Aligning marketing, sales and customer service: basic fallacies

Julia Karnaukh's picture
Marketing and Sales Alignment

Recent studies demonstrate that aligned organizations achieve an average of 32% annual revenue growth while less aligned companies report an average of 7% decline in revenue. Savvy businesses, in response to the changing model of customer behavior, are eliminating the boundaries between customer facing departments for a smooth customer experience. However, in some cases an intersection of marketing, sales, and service units faces a number of barriers that have to be considered when going through the alignment process.

Dropping the leads instead of nurturing

The close connection between marketing and sales is evident. However, not many organizations are taking full advantage of the alignment. For example, marketing departments are not always given a chance to nurture the leads that salespeople initially disqualify. In fact, based on benchmark research from SiriusDecisions, 80% of the prospects labeled as “bad leads” by sales teams actually make purchases within 24 months! Further nurturing by marketing turns these disqualified leads back to the sales team when they become sales-ready.

According to a report from Forrester Research, companies that strategically invest into lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost per acquisition. For best results, a number of special processes should be identified to leverage the interest of prospective leads.

It is also advisable to ensure that marketing and sales have a unified definition of what a qualified lead is and a clear understanding of which leads should be handled by each department.

Lack of cross-functional processes to unite different departments

Defining unified processes for each point of contact with customers, as well as processes that guide customers throughout their journey, is an essential aspect of delivering a smooth customer experience and achieving increased loyalty.

However, not many companies set up joint processes for different units and departments, even if those processes contact the same customer at different stages of interaction. The failure to connect the dots between key business processes leaves gaps in the ability to effectively serve customers and makes the experience disjointed by forcing customers to repeatedly provide the same information. Eliminating these redundancies helps customers to gain a feeling of trust with a company because the joint processes demonstrate respect for the customers’ needs and preferred channels of communication. It saves the customers’ time and increases their level of satisfaction.

Data isolation and complicated information exchange between business units

Marketing, sales, and customer service teams use different tools and platforms to support their day-to-day operations. Early customer history, such as an initial interest or user behavior on a website, is collected by marketing, while sales knows more about products and proposals. Why not share this information with the service team and ensure that the same questions don’t need to be asked again? Some recent studies also reveal that 70% of executives identify cost savings as a key benefit to connecting departments and data on a single platform!

Providing a 360-degree view of the customer and connecting the dots between all customer-facing units can be easily managed by implementing a CRM technology that offers capabilities to manage interconnected processes. Shared goals and milestones, common metrics and a full communication history available to different departments are just the first steps on the way to being a truly aligned organization.