How to align Marketing and Sales using marketing automation

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Marketing and Sales teams have – in theory at least – a common goal. Both teams play a key role in the process of generating leads and turning those leads into new customers.

In reality, the two departments are often siloed and misaligned. Here we look at why this happens, why it’s so important to fix it, and how marketing automation can help. 

Why Marketing and Sales may be out of kilter

There are several reasons why Sales and Marketing teams may not be as closely aligned as they should be.

  • Expectations around content and responsibilities 
  • Lead tracking processes are unhelpful or lacking
  • Long-term Marketing goals vs short-term Sales ones don’t mix

It’s easy to see how common aims get lost among these differing objectives and performance measures.

Why is it so important that Sales and Marketing are aligned?

Aligned processes should provide a seamless customer journey, from initial contact via marketing content, social media or other broad-brush marketing activity at the top of the sales funnel, through more segmented and personalised contact in the middle of the funnel, to the act of closing the sale.

But if this is disjointed, Marketing activity and content has a high level of wastage, with Sales teams struggling to engage with cold leads.

If it works well, Marketing activity has a high ROI: it is focused on the audience the Sales team is targeting, with relevant content based on the audience’s known needs. The sales process is shorter, closing deals faster and bringing in essential revenue earlier.

The business benefits of marketing and sales collaboration are clear.  A study by the Aberdeen Group claims that companies with strong Sales and Marketing alignment enjoy 20% annual revenue growth. 

How can marketing automation help?

  • It makes collaboration easier                                                                                        

    Automated workflow systems make it easier for teams to work together.  Collaborative reviewing involves the Sales team in Marketing content at an early stage, enabling them to provide input and make sure content is relevant to their contacts. It gives Sales colleagues early insight into Marketing campaign themes, maximising their potential to take content to clients and prospects in a meaningful way. (Our blog on Why content marketing is important to sales teams has more on this.) 

  • It gets content to market quicker  
                                                                                                                   
    If one of Sales’ gripes is that Marketing produces insufficient material for them to take to prospects, marketing automation has huge benefits. Inefficient content approval processes can delay production and slow down time to market. This is particularly true in regulated firms, where the need for Compliance approval adds an additional layer of review. Speeding up the production process gets content to market quicker, so Sales teams can use it to its full extent. (Read more about this in our blog on How to reduce the time you take to produce marketing materials.)

  • Sales materials are on-brand and accurate  
                                                                                                 
    If Marketing are seen by Sales as ‘brand police’ – continually finding fault with sales presentations and proposals – it’s no surprise that the two teams are at odds. Automation makes it easy for your Sales colleagues to produce on-brand pitch documents and bids.

          Lock down approved content, ensure accurate corporate data is easily accessed, and make it easy to find the latest brand assets. Do this
          and you simplify life for your Sales team – they can get the content they need to get pitches in on deadline. You don’t need to be brand ‘Big
          Brother’ and everyone is happier.

  • Automation helps continuously improve your Sales and Marketing processes  
                                   
    A good automation system will have user-friendly reports and MI that help you and your Sales team to identify what works, what doesn’t and how to improve what you do. Working together towards shared goals is a sure-fire way to improve the relationship between Marketing and Sales, spotlighting your joint objectives and the role each team plays in achieving them.


Want to find out more?

If you want to read more about how marketing automation can help align Marketing and Sales – as well as Compliance – teams, you can download a copy of our free whitepaper, The benefits of automated workflow systems.  It’s free, and you can get a copy here.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.

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