Sales and marketing: the importance of integration in B2B

I’ve often noticed the diverging opinions and objectives between marketing and sales. The contestant from the right-hand corner, the marketing department, is looking to work more on its brand image while the contestant in the left-hand corner, the sales department, is mostly looking to maintain their client accounts and increase sales.

My marketing experience

As a member of the marketing team, I’ve often seen long lists of potential clients rejected with a wave of the hand by the sales team because they supposedly weren’t worth the effort. More often than not, there was very little follow-up, as if the fruits of my efforts were a waste of time, and this, despite my goodwill and the sometimes urgent need for the company to look for new clients.

The same goes for inbound leads: 70 % of leads generated by inbound marketing do not receive follow-up from sales.1 Does this mean that even potential clients served on a silver platter are not attractive enough for some sales teams?

In addition, I noticed that sales tools (for example, product spec sheets developed by the marketing department) weren’t used (or only seldom!) in the sales process, despite the fact that they were developed upon request from, and with the help of, the sales department.

The importance of integrating these two departments is quite obvious. Not doing so could be very costly. Moreover, this was the subject of a presentation made by Lynda St-Arneault, President of Exo, on October 26, 2012, at one of the conferences  held by the APCM. (If you missed it, don’t worry! Her presentation will be given again on November 16thas part of an event organized by Rencontres Linked Québec. Please note that the conference will be held in French only.)

From cooperation to integration

Integration of sales and marketing depends on consistent interaction between both departments; marketing should contribute to the development of sales and vice versa.

This should all be driven by client information. An efficient way to do so is to develop a CRM (customer relationship management tool) or an SCRM (a CRM that incorporates social media).

Advantages for your company:

  • Increase in sales (of up to 300 %)
  • Optimal budget
  • Accurate measure (finally possible) of ROI marketing
  • Continual improvement of sales and marketing activities
  • Precise micro-segmentation and targeting
  • Clear competitive advantage

Advantages for clients or prospects:

  • Increased ease of interaction
  • Autonomy in the sales process due to easy access to diverse informative content

Factors of success:

  • The team:
    • Cooperation
    • Accountability
  • The processes:
    • Knowledge of clients’ buying cycle
    • Definition of needs of sales and marketing
    • Elaboration of the sales process
    • Determination of metrics
    • Continual improvement
  • The tools:
    • Integrating the right technological tools, like CRMs and SCRMs

In sum, the integration of sales and marketing will be a long-term effort, but at the end of the day, it will ensure the longevity of your company as well as a harmonious arrangement between both departments. By helping your company avoid getting KO’d, you, your employees and your clients will all be winners!

1Selon DemandCon – conférence vouée à la demande – octobre 2012
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