This past Sunday, I sat in our quiet, (relatively) empty office preparing content for the upcoming Board of Directors meeting presentation. Looking at the blinking cursor on the empty marketing slide which I’m supposed to fill with a summary of findings and actions over the last sixty days, it struck me that the last two months have been the biggest whirlwind of my career to date.
How can I sum it all up in a couple of slides? I couldn’t.
I ended up with seven slides completely overstuffed with content in tiny font. The beauty of a blog post though is I can leave out the details about SEO and SEM, events and campaigns, and focus on what changes we have implemented over the last couple of months that have really impacted the team.
I mentioned in my post a month ago that “most companies experience, to some degree, a divide between sales and marketing and we at Salesfusion, becoming Sugar Market, believe that divide can be narrowed with great technology and great people.” I’ll work off of that statement and add that the divide can be narrowed with great processes. This took shape over the last few months here in two ways:
- A new CRM integration
- A renewed marketing focus on sales metrics
Earlier this year, our Sales and Business Development team fully documented their new sales plan and subsequently implemented a new CRM to fully support the processed they had defined. This was a great jumping off point for renewed look at how how marketing was driving and surfacing leads to sales and how sales was sending leads back to marketing to nurture.
The technology proved to be the easy part. Our platform has the same fundamental architecture as a CRM which allows for seamless powerful integration to CRMs.
This effort was not about the technical, but the functional:
- What is an SQL to a sales person?
- What is an SQL to a marketer?
- What kind of leads would our sales development reps be calling on and with what message?
- How does that impact the campaigns marketing is building?
- Are they driving the right kinds of conversations?
- What about leads sales sends back to remarket?
- What activity really should be measured in our primary lead score models?
- Which fields matter to who in either platform?
These are all questions we ask each other and ourselves each day. I’ve had the same conversations at previous companies and, inevitably, when you are at a table filled with either salespeople or marketers, you are sure to find some strong opinions. But I’ve never quite had the conversation fully and regularly with sales and marketing sitting across from each other in every meeting working these things out together.
Now, newer more formalized processes have lead to an even better technical integration of our own platform to CRM and a functional process that ‘just works’ from top of the funnel to the bottom.
The marketing team is also undergoing increased training on the new processes as well as ongoing conversations about pipeline, revenue, and targets. It can sometimes be too easy for a marketer to sit back and enjoy the success of a campaign with a higher than average open rate. These wins are certainly important! But what sometimes is missing is a connection to real revenue creation and real ROI on marketing efforts.
Our marketing team is trained on the end to end sales process. How do we go about demos? What makes a great opportunity and what opportunities take longer to close? We’ve found that when everyone on the marketing team has a strong understanding of what its like to nurture a prospect into a customer, they look at their work in a new light.
That integration focused sales slick makes so much more sense now – the designer putting it together can imagine right where it fits into the sales conversation.
A marketing team covers so many crucial areas, such as lead generation, website management, client communications, branding, etc. The real success, and perhaps most exciting takeaway for me as I reflect on the last two months, is the way two teams have come even more closely together. In fact marketing is literally moving over to the sales side of the office. We’re closing that chasm in our own organization both literally and figuratively. Its exciting to see the fruits as our teams, technology, and processes are more integrated and aligned than ever.