The Ultimate Guide: How to Leverage Integrated Sales and Marketing
A few years ago, Hubspot coined the term “smarketing” which captures the concept of integrated sales and marketing.
In a nutshell, it is a process of integrating your sales and marketing departments into a brute force of conversion ingenuity.
When sales and marketing efforts are integrated, they open up the doors for the growth of your business that would seem to be untapped if left to operate in separate divisions.
Why Integrated Sales And Marketing?
In most businesses, sales and marketing struggle to work well together. This is because there is a disconnect between the two groups.
A survey led by the Corporate Executive Board found that 87% of the terms sales & marketing use to describe regarding each other are negative.
While the sales department complains about not getting enough leads from marketing or the ones that they do get aren’t ready to buy, the marketing department argues that once the leads are passed to sales, it is like putting them to a black hole since there is no feedback or measurable return on investment.
But both teams understand that there is something unique about today’s selling environment. Today’s buyers don’t need the assistance of a salesperson like they did a decade ago.
They rely on informative content, product reviews and recommendations and case studies that marketing teams develop to nurture leads.
This increasingly blurry line between marketing and sales departments had given birth to the need of integrated sales and marketing.
What Is Integrated Sales And Marketing?
Integrated sales and marketing is a modern business strategy. The main objective here is to bring two business functions i.e. sales, and marketing, to work as a single team, with a common objective.
This integration will lead to mutual goals, shared definitions and metrics, and engaging smart technologies to modernize processes.
This integration can prove to be an asset to your business.
According to a 2011, report by Aberdeen Research, companies that are integrating marketing and sales experienced an average of 32% growth in their annual revenue as compared to a 7% decline among their less integrated competitors.
According to the TAS Group research, with integrated sales and marketing teams, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.
Integrated Sales And Marketing Funnel
For integrated sales and marketing, both teams should understand where a lead appears in the Buyer’s Journey.
This way they will be able to recognize how far along the lead has come and therefore better target their efforts.
This will also help them discern what sort of problems the lead is experiencing, what solution will work for him/her, and if there could be any problems in solidifying a sale.
This could be achieved by a depiction of the sales funnel and understanding the roles of both departments. The terms for the sales funnel must also be agreed upon early on.
Brand Awareness & Website Visitors
At the top of the marketing funnel, this stage is where someone for the first time is interacting with your brand.
It could be via your website or a promotional campaign with missed call marketing. The sales team does not have as much responsibility at this stage of the process.
Interest & Conversion
At this point, the website visitor’s interest has peaked and it’s time to educate them on the product or service to give them more reasons to interact further with the company.
The prospect is showing interest by engaging with your brand, but they haven’t made much effort to further investigate.
Consideration & Leads
At this stage, the prospect is now seriously considering your product or service and wants to learn more by engaging with the company.
For the sales team, these individuals have turned into leads as they are to further nurture the leads and engage with them.
The onus is now shifting from the marketing team over to the sales team.
Intent & Nurturing
At this stage, responsibility is placed on the sales team to convert that prospect into a potential customer.
However, to be effective, sales teams must enforce a form of lead scoring to determine which leads are interested and which are not.
They must proceed to educate the prospect by using multiple channels to accomplish this from social media to email marketing.
Evaluation & Proposal
At this stage, proposals are submitted and buyers are evaluating them. In the mindset of the buyer, they evaluate their options by comparing other proposals from competitors.
The sales team, on the other hand, must go through its own ‘discovery’ phase to work out what’s essential to the buyer so that it’s being addressed in both the proposal and the sales pitch.
This is the final stage where the buyer makes this decision.
At this stage, there is a convergence between the sales and marketing funnels since all the hard work placed by both the teams’ results at this stage.
Both sales and marketing teams have done their job in improving the conversions at each stage of the funnel utilizing their skills while implementing tools like lead management system CRM that allows them to be effective.
Integrated Sales and Marketing Strategy
For integrated sales and marketing to work, your business needs people, processes and technology to work together and support one another in the quest for mutual goals. Let’s begin:
- First and foremost, does your Marketing team know:
- Which leads to nurture
- How to segment
- Which leads to pass to the sales team
- Which leads can convert to opportunities and customers
- Which marketing channels and content perform best
Check if your sales team is aware of:
- Which leads are opportunities and should be followed up
- The detailed history of each lead
- That cold leads will be nurtured
Ready to design an integrated sales and marketing plan in your business? Here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Conduct An Audit
The first step on the road to integrated sales and marketing management is to conduct an audit to thoroughly understand the systems that you already have in place and how they are actually used.
You need to find out whether your lead management system CRM software and Marketing Automation are aligned properly or inconsistently used.
Since data is at the very heart of sales and marketing integration, it is important that you check data quality and correct compatibility issues, if any, in these systems.
One simple way to avoid this and to ensure quality data is to choose an integrated sales and marketing tool like Teleduce.
What should you check here?
- Correct use of individual data fields – i.e. lifecycle
- Uniform population of mandatory data fields
- Adherence to sales and marketing data guidelines, if any
Another important thing to check is whether your sales and marketing teams can effectively manage every lead throughout the entire lifecycle and across all marketing channels.
Your system should offer a single view of lead or customer which will enable accurate dialogue between the two teams.
This further allows smart decision making, effective marketing campaigning like an email marketing campaign and timely sales engagement.
Bonus: Check this guide on the best email marketing practices for small businesses.
Step 2: Make Plans, Set Goals, Track KPIs Together
Many times, sales and marketing teams use terms that have no solid definition which leads to confusion when attempting integration between both departments.
For integrated sales and marketing, make sure all the terms, plans, goals and targets are integrated too.
From Intercom’s Jeff Serlin and Brian Kotlyar podcast about sales and marketing alignment, they talk about an effective way to gain integration between departments which is to focus on revenue goals rather than sales or marketing goals.
Here are a few questions that your marketing and sales team could analyze together to integrate their goals:
- What is the mutual goal for this week/month/quarter?
- What are the department-specific KPIs to strive for?
- How to define or score quality leads? ( This will help reduce disagreements over low-quality leads.)
- Are there any specific situations that are causing the teams to work against each others’ interests?
Step 3: Internal Notification
When new MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) are generated, the sales team should be notified as this will enable timely sales outreach and maximize your close rate.
It is not possible for the sales team to monitor every single lead looking for the right time to make contact.
This is where marketing automation plays a crucial role in sending internal notification emails. These emails should give the appropriate salesperson all the pertinent information on qualified leads such as:
- Name and contact information
- Recent actions
- Conversion from marketing channels like missed call service, IVR services, etc
- Key information gathered through form responses
- Links to their lead management system CRM record.
Step 4: Use Assignment Rules
Most integrated sales and marketing CRM like Teleduce supports the implementation of assignment rules.
These can be used to assign leads to the right salesperson based on certain criteria such as region, industry vertical, company size, product interest or others.
Step 5: Use lead Scoring
Lead scoring sums up lead actions to measure their engagement and sales-readiness.
This can be used to trigger your internal notifications. So, establish a lead scoring system by assigning points to actions.
Focus on the big things and use lead scoring to highlight engaged leads that may be sales-ready.
Step 6: Communication
Effective communication can get sales and marketing on the same page which will maximize the impact of your efforts to integrate them.
When it comes to communicating, the onus falls on the marketing team. They should promptly share all the campaigns like email marketing, SMS marketing, etc and content assets like ebooks, whitepaper etc (if possible, should be shared before they are launched) with the sales team.
This will allow them to speak knowledgeably to the leads. Both teams should also meet frequently to develop a profound understanding of each other’s areas of business.
They should meet to review results, improve processes and plan future campaigns.
Choose the Best Integrated Sales and Marketing tool – Teleduce
Integrated sales and marketing management meaning bringing sales and marketing teams to work together which is paramount to the growth of your business.
However, by using the above guidelines and by using an effective integrated sales and marketing tool like Teleduce, you can significantly improve your business bottom-line and also create a better working environment.
By implementing marketing and using Teleduce, you can get a useful overview of how your customers interact with your brand and how they reach a purchasing decision.
This will further enable you to create smarter marketing campaigns and improve your overall customer service.
Increase your business revenue by using an integrated sales and marketing approach.
Try Teleduce today!