With the recent introduction of self-service in the retail space in South Africa, businesses would be well-advised to consider a buyer’s user experience throughout the sales process. To do so effectively, businesses need to seamlessly integrate sales and marketing functions.
A collaborative approach between sales and marketing will heighten the impact of marketing content. On the other hand, salespeople will improve their personal brands and build reputations as thought leaders.
With seamless integration, we can interchangeably call the mix ‘Sales Marketing’ or ‘Marketing Sales’. On one hand, sales consists of interpersonal interactions such as meetings, telephone calls and networking to get prospective customers while on the other hand, marketing encompasses advertising, promotions, public relations etc so as to reach and persuade prospective customers.
The two are then joined together by combining insights, planning, execution and analytics to drive faster growth of customers. According to Stats #44, it takes approximately eight contacts or more with a single prospect before the average sale is closed. Prospective clients normally move through the sales cycle from cold to warm until a sale is won. That’s why a union of forces between marketing and sales is greatly needed.
Since sales and marketing are reliant on each other, optimising their integration seamlessly involves a lot of things. Here are some of them:
You need to identify common goals within the two functions. Sales people want to acquire more clients while markers want to increase their reach in marketing. For instance, a common ground could be social media marketing. This helps increase reach for marketers while also generating leads for the sales people. You therefore need to create an integrated marketing/sales funnel from a lead generation perspective where each party commits to achieving their funnel goals. This interdependence will create positive synergy which results in a win-win solution.
2.Have a two-handed relationship
Hubspot calls this kind of a relationship ‘Smarketing’. Smarketing in this case is realised when a customer is passed between the two different functions. For example, salespeople can help marketers to do advertising campaigns and thereby widen their reach in the process. Smarketing kicks in when leads generated from the advertising campaigns are passed on to the sales people. This means there will be a bigger team spearheading the campaigns compared to when marketers are doing it alone and also a bigger team identifying good sales leads which the sales people can later convert to customers.
- Support your team
The kind of relationship where teams pass on results to each other is a great multiplier of productivity. As a team you need to regularly check on the performance of each other. Marketers can provide salespeople the right support they need to follow up on leads effectively. Salespeople, in turn regular constructive feedback to marketers on how to get better lead quality. Constructive criticism is good for enhancing effectiveness of both functions.
4.Automate your systems
The evolution of digital marketing and CRM (customer relationship management) brought in the era of accountability through automation.
According to a study conducted by LinkedIn, the best-performing salespeople are more likely to use a multilayered technology approach. This makes the seamless integration of sales and marketing even more efficient. CRM is a software with a broad set of applications that are designed to help businesses manage customer data and customer interaction, access business information, automate sales, marketing and customer support and also manage employees and vendors.