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Last year I surprised my husband for his birthday with a trip to the Grand Canyon. I had been there before, but to watch his face as he gazed upon the enormous gap made me feel like I was experiencing it for the first time. It’s impossible to appreciate the massiveness of the canyon unless you are on one rim gazing over at the other side. A gap as large as that is beautiful when it’s a national park, but can be extremely daunting when it represents the distance between sales and marketing. Luckily, there are steps your company can take to bridge this gap and improve your customer experience.
Departments Still Work in Silos
Aligning sales and marketing to improve customer experience isn’t a new concept, yet studies show that companies still struggle to do it. Sales and marketing continue to work in silos, as depicted below:
The Customer Benefits When We Work Together
Bruce Tempkin, a leading customer experience consultant, defines customer experience as “the perception that customers have of their interactions with an organization.” Customers constantly interact with sales and marketing during the buying process, so when the two departments have conflicting messages it negatively affects the customer experience.
When companies succeed in aligning sales and marketing, they are able to convert prospects into satisfied customers. According to research by Deloitte, satisfied customers tell on average 4 to 5 others about their positive experiences, and therefore act as advocates for the company with which they had the positive experience.
In addition to improving customer experience, there are other benefits to bridging the gap. Sirius Decisions found that sales and marketing alignment delivers up to 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability. So how can companies bridge the gap?
How to Begin
Form a small team representing sales, marketing, and executives. This team will ensure that sales and marketing both have a voice and that everyone agrees with the steps being taken. Once you can get sales and marketing collaborating and invested, closing the gap will be a much smoother process.
Have your core team identify each department’s measurable goals. Dive deeper than saying “we want to increase leads” by putting a number and timeline on the goal. This step is also where you can create common definitions that will affect both sales and marketing, such as what constitutes a qualified lead.
“Sales and marketing need to align at the beginning to achieve a common end goal.”
—Oracle Marketing Cloud customer at a Modern Marketing Mashup
Sales and marketing need to have a consistent and complete view of your customers in order to create a positive experience for them. How many times have you bought something from a company and then gotten an email from it trying to sell you what you already bought? That inconsistency and frustration is eliminated if you create a single source of information.
“Get your data together and remove silos. Understand who your customer is, then begin advanced marketing initiatives." —Oracle Marketing Cloud customer at a Modern Marketing Mashup
Provide integrated customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation tools to enable sales and marketing to share a complete view of the customer. Having these tools integrated will provide better insight into the performance of each department.
Having practical insight for both marketing and sales leaders is essential in order to make adjustments. For example, if you see a high number of potential customers unsubscribing from a campaign, you can adjust the campaign to make it more personalized. By having integrated CRM and marketing automation tools, you can track campaign performance from lead to opportunity to order, and accurately measure marketing’s ROI.
Closing the sales and marketing gap is an ongoing process that may happen in phases. Start today by having a conversation with sales, marketing, and your leadership team. Work together to create your plan to better align sales and marketing to improve your customer experience.