The Right Approach for Sales and Marketing Collaboration

Sales & Marketing AlignmentWe work in an era that is all about breaking down silos and creating transparency. You see it all around you:

  • Some companies are literally breaking down walls to create “open office” layouts that foster collaboration.
  • Many organizations are adopting cloud-computing systems to centralize tools and information across the organization.
  • A few businesses are even attempting a structural move from hierarchy to holocracy – removal of the typical chain of command and creation of self-governing circles of employees. (source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2014/01/03/zappos-gets-rid-of-all-managers/)

While these efforts at collaboration can be valuable for creating cultures of innovation and cooperation, we sometimes haphazardly apply the latest management trends to situations where they simply hinder rather than help. Specifically, I’m talking about customer-facing groups and the tools they use to achieve shared revenue goals.

As business leaders, we want to simplify our processes and keep costs down. That’s why we often choose a single platform for everyone in our Sales & Marketing organization based on where we perceive the most pain. Not enough leads? Let’s get marketing automation software. Not enough sales? Let’s put everyone in a CRM or sales enablement platform. Knee jerk reactions or infatuation with the latest business buzz, can lead us down the wrong platform path.

Before you make any major decisions about your sales & marketing software, examine the roles and needs associated with each.

Roles

In many sales & marketing organizations, you have three general roles: marketers, sales reps, and account reps. Each plays an important part in generating and maintaining revenue for the business. However, the way each role is executed and the priorities of each role are different. Therefore, different technology platforms are needed for each player to do their job:

Needs

Once you look at the specific roles that your team members play in the process of achieving revenue goals, it becomes a little more apparent that the tools they use should serve their role-specific needs.

Some vendors will try to argue that a single solution, typically CRM, can do all of these things for all of your team members in a single platform. To be fair, there are some great solutions that provide features for both marketing automation and customer relationship management in a single platform, but they fail to meet the real needs of sales “hunters” altogether.

Your sales hunters need more than marketing automation and CRM functionality. They are tasked with new customer acquisition and lead generation activities with the goal of turning leads into prospects and then into new customers.

  • Shove your sales hunters into the marketing automation platform, and they will be hunting for and cherry picking whom they want to call – potentially calling leads that aren’t qualified. Time waste!
  • Force your sales hunters into the CRM solution, and they are sorting through lists of existing customers, leads, and other data trying to figure out the right person to call.

The ideal solution is to select a platform like VanillaSoft that is built specifically for sales professionals who are responsible for closing new business. Hunting for new business is difficult, and requires it’s own set of tools for success:

Data and leads from your marketing automation platform can be imported into VanillaSoft, and all of the data your sales hunters collect can be pushed from VanillaSoft to your company’s CRM program so that there is transparency throughout the organization.

In your efforts to be more collaborative, don’t forget to appreciate the differences that each sales and marketing role brings. Ensure each team member has the right tools to successfully achieve their goals. For a free trial of VanillaSoft, visit VanillaSoft.com/products.

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