketing alignment is only possible in CRM.
We’re CRM Lab, and this article explains how to synchronise Sales and Marketing in CRM.
Sales and Marketing alignment is best in CRM
The best place to align Sales and Marketing is under the same technological umbrella. A CRM system is that umbrella. Apart from a host of features that benefit your business - organisation, automation, bulk and automatic outreach, lead generation, and customer retention - CRM is also a place where users can collaborate, no matter which team they belong to.
Your business benefits massively…
- A single database for leads, clients, deals, and contacts. Every team member can access the same information
- Enhanced communication between teams - @mentions, shared inbox, no need to use multiple tools and explain the situation
- No duplicate contacts or actions eliminates embarrassing outreach mistakes
- Quicker deal closer via automated, standardised processes
- Better quality leads through better understanding of who is being sold to. Pinpoint information based on education and proactivity; better personalisation of outreach
- Enhanced productivity of employees
Modern CRM systems are clever little things. They can integrate with your existing tech stack, centralising data management from different sources and running the same processes you’re running now. NetHunt CRM is a Gmail CRM, meaning it blends effortlessly with Gmail and Google Workspace. It’s the perfect place to align a team who already uses Gmail and all its features.
Just ask Nina…
"We needed an easy solution to use in our sales and marketing departments and found that the NetHunt Gmail integrated CRM worked best for us. The pricing plan is more than affordable, and the support team is just amazing! They helped us to fully integrate CRM in just 2 Skype sessions. NetHunt tracks performance and keeps all the info about closed deals and revenue. It has been perfect for us so far."
🗣️ Nina Bohush on G2
It all started with a 14 day free trial! Start yours today.
5 steps to Sales and Marketing alignment
Sales and Marketing alignment doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a multi-step process of research, iteration, and potential reevaluation. This section of the article outlines those five steps towards sales and marketing alignment, starting before the implementation of a CRM system.
Step 1: Define company strategy and goals
Sales and Marketing share the ultimate aim of growth, but get there through different means.
Sales teams make monthly revenue plans, are driven by financial goals and (mostly) quantitative metrics such as deals closed and revenue made. On the other hand, marketing teams try to build an evergreen sales pipeline through good content. They do focus on some quantitative goals, we all do, but their work is made successful through qualitative research of marketing demand and potential customers.
We should always acknowledge the differences between these two arms of our business and they should always have individual and team goals. Still, successful alignment requires them to have a set of shared goals that they are accountable for together. In short: maintain separate goals for sales and marketing, but make sure they add up to the same shared goal.
For example both teams are interested in product demo activity metrics. Marketing creates segments based on lead needs, while Sales deliver the demo to make sure they’re informative and alluring based on those needs. An extensive knowledge of customers and appropriate delivery of content helps leads see the value in a product over the course of a demo.
It brings them closer to conversion.
Tip. Choose a North Star Metric for both teams to work towards. A North Star Metric is the guiding goal which Sales and Marketing should aim for. A North Star Metric metric needs to be three things: Leading to revenue, reflective of customer value, and measuring progress.
Step 2: Define buyer personas and appropriate messaging
Aligned buyer personas are a cornerstone of marketing and sales alignment, helping both teams better understand who they’re speaking and selling to.
- What’s the typical background of your average buyer?
- Do you know their specific needs from your product?
Buyer personas help your business understand both customers and prospective customers alike. That is. We assume that prospective customer segments are largely similar to existing customer segments. We can build reliable profiles for imaginary, realistic customers based on demographic and psychographic information, product needs, product wants, and potential objections.
Learn how to make a buyer persona in our recent article.
Depending on your business size and product offering, you can have any number of buyer personas, but it’s important not to over-segment because this can lead to diluted messaging and wasted energy.
There are different ways in which you can collate information for buyer personas…
- Look through your existing customer database and identify trends
- Use web forms to collect information from customers or leads in return for gated content, discounts, or other perks
- Have Sales explain their understanding of existing customer personas to Marketing
- Interview customers with Jobs to be Done (JTBD) questions
JTBD interviews are the most fruitful strategy for the development of buyer personas. They rely on a good relationship between customers and a business, where those customers are willing to give up their time to be interviewed by the Sales team. During that interview, there are a few techniques to get your business closer to buyer persona perfection…
- Avoid hypothetical questions, try to understand IRL product-usage
- Ask open-ended questions, start a conversation
- Don’t use a script, keep a prompt of information the Marketing team has asked for
- Find out problems, motivations, and obstacles of purchasing your product
- Specifically, ask why the customer chose your product and not a competitor
Step 3: Agree on a shared Sales and Marketing pipeline and content distribution
A sales pipeline is the structured breakdown of which activities Sales and Marketing teams should complete before they close a deal.
CRM technology centralises and visualises a sales pipeline for Sales and Marketing teams to share. The makeup of your sales pipeline depends entirely on your business. For the purposes of this article, we’ll put together a very general sales pipeline with four typical stages of a buyer journey.
Awareness ➡ Consideration ➡ Purchase ➡ Post-purchase
Awareness is the stage of the pipeline where a customer realises their problem or product-need. At this point, the Marketing team needs to place an emphasis on evergreen educational content such as blog posts and video marketing. SEO is an important tool at this stage, building awareness around your product. Content is based on information gathered by Sales teams during customer interviews.
Where did the need for our product arise from?
Consideration is the stage of the pipeline where customers look at different options for their chosen product. It’s the point in your journey where a prospect becomes a lead. Virtual product tours, expert guides, whitepapers, live webinars, live demos, and reviews. Again, this content is based around and focussed on information and answers uncovered by Sales during buyer persona creation.
Why did you choose us and not a competitor?
Well done, Sales and Marketing alignment is working well for your business. At this point, your customer requires onboarding content such as in-product directions and how-to guides for different features. An onboarding email sequence is perfect for onboarding new customers and should be based around simple getting-started instructions. The Product team should help with this.
Regular communication with customers - i.e. regular assessment calls - helps clarify where problems or hurdles lie with a product and what can be improved. Feedback is an important tool for any business. With data gathered by the Sales team during these calls, Marketing creates feedback loops which the product team can close. Your product gets better, your customer is happier.
What would you like to see improve in our product?
Finally, you should decide how leads entering the pipeline are shared amongst both teams. Which are marketing leads and which are sales? At this point we can use tags to label leads from different sources, campaigns, and segments to distribute them accordingly. This offers the added benefit of precise reporting on the performance of different campaigns.
In NetHunt CRM, we can segment our leads using these different tags so that content can be sent automatically to them. This way, they’ll receive personalised, bespoke content depending on who they are or which stage of the pipeline they’re currently in.
Step 4: Implement a culture of collaboration
When it comes to departmental needs, speaking the same language directly affects both Marketing and Sales efforts. Marketing should provide the Sales team with full information on the channel where the leads have interacted with a product and the touchpoints they’ve felt. Hence, the Sales team provides potential buyers with a tailored experience.
It goes beyond the odd chat by the water cooler, it requires a shift towards a collaborative working environment.
- Sales should be involved in the Marketing research process for better-informed content
- Sales and Marketing should hold regular meetings to discuss individual lead cases
- Marketing should attend sales demo and assessment calls to understand customer language
- Use collaborative CRM features such as mentions, tasks, and chat
Sharing information between the Marketing and Sales teams should be done in a common space. This chain of communication allows both teams to stay on the same page by organising data about marketing channels, contextualising lead outreach, and navigating tons of data.
Step 4: Place CRM at the heart of your business
Having read this far, you probably already got the picture. CRM is a pillar of Sales and Marketing alignment for several reasons.
A single CRM system unites Sales and Marketing databases as one, giving both teams access to the same information, being updated in real time. It automates processes, standardising Marketing and Sales activities and embedding them within the same processes. It enables sharing and collaboration with features such as Tasks, mentions, and Chat.
Finally, moving leads from a marketing pipeline to a sales one when they’re ready for purchase is easy, automatic even!
Finally, the correct CRM for your business brings your tech stack under the same tab through third-party integrations. This offers full clarity and visualisation of those processes across both teams. CRM implementation is a 10 step process…
- Identify your specific business needs
- Put together a defined list of CRM goals and objectives
- Budget for CRM implementation
- Shop around for the best CRM solutions for your business
- Assemble a core CRM team
- Decide which and migrate data
- Integrate the rest of your tool stack
- Onboard your team and train them to use CRM
- Customise the CRM to fit business workflows
- Track, measure, and report on your CRM implementation goals
With a CRM at the heart of the sales process, your funnel is visualised, and you can produce reports about pipeline health, calculating ROI based on lead source and expenditure.
NetHunt CRM is a Gmail CRM. It’s the perfect tool for alignment of sales and marketing operations with a useful mix of sales and marketing features. Collaborative tools such as mentions, Tasks, and chat integrations which can automate messaging are perfect for alignment. Its clean interface and customisable dashboard make an information space worth sharing!
Step 5: Measure alignment success and adjust if necessary
Upon CRM integration, you’ll find a world of reporting opportunities that capture all that lovely business data to create reliable, all-encompassing reports. CRM makes it easier for Sales and Marketing to gather data and assess the results of their activities. With everything in one place, it’s about as easy as it can be.
Do not get bogged down in complicated reporting. Start with basic performance indicators and move on to more complicated metrics where you see fit. Here are some metrics that indicate the success of Sales and Marketing alignment…
- Number of Generate Leads helps guage whether Sales and Marketing alignment positively effects lead generation within a given timeframe
- Conversion Rate shows the number of conversions in relation to the total number of visitors. It’s a direct indication of how your aligned sales process is working
- Customer Retention Rate is the percentage of loyal customers a company has retained over a certain period of time in your CRM. It’s an indication of your brand’s messaging for post-purchase customers
It’s all relevant though - specific to your business.
For example, if you’re aiming to improve revenue by 20%, the marketing team should work on the acquisition channels. At the same time, the sales team needs to either increase the average check or close more deals. The relevant metrics in this case would be total deals, conversion rate, and deal size.
A competitive Smarketing strategy combined with powerful and easy-to-use CRM improves the relationship between Sales and Marketing, minimising lost leads.
Implement, tailor, test, measure and repeat is a good idea in any business strategy, and is the golden rule for any company with their sites set of Sales and Marketing alignment.
Working together, sales and marketing can achieve new heights and hit business goals faster.
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