Technology can’t solve every problem between sales and marketing. But once you get aligned on the principles, sales and marketing software integrations can bring shared processes to life much easier.
Integrating your CRM and MAP
Sales teams live and die by their CRM. And marketing teams depend on a solid marketing automation platform (MAP) to deliver personalized content at scale. When the two platforms work together, magic happens. (And by magic, we mean smooth handoffs.)
A solid CRM – MAP integration requires two-way communication. You need a bidirectional integration to support full visibility into how a prospect interacts with marketing content and sales team members throughout their journey. Data has to pass in both directions, with no manual labor or spreadsheet uploads required.
The sales team should be able to see how a potential customer has engaged with content in the past. Knowing what case studies they’ve read, which webinars they’ve attended, and what emails they tend to open will give them valuable insight into what matters most to this particular lead. They can structure their conversations and follow-up based on this intel. And real-time alerts keep salespeople informed of how their leads are engaging with the website, emails, and content as their conversations progress.
Similarly, the marketing team should be able to see common CRM data like company size and deal status—because leads don’t stop engaging with marketing content once a sales conversation happens. Visibility into CRM data will help marketers segment and personalize content, such as delivering emails from their assigned sales rep.
Some teams believe an all-in-one, mega-platform that provides both marketing automation and CRM capabilities is the easiest way to achieve this kind of visibility. But most sales and marketing experts agree that usually leads to one team compromising on what they need. That only increases tension, not alignment.
Instead, marketing teams should find a MAP they love and sales teams should find the CRM that best meets their needs—including a robust, two-way integration.
Sales and Marketing Alignment in Action: Tech Integration
At manufacturing brand BinMaster, marketers use a native integration between their MAP and their Dynamics CRM to orchestrate automated email campaigns for new prospects—complete with dynamic insertion of the relevant salesperson’s photo, name, and contact info.
Define “handback” processes and develop workflows
Defining MQLs, SALs, and SQLs, and implementing lead scoring, helps teams know when to hand off qualified leads from marketing to sales. But given the complexity of modern buying journeys, you also need to be prepared for leads to be “rejected” by sales and come back to marketing.
Maybe a lead was given a setback by their buying committee, or simply wants to do more research on their own before talking with sales. Those leads shouldn’t be cast aside, but returned to marketing for ongoing engagement. When their circumstances change, they can find their way back through the funnel and, hopefully, reconnect with sales at the right time.
Make sure the right fields are available in your CRM to capture information from sales when this happens, and that the right workflows are set up in your MAP to re-engage those returned leads. Include a path for sharing feedback from sales to marketing, and a way for marketing to collect and analyze that feedback—hopefully improving the qualification and handoff process over time.
Build relationships—and empathy
Finally, marketing and sales teams need to spend some good old-fashioned time together and build some empathy. It’s good for the business, and it will make both teams better at their jobs.
Ideally, this starts at the top. When Udi Ledergor was CMO at Gong, he had a memorable take on how to predict his peers’ likelihood of success: whether or not they knew how their CRO took their coffee. His thesis was that sales and marketing leaders who spent time together and knew each other outside of executive meetings would build the rapport and trust needed to function as teammates, not adversaries.
And even if weekly coffee dates within the C-suite aren’t a possibility, team members at every level of the organization can make an effort to build relationships across the sales and marketing divide.
There is so much that each team can learn from one another. The sales team has daily conversations with would-be customers, and keeps their finger on the pulse of what messaging is resonating and what’s missing. The marketing team has a bigger-picture perspective on the industry as a whole, and keeps up with the latest research and trends that can help sales frame their conversations in a richer context.
But we get it—making friends can be awkward. So here are a few questions we’ve found can spark great conversations:
- What slide in your presentation deck gives the buyer their “lightbulb moment”?
- Which ones do you skip over, because they never seem to resonate?
- What statistic always seems to catch your prospect’s attention?
- What case study is your favorite to share? Why?
- Which roles do you love to talk to most? Why?
- What factor really seals the deal for prospects?
- If you could wave a magic wand and have your leads understand one thing about our product, what would it be?
Get lunch (in-person or virtual). Listen in on calls. Ask for feedback after new products or features go to market. Work with leadership to create formal opportunities to collaborate, such as annual or quarterly kickoffs (remote, hybrid, or otherwise).
You’ll get inspired, and your sales team will have a better understanding of how marketing is working their butts off to support them.
Sales and marketing software alignment is worth the effort
Bottom line: Marketing and sales aren’t oil and water. They’re peanut butter and chocolate—both great on their own, but pure magic when they come together. Reaching alignment isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely worth it.