How Better Aligned Teams Win More Deals
Marketing, Sales and Service are all part of the
Align them well, and new leads – and deals – will follow.
by Michael Rooney, SVP and General Manager at
Nowadays customers expect a seamless experience from the vendors at any
point of interactions. For companies, that means they should eliminate rigid
boundaries between marketing, sales, and service units, and
align the underlying processes that unite the functions.
Following those guidelines always pays off in the future. A recent Aberdeen
Group study reported that highly aligned organizations achieved an average of
32% annual revenue growth while less well-aligned companies reported an average
of 7% decline in revenue (1).
However, achieving such alignment is harder than one might think, given
the inherent barriers presented with integrating what are often disparate
software systems and interconnecting departments and business processes. A
closer look at successful CRM deployments demonstrates three ways in which better
aligned teams gain an important edge.
nurture leads that others drop.
Marketing and sales go hand in glove, yet a surprising number of teams
operate independently. However, those that do align with each other often find
hidden opportunities that lead to more revenue. For example, a Sirius Decisions
analysis showed that 80% of prospects labeled as “bad leads” by sales teams,
actually made purchases within 24 months. Further nurturing by marketing can
turn these disqualified leads back to the sales team where they become
sales-ready. Establishing a unified definition (SLA) of what a qualified lead
is and a clear understanding of which leads should be handled by each
department is the first step.
2) They enable
cross-functional interchanges to unite departments.
If customers provide feedback to a service contact, they don’t want to
have to repeat themselves the next time someone else calls. If marketing,
sales, and customer service teams use different tools and platforms to support
their day-to-day operations, information gathered from one program fails to be
shared with the others.
Successful CRM deployment begins with the refinement of the optimal
sales process. Then, use the CRM system to make sure that the entire team is on
the same page. For example, companies that set up joint processes for different
units and departments report significantly increased business metrics than those
that don’t align. Establishing shared goals and milestones, common reporting
and allowing the availability of a full communication history to different
departments is also important in order to keep everyone on the same page, or
letting them work independently if needed.
Using CRM packages based on one platform across marketing, sales and
service makes it easy to connect the dots between all customer-facing
activities. With them, companies can capture early customer history, such as an
initial interest or user behavior on a website that is collected by marketing,
and make sure sales has access to this information when it begins discussing
products and providing proposals. Eliminating these redundancies demonstrates a
company’s respect for the customers’ needs and preferred channels of
communication. It saves the customers’ time and increases their level of
3) They build
social channels into every customer-facing function, not just marketing.
We frequently see companies using social capabilities only in marketing,
when in fact, customer service is where important feedback is addressed, often
via Twitter and Facebook. Social platform usage is so pervasive that any CRM
system without comprehensive social support is essentially flawed.
Companies that put social capabilities into action, for example by
allowing social contact profiles to be automatically populated, shared between
the teams, and used in ongoing dialogues as the customer prefers, make sure
that they honor the customers’ wishes assuring customer satisfaction.
Selling is an interconnected process, and every team member plays a large
part. Companies that use CRM technology to align sales, marketing and service
can obtain a 360-degree view of the customer, which reveals opportunities and
empowers everyone to achieve heightened revenue.
Author’s Bio: Michael Rooney is SVP and General Manager at bpm’online – a premium vendor of
CRM software for marketing, sales and service automation.