As an Inbound Marketing agency, we have the privilege of seeing first-hand how powerful it is to align sales and marketing.
Once you understand the power of collaboration that comes from aligning sales and marketing, the next step is creating alignment between the activities of these teams. The founders of HubSpot, a marketing automation company, like to talk about their formula for success in mathematical terms -- "1+1=3". Let's take a closer look at the steps to achieving these math-defying results.
Traditional Sales & Marketing
In small-to-medium businesses, sales and marketing often get rolled into a single department. The reality is that these two components of a company are focused on very different objectives. Marketing matches the company's products with your customers' needs. The goal of sales is to bring in revenue. Marketing initiates the conversation, engages with the marketplace and keeps in touch with existing clients. Sales is focused on closing opportunities and retaining customers.
Inbound Sales & Marketing
The Internet has made the sales & marketing process faster, easier, and cheaper by creating opportunities to engage with prospects earlier in the buying cycle. Traditional marketing departments take a broadcast approach using techniques such as direct mail, trade shows and advertising. Product and service information is cast into the market with limited knowledge of the recipient. On the other hand, Inbound Marketing is designed to meet the buyer where they are in their process. Using targeted content and Internet marketing tactics such as SEO and social media, Inbound Marketing makes your company easy to find and draws prospects to your website by producing marketing that people value.
With Inbound Marketing, the marketing team has the information available to be more effective at finding prospects and targeting content towards each stage of the sales pipeline. The sales team gets more than a name on a lead sheet; they now have a more complete picture of the prospect including her needs, interests and behavior. The conversation with the prospect that started online can now be more personalized and productive as she has already learned about your company's products or services and self-selected into your sales funnel.
Aligning Sales and Marketing
During college, I worked with a building contractor who coined a term he called "The Contractor's Law." It says that two people working together can do more than two working individually. Said another way, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Here's the 3 essential steps that we have found necessary to achieve the maximum performance from an Inbound Marketing program:
- Identify the qualities of good sales leads
- Create marketing that people love – marketing that generates demand; sales can inform the marketing process by sharing the challenges and questions their prospects are asking in the field
- Create a feedback loop – what leads were closed? How much and how long? What leads didn't and why?
In the coming weeks, I'll look further at these three steps. When sales & marketing become a harmonious team, the impact to a company is greater than the sum of its parts. It's how 1+1=3.
William McKee is a founding partner of Knowmad. As a Web architect & Internet business consultant, he is passionate about applying business knowledge & technical expertise to deliver solutions that advance business online. With over 15 years of Web experience, his current work involves designing strategies and creating processes to help business attract, engage and convert website visitors into customers.