Sales and marketing. Two vitally important business strands, and two departments that must work incredibly closely together. Yet sales and marketing integration is a long-standing corporate challenge, as responsibilities for different stages in the journey from lead to customer are delicately balanced and can intermingle.
Part of the challenge is that commission-focused sales teams are (understandably and rightly!) focused on short-term, ready-to-spend buyers, while marketing (also understandably and rightly) tends to have more of a long-term focus, with campaigns and events planned out months ahead. Some ways of reducing the sales-marketing gap include forging stronger links between the individuals in both teams, ensuring that training and internal communications give absolute clarity on who does what, when and how.
However, sales and marketing integration needs to be further supported by technology. Today’s CRM systems and marketing applications are, indeed, designed to create more visibility between sales and marketing teams, allowing for greater information sharing and collaboration.
Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, for example, while ostensibly a platform through which marketing teams can manage their campaigns and sales nurturing processes, also focuses heavily on defining when a lead is ready to buy – that is, the exact moment when a lead should be passed from marketing to sales.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a CRM solution that allows sales teams to ‘adapt to the new customer journey’ by creating greater agility and visibility around every stage of the transition from lead to customer. And this, in turn, is of vital importance to marketing teams needing to see the bottom-line impact and ROI of each campaign or activity.
How does Dynamics Marketing and Dynamics CRM allow sales and marketing integration?
Creating this synergy and closing the sales-marketing gap can be divided into three different elements:
This area covers the foundation of sales and marketing activity. Sales teams scope out revenue targets, and marketing teams scope out different strands of activity, different campaigns, to help achieve these targets. Clearly, more visibility and collaboration between these two departments’ planning is beneficial, as both feed into each other.
Through Microsoft Dynamics platforms, multi-channel, multi-stage marketing campaigns can be planned out in order to engage precisely with key target buyers, with personalised messages ensuring that everyone is approached in the most appropriate way. Before potential customers are even contacted, sales are given the best start possible – and, crucially, visibility on how this start is being prepared. Because the earlier sales and marketing collaborate, the better the buy-in.
Intelligent execution of sales and marketing activity is achieved through constant visibility and real-time analysis of all activity. Moving from marketing to sales, this means that leads are evaluated and scored in real-time, ensuring that the highest priority leads are passed to sales at exactly the right moment. Sales gets ‘more leads and more leads of the right kind’. Moving back from sales to marketing, as sales reps get to work on turning hot leads into bona fide customers, marketing has full visibility of their sales cycle, and accesses smart data on lead performance for feeding back into campaigns to inform future plans.
Mobile and social selling also becomes a possibility through a CRM solution like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which not only provides sales with far more agility, but also allows marketing far closer analysis of the performance of various digital channels.In these ways, the execution of marketing campaigns becomes a constant two-way circuit of information, with both teams learning from the other, and even adjusting activity before a campaign is completed. Marketing and sales teams understand each other’s’ processes – as they’re happening – and can ensure this understanding feeds into their own activity.
Of course, each completed sale or marketing campaign doesn’t end with a signature on a dotted line. Performance analysis and evaluation is crucially important for both departments. Intelligent analytics on everything from the quality of leads sourced from different campaigns to the number of emails sent to close a particular deal can all be collected and fed straight back in to the next planning meeting – bringing us full circle.
While these three elements might seem like stages in a process – perhaps even a traditional lead-customer journey, they are in fact an interconnected web. Sales and marketing integration can be achieved, allowing intelligent and combined sales and marketing campaigns: Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics CRM gift sales and marketing teams with the transparency and real-time, intelligent information that they need to be truly agile – not waiting for the end of one cycle before starting another, but rather, constantly learning from current lead behaviour and campaign performance.
Speak to Prodware, a Microsoft Gold Partner about how Dynamics can improve your marketing and sales performance.