If your product messaging and value proposition are presented differently by your marketing and sales teams, it will create a confusing experience for your buyer. If your messaging is inconsistent, you risk alienating your contacts by losing their trust. To them, it might sound like someone is lying or that your team does not fully understand your offering. The likelihood of them closing as a customer will probably decrease as a result.
If you consider the sales process as a whole, your marketing and sales teams need to be connected. They need to communicate the same story to prospects to maintain consistency and trust.
Overall, your marketing team primarily lives on your marketing automation platform, producing and promoting content. Meanwhile, your sales team lives on your CRM, managing outreach to contacts. Since you want to align the messaging that both teams send to your audience, you should integrate the two types of software.
To illustrate, consider how a marketer attracts and converts visitors. An individual might find your site through a blog, click a CTA on that post, go to a landing page, fill out a form and download a gated content offer. Eventually, when that contact is qualified, marketing can pass them onto sales where a rep can guide them through the sales process.
Here at New Breed, we use both the HubSpot Marketing Hub (HubSpot’s marketing automation tool) and CRM. If a prospect were to go through the conversion journey described above, all of the information they entered on the landing page form would be transferred into a contact record in the CRM. If we looked at that contact record, we could see that the prospect downloaded our offer after viewing the blog. Once sales received the contact, a rep could view the same information, and it would inform how they perform outreach.
In this way, the purpose of connecting the platforms is to track each contact. You want to know what they’ve done, see what they’re doing and guide them where you want them to go. Without using those tools, you can’t really do that.
By connecting the platforms, you’ll enable your sales team to continue what marketing started. Sales will be able to see what content prospects have interacted with. This added context will allow them to start better, more relevant conversations. Most importantly, they’ll deliver a consistent story.
There isn’t a great alternative to integration. You can try to manually enter information in spreadsheets to facilitate communication between the teams, but that’s extremely difficult. Such a system is almost impossible to scale, and it doesn’t allow you to effectively record interactions.
If these systems are disconnected in your organization, then the message you deliver will be divided. You might say the wrong thing at the wrong time and deter potential customers. By connecting the software, you can at least lay the groundwork for linking your teams.
Connecting Your Teams
In the integration process, you should map out who your contacts are, what they do, where they came from, what they looked at and what they downloaded between the platforms. While it won’t necessarily be a part of the process, you should also ensure that your sales team understands your buyer personas.
This will help them comprehend what challenges and pain points each individual is trying to solve. From there, they can position your company as the solution to prospects’ problems.
Software integration is not a replacement for the integration between your teams. If you have very siloed marketing and sales teams set up now, connecting your marketing automation and CRM tools will not resolve that.
The integration will put you in a better position to connect, but it needs to go further. Your teams need to share information. They need to help each other understand what to look at and what to care about. Marketing can recommend how sales follows up with prospects based on previous interactions. Sales can help marketing determine what content contacts want and what reps need to advance conversations.
Overall, to truly be connected, your teams need to work towards the same thing and pursue common goals. Once the teams are working together, the integration can strengthen those connections.
For example, in a marketing automation tool when a certain action occurs, the marketing team can trigger the program to contact sales. If a prospect downloads an offer, marketing might automate the platform to send a message with three pieces of content that a rep could use to follow up.
That really should be the purpose of marketing — to put your sales reps in the best position possible to do their job effectively. Without tools like this, that process becomes more difficult. Instead of the program automatically triggering an action, a marketer would have to realize a download occurred and send an email themselves or talk to a rep in person. While that isn’t necessarily difficult, it’s impossible to scale.
If you’re thinking about the customer experience as a whole, having these systems connected can help you recognize where there are gaps, drop-offs and friction points in your sales process. You might wonder why contacts aren’t moving from the MQL to SQL stage or why someone isn’t moving from opportunity to closed-won. Without linking these programs, you might not be able to identify where this is happening. Worse yet, you might not even notice there is a problem at all.
Without these tools, a lot of attempts at problem-solving become hypothetical. You might say, “If we do this, we think it’ll help,” but you’re not going to have any data to back it up. By optimizing the integrations between the platforms and your teams, you can find the concrete data you need to make effective decisions.
More often than not, if there’s friction between marketing and sales, sales doesn’t think that marketing is sending them good leads. Conversely, marketing assumes sales isn’t following up with the leads they’re sending over.
One thing that Patrick Biddiscombe, our CEO at New Breed, always says is that without data it’s just an opinion. Using and integrating your marketing automation software and CRM can help your sales and marketing teams become more transparent and data-driven.
The sales team can say, “This was a bad lead, and this is why it was a bad lead.” Then, the marketing team can go and actually look at the data, determining why it was bad and shifting their strategy accordingly.
At the same time, the marketing team can clearly see who sales is reaching out to, why they’re reaching out to them and how that outreach occurs. Once they have this information, they can improve the sales process by offering insight and reducing friction.
Ultimately, tying the platforms together can help strengthen lines of communication between your teams. Such integrations are not replacements for effective communication, however.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.