- Cobras and mongooses
- Cats and dogs
- Lions and hyenas
What did you come up with? Clearly, all are natural born enemies, and all are opposed to each other in their native ecosystems. When the members of any pair are in each other’s vicinity, that proximity often leads to explosive results.
For many in the business world, the most natural pair to put next on this list would be “sales and marketing.” The causes of this great divide are endemic and the results are extremely problematic – especially in the wild kingdom that makes up today’s business world.
At the core of the divide is a lack of trust and a feeling of disconnect – on both sides – to a larger common purpose. This has a very real impact on any organization where sales and marketing are in opposition to each other.
As Stephen M.R. Covey puts it in his bestselling book, The Speed of Trust:
“Trust always affects two outcomes – speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed will also go down and costs will go up. When trust goes up, speed will also go up and costs will go down. It’s that simple, that real, that predictable.”
Many studies have confirmed this theory. Covey points out that high-trust organizations earn over four times the returns of the broad market. Trust is the cornerstone of sales and marketing alignment, and probably the key contributor to alignment’s benefits: SiriusDecisions has demonstrated how highly aligned sales and marketing organizations achieved a 24% faster revenue growth than their counterparts over three years. In a similar study, Aberdeen Group showed that highly aligned sales and marketing organizations achieve 32% higher annual revenue growth than others. There are numerous other examples, all with the data to prove it.
So how do the highly aligned organizations achieve this kind of growth? They get back to the fundamentals and focus on four key elements of organizational trust. Each team makes a commitment to the other:
- Accountability: We will do what we say we’re going to do.
- Transparency: You have visibility into our motives, goals, and processes.
- Credibility: You believe we can execute based on our history and performance.
- Competence: We bring results. If not, we don’t make excuses, we come up with solutions.
In all you do as marketing and sales organizations, focus on these elements and you will notice improvements. Key questions on the marketing side of the equation can include:
- Can we track accountability? Are we as marketing teams delivering on-time and as-intended campaigns and content pieces?
- Are we transparent? Do we publish a marketing calendar? Do we give insight into where our ideas came from? Does sales know how our leads are gathered?
- Do we have a history of execution that we can point to? If not, are we building one?
- Do we bring positive results? Can we point to the drives of positive results?
- If our results are below target, do we look to review our internal systems, processes, content, and more first, rather than engaging in a blame game?
Systems, meetings, and all our intramural communications should work to foster accountability and transparency, and highlight credibility and competence.
Marketing automation systems, in partnership with a good CRM, have a unique role in this equation. They’re quickly becoming the hub of lead generation and lead qualification activities, and as such they provide a common, shared view of key activities to sales and marketing.
When used in certain ways, these systems can foster key elements of trust between the teams. These include:
- Tracking content campaigns from start to finish, so both sales and marketing can see content and results in one system.
- Providing transparency by showing histories of results and actions of both sales and marketing, in one place.
- Bringing successful execution to light by having the contents of a campaign and prospect interaction with it shown on one simple screen.
- Highlighting the factors of successes. It’s very empowering for both sales and marketing to look at closed opportunities and know exactly where they came from.
In short, marketing automation systems can be leveraged to increase trust between sales and marketing, which in turn drives results for your organization. It can even turn natural born enemies into successful collaborators.
Get sales and marketing on the same team. Download this toolkit to find out how to evaluate your current sales and marketing processes, establish common metrics, create buyer profiles, and make sure your sales and marketing teams are driving toward the same goals across channels.