The terms inbound sales and inbound marketing often go hand-in-hand. But anyonewho has worked in a company with designated sales and marketing teams knows the two don't always go hand in hand at all. The places where inbound sales and inbound marketing diverge can be a detriment to a company's bottom line if divergences aren't handled or supported effectively.
According to SalesForce, companies lose an average of $1 trillion every year when there's a disconnect between sales and marketing. On the flip side, studies show companies with a fluid relationship and connectivity between the two sides can improve their company's annual growth rates by double-digit figures and increase their chances of closing sales by as much as 67%.
Which of these scenarios would you like to replicate?
Rethink the divergence and reshape a connected whole
Before we start to analyze the places where marketing and sales diverge, let's look at where they converge. Oh, snap!
In the inbound world, that convergence exists just about everywhere. Inbound marketing has been a literal game changer. Modern marketing requires the creation of proliferate content - in such varied formats - that sales teams wind up with incredibly educated qualified leads.
Similarly, while sales might work intimately with a qualified lead, nurturing them further through the funnel, odds are they're doing that via content and landing pages created by marketing. Even a cold-called prospect turned interested will be directed into marketing's territory via content, which places sales in an ever-shifting position.
Sales may feel like marketing (and buyers) have more power
The rise in inbound marketing methodology has taken the top-bottom (sales-buyer) paradigm and inverted it. Now, there's a bottom-top (buyer-sales) model, where buyers may have everything they need to make a purchase (thanks, marketing!), before they've even spoken to a sales person. This can make for a disempowered sales team if you aren't careful, because marketing content is the ultimate cause of this shift.
Solution: Get marketing and sales together more often so they feel like symbiotic parts of a whole, rather than disjointed competitors. Sales teams work in the trenches so to speak, and have a wealth of information about buyers that can more intuitively drive marketing content.
Marketing has many (all) the stats sales needs
If you lack a unified platform, marketing may hold many of the stats or "keys" inbound sales people need to identify the most qualified leads, prioritizing those who are most active in the journey.
Solution: Use a CRM that is designed for both sales and marketing teams. Not only does this ensure marketing has access to important stats about who's downloading what, when - it also means sales people speak the same language, literally, when they connect with informed buyers.
Sales is considered a separate department from marketing
In the old days, marketing brochures, commercials and billboards got prospects into showrooms and brick and mortar stores. The sales team then delivered the same presentation - followed by the same discounts/offers - repeatedly to individuals or groups. It was boring, but who cared? Buyers were mostly the same, right? When it was all over, MQLs and SQLs lined up to learn more or take advantage of the deal.
Modern marketing, however, recognizes that buyers needs and wants may be similar, but how they buy products/services can be very different. Now, detailed buyer personas drive the unique, organic content created by marketing. This informs segmented buyers, and informed buyers want sales professionals who are more like advisors than sales people.
Solution: Re-program sales reps to think of themselves as advisors.