Sales and marketing, marketing and sales.
It’s a relationship that is sometimes rocky. But when sales and marketing teams are properly aligned, the road to success is smoother and faster. According to a LinkedIn study, 85% of professionals working in sales and marketing say that collaboration is critical for business growth. When sales and marketing teams work together, they are more likely to exceed their revenue goals.
This is why it is so important to create a seamless funnel workflow, from MQL to SQL to customer. Welcome to “smarketing.”
The Customer Journey, from Marketing to Sales
For today’s consumers, the journey from awareness to purchase is multi-faceted, comprising a wide range of online and offline channels, and numerous potential touchpoints. The more touchpoints the customer has with a brand, the more complex and convoluted the funnel can become.
What’s more, the funnel is not managed by just one team. Marketing is responsible for scouting out the market and the competition, understanding the pain points of potential customers, crafting the right messages, exposing the target audience to different content and campaigns, and filling up the pipeline with leads. Then the sales team takes over, warming up those leads even more and hopefully pushing them down the funnel to become paying customers.
In many organizations, the sales and marketing teams are ensconced in their own silos, out of touch with what the other team is doing. When it comes time for marketing to hand off the leads to sales, the disconnect becomes apparent and potential customers fall through the cracks. What’s needed is more alignment between sales and marketing – smarketing – and the way to achieve it is with automation.
Automation: Creating a Smarter Funnel
Yes, marketing and sales are separate entities. But potential customers engaging with a business don’t see that, and frankly, they don’t care. What a business needs is maximum alignment between marketing and sales, so the funnel journey feels natural and seamless for the customer.
Automation is the key to achieving it. Why? Because automation ties together all the different processes of the customer journey. It provides the marketing team and sales team with visibility of each other’s activities, and the capability to align them.
For example, say the marketing team launched a really successful campaign, and sales is now bombarded with leads demanding attention. Is the sales team prepared? Do they have the bandwidth to cope? Are they aware of the marketing message that was so persuasive to these leads, and are they equipped with the knowledge to follow up in an appropriate way?
With automation technology, organizations can make sure that the answer to all these questions is “yes”: sales is on board with what marketing is doing, and vice versa.
Case in Point: Automated Gifting Campaigns
B2B gifting is a powerful way to engage potential customers. With automation, the marketing to sales workflow can be planned and optimized in advance.
The gifting funnel can begin with a physical or digital touchpoint, such as a landing page to register for a face-to-face meeting in which the customer receives the gift, or signing up to receive a digital gift. From there, an automated email nurturing flow or multiple gifting workflow can be taken over and managed by the sales team, such as a gift thanking leads for taking the sales call, follow-up gifts, or onboarding gifts. While the marketing team uses gifting to generate leads, the sales team can continue the gifting flow to bring a personal touch to the bottom funnel journey. Without automation, a sophisticated, coherent, and engaging gifting workflow that covers the entire journey from marketing to sales would simply be impossible.
Sales and Marketing: Get In Sync!
Despite advances in customer relationship management technology and tools, in many organizations today, the sales and marketing teams don’t really know what the other is doing. Or they know, but their processes are not in sync. Those days are over. With automation tools, such as automated business gifting campaigns, marketing and sales can smooth the cracks in the pipeline and maximize alignment, providing an engaging, memorable funnel journey that turns leads into customers.