You probably know most of the reasons that it makes sense to take the time and trouble to align your marketing department with your sales department, but let’s take a look at some recent research.
John Neeson, cofounder and managing director of SiriusDecisions, cited convincing data from one of the firm’s 2015 research studies:
- Cross-functional alignment* (which, unlike other growth factors such as market conditions, is wholly within the control of the organization), is responsible for between 5 percent and 36 percent of B2B growth.
- Organizations that maintain a focus on alignment achieve up to 19 percent faster revenue growth – and 15 percent higher profitability – than other companies.
And in one of Act-On’s own surveys:
- Misaligned firms were more than twice as likely to report sales and/or marketing budget cuts. Conversely, aligned organizations were 50% more likely to say they expect their budgets to increase. (Act-On Sales & Marketing Alignment Survey, 2015)
The SiriusDecisions study noted six factors necessary for improving alignment; shared…
- go-to-market approach;
- success measures;
- organizational alignment;
- common, integrated processes; and
The last four measures count on technology to one degree or another. If alignment is your goal, and you’re a Microsoft Dynamics user, consider adding a marketing automation system (yes, I’d suggest Act-On) to bolster alignment. As Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing said:
In a nutshell, the only thing CRM systems do is organize your information. They don’t actually do anything. They keep track of your sales, but they don’t engage your prospects. That’s still up to you. They capture your sales process, but they don’t execute it. A good marketing automation system, on the other hand, proactively helps you. If set up and managed well, you can sit back and do nothing and the system will drop interested prospects in your lap … I don’t actually recommend someone choose one or the other. World-class sales and marketing organizations need both to succeed and scale.
Your Dynamics CRM helps you build strong relationships with your customers. Integrate it with Act-On, and you can transform every touch point pre-sale and post-sale – from the first flicker of interest to the closing of the customer lifecycle – into a marketing opportunity.
Your Act-On account works seamlessly with your Microsoft Dynamics CRM account to provide a complete closed-loop system for multi-channel lead generation, management, and revenue contribution.
A database tactic for aligning Dynamics CRM and Act-On
Here’s a simple tactic various of our customers use:
If your marketing and sales teams have defined and agreed on scoring factors and values, then you’re probably agreed on what a qualified lead looks like. Keep your leads and prospects in the Act-On database, nurturing them and scoring as they engage with your content, your email, or your website. Once they hit the scoring threshold, they automatically get added to your Microsoft Dynamics database (which remains your database of record).
You can also arrange for the Act-On platform to send the sales rep an alert or send the lead an email. For the highest-scoring leads on any given day, in either data base, Act-On can compile a short Hot Prospects list that shows up in the rep’s Dynamics dashboard. This helps the rep prioritize the leads that are demonstrating the most interest.
Again, this is an example of aligned systems executing on aligned strategy. The strategy has to come first, but then you can set the systems to share information with each other in ways that help both marketing and sales know what’s going on, and how efforts are doing.
Not to mention:
- The Act-On/Microsoft Dynamics integration is native, so it’s more robust. It uses every bit of functionality that Dynamics exposes. This means you can better automate what happens in Dynamics as a result of marketing activities and contact behaviors
- Act-On displays inside the Dynamics dashboard, so the sales rep doesn’t have to leave the system of choice
- Act-On Anywhere is a Chrome browser-based app that lets a rep (or a marketing person) work right in LinkedIn or WordPress or other apps, while having access to images and other assets in the Act-On media library
- Sales reps can send a marketing-built email from inside Dynamics. Through behavioral and attribute profiling, marketing can create segments that have meaning for sales messaging. Email templates crafted to match the messaging to the prospect’s pain make it easy for the sales team to reach out quickly and accurately
Give sales inside info
Act-On collects an activity history for every prospect (knowns and unknown) and customer. With Hot Prospects indicating who should be most ready for a call, the activity history answer the question: what should I talk to them about?
For each prospect, your sales team will know
- Which eBooks, infographics, podcasts, videos did they spend time with?
- Which emails did they click on?
- Which webinar did they attend? For how long?
- Are they showing deep interest in a particular product? In your company? Are they looking long and hard at your pricing page?
Salespeople can connect the dots of a prospect’s engagement journey, to better understand what they’re interested in. This helps the rep avoid the deadly error of missing the obvious topics of interest, and brings the rep that much closer to understanding the buyer’s pain – and making a relevant connection.
Got Dynamics? Got questions? Get a customized demo today!
*(Note that SiriusDecisions defines “alignment” as sales + marketing + product.)
CRM systems transform sales through organization; marketing automation completes the picture by generating leads and managing lead engagement. Learn how the systems complement each other, and why you need both by downloading – Got CRM? Why You Need Marketing Automation, Too.