Sales and marketing departments often share a rather rocky relationship. Much like a divorcedMarketing automation software, like HubSpot, is part of the solution. couple that is forced to mingle due to kids and a shared network of friends, sales and marketing can be seemingly aloof while closely monitoring each other’s activities. They realize they share a close and ongoing connection, but really don’t want to have anything to do with each other. With the growing trend of marketing automation, this approach of tolerating one another while focusing on their own agenda is going to be even costlier to organizations.

Marketing automation, software that is designed to help attract qualified prospects online and nurture those leads (shout-out to HubSpot), is rapidly becoming a primary marketing strategy by companies of all sizes. With the majority of purchases being researched or somehow facilitated online, turning to effective online tools to engage prospects makes perfect sense.

Most inbound marketing software will mesh with CRM software; for example HubSpot plugs in seamlessly with Salesforce, Nimble and other CRM solutions. This is a crucial pairing, but just as our divorced couple may communicate effectively through a lawyer, simply sharing information isn’t enough. That’s because software doesn’t sell, people do. Assuming that the marketing automation process has been set up strategically — with enticing call-to-actions, well-worded nurturing emails, insightful and helpful downloads, and relevant offers — marketing automation software can attract a large number leads. But that is essentially where the designed function ends. At this point the lead needs to be relayed to the sales department (and CRM alone won’t make the sale). A lead can be nurtured evermore without making the transition to becoming a customer. The sales process calls on another skill set required to seal the deal.

Even with well-chosen software that is properly synced together, the wizards behind the curtain need to be in sync to gain strong results. Small companies are no different than large organizations; in-house teams, contracted services, consultants, full-time or part-time staff… regardless of how your marketing and sales efforts are structured, they will only achieve their potential if they are working harmoniously together.

Marketing automation software is a great tool to help grow your company and leverage your online presence. But understand that it is not a stand-alone, self-actualizing solution. There needs to be an alignment between sales and marketing goals and expectations, and a shared plan to realize them. Because there is ultimately a hand-off of each lead from marketing to sales, working together will bring much greater results.