John Staples wrote a great article in the Sales Benchmark Index Blog today called CMO: You’re Killing the Sales Team’s Selling Time! and makes a very valid point that the Marketing department needs to think about Sales team as internal buyers for its technologies and processes. Marketing Automation solutions and other systems Marketing is implementing that are designed to drive more leads for the Sales team and help with demand generation need to be aligned with what Sales is doing. It is critical for Marketing and Sales to be on the same page and two of the best ways to do that are by having a process that is aligned across the entire demand generation cycle and have the right tools in place to optimize this process.
Marketing and Sales teams that work together to map out a complete response lifecycle and discuss things like SLAs, lead scoring, when to send response back into Nurture/Marketing, etc. will be more efficient then Marketing and Sales teams that operate more independently of each other. Taking this one step further the entire process should be organic and to maximize efficiency both departments should periodically revisit the structure that is in place to make sure it is working effectively. A great way to track this is by measuring your demand generation funnels across Sales and Marketing to understand metrics like volume, conversion rates, and velocity. Funnel analysis like this can help uncover bottlenecks in the Marketing-Sales hand-off or anywhere else along the cycle.
The second piece of making sure Marketing and Sales are aligned and Sales’ time is not being wasted is to use the right technology. I have found that the best place to align Sales and Marketing data is in a CRM system (like salesforce.com). CRM systems are the source of all Sales and Marketing responses, can provide more visibility into the complete demand generation funnel, and it is much more likely that the Sales team will trust numbers coming from the place they work out of. Plus it is often easier to take a deeper dive into campaign performance across Sales and Marketing in a CRM system.
The bottom line is this: for any company to be truly successful and maximize revenue generation Marketing and Sales need to be in complete alignment across the entire demand generation process and trust the technology and the metrics being used to measure performance.