411196422_343c0965a8_m (1)We talk a lot about concepts like “integrated marketing” and “silo busting” here, but we thought that we would make those concepts a little more real today by talking about how marketing can – and should – communicate effectively with the sales team. Why is this an important topic? Consider this infographic which shows that only 5% of companies surveyed are satisfied with the marketers running their social media campaign. Even more disturbing, consider these findings published in a Columbia Business School presentation in 2012:

91% of senior corporate marketers believe that successful brands use customer data
to drive marketing decisions

Yet, 39% say their own company’s data is collected too infrequently or not real-time enough

And 51% say that a lack of sharing customer data within their own organization
is a barrier to effectively measuring their marketing ROI

65% of marketers said that comparing the effectiveness of marketing across different digital media is “a major challenge” for their business

37% of respondents did not include any mention of financial outcomes when asked to define what “marketing ROI” meant for their own organization

57% are not basing their marketing budgets on any ROI analysis

22% are using brand awareness as their sole measure to evaluate their marketing spend

Let’s pose the question this way. If someone came to you and said, “We’d like you to invest $20,000 in this opportunity, but we’re not going to tell you whether or how much it benefits you,” would you accept that offer? Probably not. However, the above statements demonstrate that many companies do just that with their marketing investments. A key factor in fixing many of these problems is improving the communication between your sales and marketing teams.

How communication between marketing and sales should work

Here are some ways to bridge the gap between your sales and marketing teams. With a small amount of effort, all of these actions are highly achievable.

• The marketing team should communicate to the sales team what the marketing plan is for a given period of time. Whether this occurs monthly, quarterly, or whether the entire year is previewed would depend on how extensive the campaign is.

• The sales team, knowing what is in store on the marketing side of things, should monitor spikes in sales (or lead procurement) and should inform the marketing team when these spikes occur. A correlation between the spike in sales and what is happening with the marketing campaign should be easy to draw at that point.

• Marketing should integrate CRM software or some other means of capturing leads into all recommendations. Sales and marketing personnel should meet regularly on patterns of behavior that appear surrounding different marketing tactics. If it is discovered that extremely expensive marketing efforts are performing at a lower performance than more cost-effective tactics, the company could turn a loss into a profit with a fair amount of ease.

• Marketing should use the sales team as a resource to understand how to optimize messaging. What is the sales force hearing about the competition and about your company’s own products? What are customers asking for in terms of improvements or new features?

• In turn, the sales team should integrate marketing messaging into elevator pitches and presentations to help build brand awareness among prospects and customers.

It is nearly unfathomable that in this era of accountability so many companies are spending marketing dollars without tracking how those dollars are performing. This does not have to be the case in any company. This does not have to be the case in your company. Disaster is preventable. Improved communications between marketing and sales is an important first step.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pshanks/411196422/ via Creative Commons