Sales & Marketing - Closing the Gap with AMP


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A lot has been written about this subject in the recent years, and even as studies on the subject conclude that marketing-sales alignment is imperative for company success, companies are wrestling with various challenges when it comes to implementing it. Learn why aligning sales and marketing is important, how sales-marketing alignment can benefit your company, and how you can go about achieving it.

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Sales & Marketing - Closing the Gap with AMP

  2. 2. Sales-Marketing Alignment—An IntroductionSales and marketing alignment is o ne topic that commonly comes up in any discussio nrelated to improving marketing and sales effectiveness. Traditionally, businessesfunctioned with the single goal of selling. The Sales function was the core of allbusiness operatio ns. The role of a traditio nal marketer didn’t extend beyond draftingcreative advertisements or copywriting. Now, prospects are at the core of anybusiness and all other corporate functions revolve around them. CRM collects criticaldata, marketing generat es leads and tracks client and prospect behavior, and everysalesperson acquires critical input from prospects about their needs. Sales -marketing alignment is the recognitio n that all of this data must be continuouslyintegrated if the business is to resp ond effectively to its core mission: satisfyingcustomer needs. A lo t has been written about this subject in the recent years, andeven as studies on the subject conclude that marketing -sales alignment is imperativefor company success, companies are wrest ling with various challenges when it comesto implementing it. This whitepaper explains why aligning sales and marketing isimportant, how it can benefit your company, and how you can go about achieving it.Why the sales-marketing alignment is imperative?A study by Aberdeen Group revealed 88% of companies that perform best are theones which implement closed loop marketing and leverage technology to aid itsmarketing functions. For a company to be able to providevalue-added services to customers, it is essential that bothmarketing and sales integrate the knowle dge they acquirefrom their day –to-day interaction with the market, andthen use it to continuously refine e ach prospectinteraction. Sales -marketing alignment bridges theinformatio n gap betwee n marketing and sales. Forexample, suppose the marketing team knows the exactmode and time of communication a prospect prefers. It willbe able to easily pass that data to the sales team . Theprocess of supporting this on -going information flow is theheart of true sales -marketing alignment.A study of UK-based B2B firms reinforced that companies with po sitive collaborationbetween their sales and marketing functions performed better than those without it.Here are some key reasons.Powerful buyers: Buyers today are more informed and in control of the buyingprocess than before. Thanks to the internet, your buyers have instant access to allthe informatio n they need before making a purchase decision —including informatio nabout your competito rs. This sce nario warrants that marketing is in close -contactwith prospects from day one. Marketing must be aware of every website visit, everydownload, and every form sign -up by the prospect. Even after the prospect is passedon to the sales team as qualified lead, the marketing team must be aware of every
  3. 3. prospect move that will help them determine the prospect’s position in the salescycle.Competition: With competitionbecoming more intense, companies arelooking for ways to build a betterrelationship with their buyers. A studyby MathMarketing concluded that thebusinesses with greatest degree of salesand marketing alignmen t grow faster,close 38% more deals and lose 36%fewer customers than their non -alignedcounterparts. Better marketing and salesalignment enable companies to enhancecustomer experience, allowing thebusiness to approach prospects with relevant offers and communication materia ls—at the right time. This wouldn’t be possible if marketing is not cued in on theinteractions between sales and the prospect.Increased pressure to improve ROI: Both sales and marketing are under a lot ofpressure to cut costs and improve revenue gener ation. By aligning sales andmarketing functio ns accurately, companies can improve marketing ROI, and boostsales effectiveness. A research by CMO Council and Wall Street Journal revealed thatsales leverages less than 50% of the materials created by marke ting while spendingaround 40% of its time on preparing buyer -specific sales materials; and only 20% ofsalespersons are actually successful in doing so. An accurate sales -marketingalignment would mean that marketing is always in the loop as far as sales and buyerrequirements are concerned, making the right sales materials available at the righttime.—thus reducing wastage costs on marketing front while improving saleseffectiveness by allowing salespersons to concentrate on what they do best —selling.What does the sales and marketing alignment do?Today, marketing means a two -way communication between the customer and thebusiness. It is no longer just announcing that you exist . It is engaging the prospect ina conversatio n with you and adding value. It is about building a real relationship withthe prospect rather than trying to sell them something. For example, the role of thesalesperson doesn’t end the moment a sale is made. It exte nds beyond sale intocustomer satisfaction and discovering how to anticipate future needs. Every post -salemeeting provides the entire enterprise with new data to develop better solutions tocustomer needs.In today’s business environment, marketing and sales cannot function mutuallyexclusive of each other. This is where sales -marketing alignment comes into thepicture. For a business to be able to reach its ultimate aim of customer satisfaction,an integration of sales and marketing is essential. Sales -marketing alignment allowsfor sales and marketing to come together to create a superior customer experience.
  4. 4. Simply put, sales -marketing alignment invo lves bringing the two core functions of abusiness —sales and marketing -- onto the same platform. Thi s seems logical , giventhat ultimately , sales and marketing are both working towards a single aim —revenuegeneration for the company. However, more often than not, each of these functionsadopts a different approach towards this aim. A study by the CMO con cluded that30% sales groups polled believed marketing is not in sync with the prospects andhence ignores key areas such as customer acquisitio n and retention. In fact, only 7%of the respondents said that sales and marketing worked to gether very effectively.Sales -marketing alignment is all about bridging the gap between these two functionsso that traditional ‘Marketing vs. Sales’ conflicts are not flagged off.What is the key ingredient in sales -marketing alignment? The key ingredient in sales -marketing alignment is prospect insight —which iro nically is also one of the key challenges. M arketing doesn’t have access to real-time data with respect to prospect interaction with the company. There’s no way for marketing to assess the prospect’s positio n in the sales cycle or to get updates about the most recent interactio n prospects had with sales. This affects the sales team in two ways: 1. Marketing passes barely qualified leads — which otherwise should have been nurtured, to the sales team2. Marketing sends irrelevant communication to the prospect or generates sales materials that are not of use to the sales team for that particular stage of negotiationSales spend too much time on leads that are probably not even ready to purchase.End result? Sales is frustrated. First, by the lead quality and then by insufficientmarketing support.In order to bring abo ut a seamless integration of its marketing and sales functions,these streams must have as single and complete view of the prospect.What are the benefits of sales-marketing alignment?Better marketing support for sales: By aligning sales and marketing, businessescan enjoy better marketing support for sales. A real -time, 360° view of prospectsand their interactions with the business will help marketing become proactive.Marketing will be able to anticipate prospect -related sales requirements and offersales the kind of support they need, on -demand.
  5. 5. Enhanced buyer experience: Well-synchronized sales and m arketing functionsenable marketing to provide the sales teams with personalized sales materials thatenhance buyer experience through a higher degree of relevance, consistency andpersonalization.Improved lead quality and shorter sales cycles: With a 360° real -time view ofprospects, marketing will be a ble to decipher which prospects are truly sales-readyand which ones need to be nurtured. As a result, only the best leads would bepassed on to sales, while marketing will continue to cultivate others till they arebetter qualified. From the sales perspective, improved lead quality leads to shortersales cycles, as the ti me taken to close a deal is shorter.Better Lead Management : Sales and marketing alignment promotes better leadmanagement by bridging the gap between the parties involved in lead creation andfollow-up. So, if 25% of the leads provided by marketing don’t turn into sales, thecompany has access to relevant data to evaluate where in the ensuing sales processa lead failed.Improved Marketing & Sales ROI: Real time prospect insight provides information thathelps marketing focus its efforts and resources on the most likely prospects , as aresult , increasing the returns on marketing and sales investments .Personalization: By bridging the gap betw een lead creation and follow -up, closed -loop marketing yields data that will allow every subsequent follow -up with a specificcontact to become more focused . The company will be able to adopt a higher degreeof personalizatio n in its marketing efforts and product offerings.Apart from those mentioned above, studies cite various other benefits of marketing -sales alignment including increased re v enue and profit generation, decreasedmarketing and sales costs, and better custo mer retention and acquisition .How can AMP help you bring about sales and marketing alignment?AMP allows you to bring about sales -marketing alignment in the following areas
  6. 6. Multi-channel marketing & sales materials creationOn-demand sales materials creation for multiple marketing channels: AMPempowers your sales team to generate the sales materials of their choice the instantthey need them. Your salespersons will be able to create personalized salespresentations, HTML e-mails, social media fan pages and even personal websites —without depending o n marketing.Lesser pressure on your marketing team: Enabling sales team by create salesmaterials on demand takes the pressure of your marketing team. Marketing cancreate templates for every piece of sales collateral, and the salespersons can editthe templates to add a personal touch as and when needed.As a result, your marketing team will be able to support more requests from sales,and serve the sales team with the sales m aterials they need on -demand. Not justthat, by giving editing rights to sales, AMP ensures that the deliverable frommarketing is actually usable by sales, while the template -base, database -centricapproach ensures that your salespeople don’t lose time in making the edits.Brand managementDoes giving your salespeople the capacity to generate and edit their sales materialscause you to worry about your brand becoming distorted? AMP’s brand managementcapabilities ensure that your brand is not compromised when your sales teamcustomizes their materials. AMP allows your marketing team to retain control overthe brand elements. Your sales team can only edit the areas your marketing teamallows.This ensures that your brand is never a victim of the gap between your marketingand sales teams.
  7. 7. Smart sales prospecting & improved marketing support for salesAMP allows your sales and marketing teams to get behind the scenes with theprospects. Most of the guesswork that go es into creating and designing effectivemarketing and sales campaigns is eliminated. You get a solid foundation based on apanoramic view of information about custo mer preferences and market taste. A 360°view of prospects means your marketing and sales teams know each interaction yourcompany has with its leads. Examples incl ude: website visit details such as pagesvisited, duration of visit, links clicked; interaction through e -mails or social mediachannels; webinars and whitepaper downloads.Your sales and marketing teams get a holistic, single view of your leads. Sincemarketing shares sales ’ view of the lead, they are on -target when it comes toproviding marketing support for sales. Not just that, the 360° view of the prospectsmake cross-selling and up-selling easy. Your sales perso ns can stay in contact withtheir clie nts even after the deal is closed.The benefit for marketing —being appraised of every lead movement, which enablesthem to revive old leads by acting in the right manner, at the right time.Improved marketing & sales focus through smart contact segmentationAMP automatically categorizes your leads into different segments , based on pre -defined conditions set by your marketing/sales teams. This auto matic segmentationallows your marketing and sales teams to identify who their top contacts are,allowing them to focus on leads that are most -likely to provide business.Smart contact segmentation helps marketing and sales focus on the most importantleads. This improves your sales effectiv eness and marketing ROI because theresources—time, dollars a nd energy are spent only where positive results areexpected.
  8. 8. Quality lead generationBy giving your marketing team 360° view of its prospects, AMP helps them generatequality leads. Your marketing team can judge the lead’s quality based on itsinteractions with your company. And not just that, AMP also has scientific lead -scoring capabilities that lend a tangible element to lead quality.AMP ensures that your marketing and sales teams have a mutually agreed upondefinitio n of lead quality. It also ensures that the lead scoring process is closelyconnected with prospect attributes and behavior. That means no more guess workfrom marketing on lead type —no more complaints about poor quality leads fromsales!Social media automationAMP helps your marketing team create custom Facebook fan pages, profile picturesand twitter backgrounds —tools that help your marketing team enhance your onlinebrand presence while connecting with your prospects and customers. AMP alsoautomates the process of soc ial media updates, automatically posting the scheduledupdate at the scheduled time.One of the reasons for the sales -marketing disconnect is because marketing isconsidered to be far -removed from on-field activities and feedback. Through socialmedia, AMP offers an exciting opportunity for your marketing team to get real -timefeedback from the ultimate source —your customers.
  9. 9. Marketing & sales campaign effectiveness measurementWith AMP, your marketing and sales teams have mutual access to customer analytics.Critical prospect data is no longer quarantined within individual corporate units. Allinformatio n is available for the development of effective marketing and sales plansrespectively . AMP allows you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing andsales campaigns. Your marketing team will know what works and what doesn’t. AMPgenerates reports including prospect -customer based report, campaign based report,reports based o n marketing/sales material types and more!When marketing has a clear view of what is successful and what is not, it doesn’thave to wait for sales to tell it to them. Leveraging the analytics, marketing canimmediately make changes to the necessary sa les presentations or other salesmaterials so that they yield better results —even before sales can complain of thembeing ineffective.Sales -marketing alignment calls for processes, technology and systems that break allwalls between the marketing and sa les teams and the prospect. A holistic prospectview, real-time pro spect and sales insight, coupled with strong, consistentcommunication channels can help businesses bridge the gap between marketing andsales, bringing about the much so ught sales-marketing alignment.
  10. 10. For the past 14 years, MindMatrix, In c. has focused on alignment of salesand marketing functions for over 34,000 sales and marketing professionalsworldwide. Unique to the industry, MindMatrix offers Next -GenerationMarketing Automation software on a single unified platform for Sales andMarketing. Our solutions bring about a seamless integration of the two keyfunctions helping our clients derive the maximum benefit from theirinvestment in sales and marketing.Our product offerings for sales include on-demand sales materials creation,lead prospecting, and smart lead management. On the marketing front, oursolutions cover demand generation, brand management, quality leadgeneration, lead nurturing, social media automation, lead scor ing, andmarketing materials creation across print and digital media.